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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What Do I Write About?

I have, after re-reading some of my past blogs, come to the conclusion that I have either way to much to say or some outside source has taken over and been allowed the ability to write whatever, whenever. I'm opting for the outside source. Those posts that have been unthought out and those that are very random in content that I write. What in the world.....Do you remember...How is it possible....that somehow make it from running amuck in my head to... paper(?) yet I write. So since I have opted for the outside source, of which I am firmly sticking with, I wondered if there was a reason, logical reason, one other than I'm simply going crazy. So to the internet I go! And what did I find, well not much. (figure that one out) What I did discover was that I wanted a source for the uncontrolled writing. What meaning does all the stuff thats out there, the things that no one should really read or know for that matter. Yet out the stuff comes and down the fingers to the page. So once more, I went over the things that I had written in the recent past and found that a majority of it was just crap. Yes I have graduated from stuff to crap! And I really can't remember writing or putting down these words for any particular reason. But in my head and in an attempt to figure out the oustide source, I did a little deeper research, within myself, and what I discovered is this: I love to hear the root of words, how they derived to our English language (actually more American than English) from Greek or Latin. What those simple English words in Greek/Latin means and the unsurmountable meanings of the Greek/Latin root. So I looked up "writing" or "write" and what it derived from and the word script is all that there is, that's it, nothing more nothing less just script. Very disappointing I have to say. But then I found something of a dictionary or what I thought was going to be a dictionary and found that the word script has a different meaning within sentences. The two most common meanings "to put down" or "to journal". At the same site it cross referenced script with scripture (this was not intentional by the way) and, altho I knew this, I found that many of the disciples wrote in some fashion. And yes, I know you know that too! But did you ever think why they did that? I'm mean besides the reality of no phones or internet. Why did these men write to their friends knowing that in the course of transfer they would be discovered by the Romans or Jews as Christians? I believe that in every instance when Paul or Peter start one of their scripts it was to pass encouragement and instruction to those abroad they were doing it as a journal, a putting down of words for their memory. Things were probably happening very fast and without order in Paul and Peter's time, I bet that they had very short memory spans, especially when under distress or anguish. So they write to their friends, encouraging them to stay on course. I don't know why the outside source in my head is putting the crap down that it is. I don't understand the reasoning when I re-read some of the crap that I wrote to come to an understanding of what I was trying to say. I don't remember writing those things most of the time. So why do I allow this outside source to continue to put the crap out there? For me. I ask friends to read this and offer it to friends who I think may benefit from my rambling crap but in truth the things that I write by the forced hand of the outside source is for my journal. The things in my head sound just like those that end up out there. In my head, I have those ramblings of 'what in the world' ' do you remember' and 'when this happened' running literally amuck just like they end up on the paper. So what do I write about....crap, sometimes literally but its all a glimpse for you into my head and journal of those things I don't remember for me.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Prisoner

I have to say I am a very curious person. I want to know whatever I can even if it has no bearing on my life or family's life; I just gotta know. But of all the things that I am curious about I have never been intrigued or curious to know what it looks like inside of a prison. I honestly have no desireto hear or have knowledge about this subject, altho I have heard stories and have been informed by others without asking. So what brings about this conversation in my head, well every day I turn on Good Morning America and without fail every morning there is a story out there about a crime committed, criminal arrested, or the outcome of a trial, generall all dealing with prison in the future, prison forecasted, or prison term realized. I generally don't like watching the news but I do get sucked into the morning news barrage and inevitably receive information about 'prison'. And I have come to notice lately that 'prison' is something that outweighs almost all other news. In some sort of way, prison comes up in the news more than any other subject, to include Iraq and Afganistan. If you don't believe me, make a note for one week from news, even the 30 minutes of evening news, and make a point of how many times the news mentions crimes, criminals and outcomes.


So what does it look like in a prison? I'm sure all of us have some picture, image, description of what it is like in prison so I have no idea why this subject came up except that it was the subject of our pastor's message last Sunday. Funny huh??!!! (Come on you think so too.) The subject in wasn't really about prison but that's what I heard a story about prison and prisoners. The true subject was on Paul and Silas beign sent to Phillipi and the 3 different people who were the founding members of "the church" of believers. But in this message I focused clearly on prison... Acts 16: 23-25 "After they had been severly flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to watch them carefully. Upon recieving such orders, he put them in the inner most cell and fastened their feet in stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them." So this was just to me a story of Paul's trials of being a believer in Jesus and converting those around him to see and understanding the true God. Right? But what I heard on Sunday was different. First, I imagine someone in stocks as they are in the movies, and I'm sure you do too. Standing with hands and head thru a wooden type thingy (for lack of a better description), and pictures abroad don't help in describing 'stocks' or 'shackles' either. Even bible stories show pictures like this one of Paul and Silas sitting beside each other quietly praising God. Well who couldn't praise God in that situation! But that's not my perception anymore. It came to my understanding during this message what the 'stocks' actually were and it brought an image to my mind of the ending of Braveheart. 'Stocks' in Paul's day was a severe stretching of the legs until the hip dislocated and the prisoner was in severe pain and could only cry out in pain..kind of makes that whole stock thingy a lot more descriptive huh? And in the middle of this severe pain, Paul and Silas began praising and singing hymns, in prison, in stocks, in pain.... and in this time, the jailer wasn't listening, but the prisoners were listening.
I wonder and was asked 'what pain am I going thru that the prisoners are watching?' And my answer is not what it should be; my answer should be I am in pain but praising God and I'm not, not really. The writing on this page is my way of releasing frustration in a non-verbal way and put it out there to relate the way I feel to my friends who read it and my husband. Its not my way of singing or praising God, even tho originally thats the way this all started out some 2+yrs ago. But now it is just a venting match, at least in my mind. But I wondered last week, when I was listening to only the story of prison and prisoners, who is watching? I know that for reality I am not in 'prison', I am not in the stocks or shackles, in the physical I am free to walk and go wherever. But in the soul and spirit, mind and heart, I am in the stocks, locked in shackles, and in pain. And those around me, no matter how hard I hide those facts, can usually see right thru me, they are listening without me knowing that they are listening. So what pain am I going thru that the prisoners are watching? The pain of loss of a child, the struggle of believing that there is a pupose, the trusting God, and the constant fight to hide it all. And those around me are watching and listening, I wonder what I am saying? I wonder what I am really saying because just like you, I can't see me the way you do. I wonder if I am saying those things that are bad and focusing on those things or am I in some way telling them something else? I wonder if I could ever be like Paul and Silas, probably not, but I wonder about it. I wonder if somewhere in the mix of all this that I am in, somewhere in the background am I praising God? I wonder if there is something in me deep down that is doing what Paul and Silas were doing aloud and if anyone is listening/watching? I wonder those things, don't you?

Remember

I live in memories sometimes, and I'm sure you do too, and remember things of past. Those memories of growing up in your home town or state where life was totally different that it is now. Some of the things that I miss desperately from my childhood home are the seasons. The definition between spring and summer when the first flowers, usually Johnny Jump-Ups or Crocusus, come up thru the cold snow and fill some of the area with color of purple. And how, after a long Michigan winter with snow all over every-where, these little flowers bring a memory of last summer's days and the promise of new days of summer with beach days and canoeing down the Manistee River and the trip that came every year to the Upper Penninsula - across the Mackinaw Bridge to Paradise (no really that's the name of the town) & the falls. And I can almost, some days here the falls and smell the rich hardwoods and sweet softwoods and pines in the house when summer is right around the corner. I love to remember waking up one morning and seeing just the slightest change of color of the trees around our home and how they start early in September to tell the tale of the coming fall. The crispness of the Poplars changing first in their bright yellows and singing the call of fall to the hardwoods. The sounds of fall as they creep along the hillsides and thru yards, allowing for piling leaves to jump in; and beautiful trips down backroads full of color. And how the trees, just like the flowers in spring, tell all around that winter is coming soon. And I miss, and as hard as it is to believe, I do miss the smell of our gas heater starting up to warm the house and the sound that the first snow makes as it lands heavily on the still colored leaves of fall. The way the sound of the water changes, and as hard as that is to understand, the water of the Great Lakes do make a different sound in winter. I can't explain it nor describe it completely for you except to say that the water, in its own way, sounds like that of a beckoning danger, some-thing harsh, that calls to those who like adventure and danger. And so with each season not so defined in North Carolina, I remember those things that I loved about growing up.

There are more these days that I remember, things that I have forgotten, things said and done that I didn't remember happening in the past 7 months. Things that make me halt and wonder when every memory will be complete and those things will make one full memory as opposed to small glimpses of moments. Those memories that make me stop in the middle of a thought, in the middle of work, in the middle of a sentence, in the middle of life. And how, altho I don't know if there is an answer, how do I get thru these memories and keep them in order, in place, and make a memory of them and am I suppose to? I don't know but I do know that thru all this time and these days and months, I found and relate to those who have lived similar lives. Job cried out to God all the time; the most faithful man of his day was also the most afflicted - Job14:13 "If only you would hide me in the grave and conceal me till your anger has passed! If only you would set me a time and then remember me!" I don't know what how to describe the memories that I have I can't describe or detail what they do to my mental and physical life but I can relate to Job. I can relate to the fact that I wish God would set me aside and stop the pain that I feel and am living in and then, at some time set in the future, He would remember me once this time is past. Job wished and begged God to take him away and let this time pass him by and God allowed it to continue. So I have to wonder sometimes how much in control God is? And I know that is doubt and that some of you reading will call that sin and offer a message of faith. And I know that this is just a passing time, that somewhere in the future I will be over this time of doubt but until then I wish God hide me in a grave, conceal me from this time, and remember me later, much later. I know the ending of Job's story, I know that in the end he lost everything and gained 3 times that of what he lost. I wish I knew the end of this story, the end of this memory and doubt, the end of this loss and heartache, the end of feeling outside of God's love...I wish I knew it now. I wish that I would get an answer from Him, a reason to put these memories in place and make them easier to hold onto and make this time easier. But it will not happen, it is not meant for me to know and I know that but I don't like it and I don't have to like it. What I am having to do, whether I like it or not, it go thru this time. Live thru this time when the memories come and cause pause, when the tears come unexpectedly and cause dismay, and when the doubt comes and causes confusion. I must go thru this time of desiring being hidden and away from the afflictions and pain.

I don't like this, I'm sure you don't like your affliction either. I don't want to live thru this as I'm sure you don't want to live thru yours either. And so here I am, smack dab in the middle of the Michigan winter that I somewhat miss, hearing the water change its tune and beckon danger that I am drawn toward; a winter that this year looks to be longer and harsher then those before, a winter that even if I pack up and move, I still have to go thru...like it or not.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Marshmellows - Yep that's right marshmellows!

I love to eat marshmellows, marshmellow cream, marshmellow filled cookies, you name it with marshmellows and I'll eat it!! And deep deep down you do too, just admit it and move on. And if you really look at the consistency of a marshmellow they are very easy to love to eat. They are full of nothing but sugar, they can be eaten hot or cold, if they get on something they wash out easily, and they come in every shape and size imaginable to man. I can open a bag and eat them right out of it or at night (in any season) start a fire (preferably outside) and roast them to a burnt crisp or toasty brown and eat them right off a stick. Marshmellows by far are the perfect candy.

This week, at church service, I heard yet again a desciption of a person using the word "marshmellow". Randy, our senior pastor, called people who weren't really living like the persecuted Christian, 'Marshmellow Christians'. And, altho I've heard that saying many times before and heard sermons and messages about the persecuted Christian (those living abroad in countries where they still kill those pronouncing to be Christians), this time the description meant something else. I can, now, after sometime of hearing this phrase and comparing it to my candy of choice see how this description 'fits the bill' so to speak. Marshmellows seem or appear to be solid. They are somewhat firm on the outside but not so firm that you can't squish them; and when you do squish them, their soft insides come mushing out. This week, prior to Sunday morning, in my leisure reading (now not so much leisurely) of the Shack, the writer descibes his view of himself as this "stoic, unfeeling faith" - the Marshmellow Christian in a much more real and descriptive manner but the same nonetheless. And I know that Randy's message was about 'doing' and 'being' and realizing that there are those in the world (outside the US) that are truly being persecuted. And I know that my book is relating to a man who lost something very dear to himself and has placed his feelings in a lock box and putting on a facid of 'okayness'. Two totally different situations - or are they.

I heard this description, Marshmellow Christian, differently this week and I think that most people heard it the way it was meant. I heard it as this: "Before, you were happy, life was grand and great, you lived your daily life knowing that everyday was just one more day of moving in the direction you were going; everything in your day was planned, the year was planned before today was over; you had everything right, your relationship with Me, your raising of your children, your love and marriage with your husband, everything was great. Now, without warning or preparation, you have to make a choice between being who I know you are and being who you feel like you should be; and I know that you are worried about what others think and how they look at you; and I know that deep down, locked away, and held for ransom, that you are desiring something more and afraid to take that step; and I know that you are going forward, slow as it may be,you are and you are My Marshmellow Christian." Odd that I heard that when Randy was speaking huh? Odd that I was not hearing of the persecuted, killed, hiding out Christian of the world but this. And after some days of retrospect, avoidance, running, hiding, whatever, I came up with this....Romans 14:1 "Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputible matters." It's amazing how words take a different form, how they take on a personality; a personality that says, "I know you are weak and small in faith, don't worry about those looking at you from the outside". Isn't that what this short verse says? I know it's Paul writing to the Romans, and I know it's more in depth that than but what does it really say? Who is Paul speaking for? I think it's that Marshmellow Christian. I know without doubt that I am 'playing Christian' right now. I know that I am dealing with little to know faith and sometimes I wonder if those around me, who know me and have known me for a while wonder if my faith is gone. And I offer to them this, I am a Marshmellow Christian right now. I am weak in faith and my outer shell, well its not so hard, and if you squish me, my soft insides will mush out and I will not stand on faith if put in that situation today. But I hope, one day, that I will be not so worried about the perception of others and soft in faith, and that I will, eventually, find the Rock to stand on and my faith will be strong once again.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Gardens

I take after my mother in probably all things, but mostly in gardening (not the vegetable type). I love to have flowers, plants, set areas to enhance an outside area (altho right now that has been put seriously on hold), but nonetheless, I love garden areas. And in every area outside, front and back, I have drawn and scaled out a garden area or areas to bring the house finally to fruition of "home". They are literally all over the house these little drawings and while they change a little here and there, they are, at the core, the same, gardens of color. And while they are on hold right now, and every essence of doing anything outside with the yard seems overwhelming and not enjoyable, the drawings wait patiently for me to 'wind up', begin to move, dig, and frame in for the future finishing touch. I think that going to a home that has some sort of gardening around them make the house more like home, and truthfully I have no idea why. The only think I can say is that Thomas Kincade greatly captured the idea of a "homey" in his paintings of cottages with flowering gardens surounding those homes in abundance. The pictures just speak home, comfort, peace, joy, and on and on and on. Dont' you agree? The view of flowers overhanging a picket fence and flowing around a homes edge makes it 'home'. And this is why, I believe, I love gardens, they make a home look like a home from the outside.

While I have this plan to make a garden around my home and fill it with color and the look of joy and comfort, the truth is that would only be a facade right now. While I have moments of joy, brief as they are, I find that more than not the moments of sadness are stronger. I know, without doubt, that I am not alone in this feeling, maybe my reasons are different from yours, its still sadness. And in my failing attempt to find something to read, something to identify me with something out there, I have been reading just about anything, to find someone who knows or can identify with my feelings. So, on a fluke, really a fluke, I picked up something to read that wasn't a guide book and found myself reading "The Shack". I am only half way thru Chapter 4 and without giving anything away, I will tell you that each chapter, named diligently and descriptively, has a quote beneathe the chapter name. So far each quote has given an insight to the writer's mindset and a quick view of the chapter ahead. Last night, beginning Chapter 4, the quote was more than insightful, it was more than descriptive, it described sadness. "Sadness is a wall between two gardens-" Kahlil Gibran. I immediately idenitified with this statement, it gave sadness an identity, a figure that I could pick out of a line up, so to speak, and this, believe it or not, is exactly what sadness is, a wall. Just like these words between the beautiful garden on the left and the desolate garden on the right, that wall looks the same. Its as tho, I am standing on the wall and looking as what was and what I want to be again and where my emotions and heart is a large marjority of the time; a wall between two gardens. I want so desperately to be in the garden on the left but standing on the wall I am pulled between the two easily on a moments change. And in an attempt to find out how God is identifying with my sadness, I am looking, searching, digging to find something in "His Word" that will stand out and speak to me the way this one, half sentence did, and I have found some here and there. Today I searched for my word "garden", knowing or presuming that I would only be led to the info regarding the Garden of Eden, I was surprised to find more than this in Jeremiah. Jer 31:12 "....they will be like a well watered garden, and they will sorrow now more." Do you see the wall? It's the 'and' in this partial verse, the 'and' is the wall between two gardens. "And" a simple, non-jumping, non-descriptive, conjunction just became a noun. The well watered garden on the left is where, sometime I will be and I will sorrow no more without forgetting but now, right now, I am on the 'and', I am on the wall being pulled between two gardens.
I know, without doubt, that this wall, this finally described place that I am at, is not a thin wooden slat wall with a gate, but a long, thick wall of stone and rock. I know that this wall stands to challenge me and my faith, altho until this morning I hadn't realized that challenge it is exactly that, a challenge. So I stand on the wall, finally given a figure, finally the thing given description. The wall between two gardens, the wall between happiness and grief, the wall where I finally know I stand.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Racing

I love horse racing! I can honestly say that its one spot that will get your heart rate up. And I know that the horse is a commodity and that the owners/trainers do whateve necessary, sometimes within and sometimes outside of the rules, to get the horse on the track. I understand that too because its a business and the horse is the business money maker. (So before I offend any animal lovers, if you have an issue with animal use for money, please takeheed that I use this further in my writing.) I came upon the realization that horses, like other livestock, are used in the general world as money makers. No matter which way you look at it they are, for the most part, not pets like I keep mine. And as hard as it was when I first started into horses to realize and accept that, I do know understand the reasoning behind it. Horses in the racing world, and probably every other type of equine money maker event, are drugged, worked, put in shape or out of shape, on the track to run for money. The trainer's job is to do whatever is allowed and necessary to get the horse on the track. Now I know that there are trainers who do not do this and are not in this type of racing business, but the majority of the big runners are treated in this fashion, a product. Do what is needed to be done to get a win....doesn't really sound like I should like horse racing huh??? Well you should know by now that I am not cut from regular cloth. So for the most part a horse is put to the test race after race, training morning after training morning, and day after day for their entire racing career (generally short careers). I use horses because I relate to them directly, I don't know why and I could try to figure it out but it would be a waste of time. How I relate to them in my life is that like a race horse being tested every day and every race, I am tested every day. Tested to see if I can be the person that I am suppose to be, trusting, faithful, and blind; or the person that I am, non-trusting, wanting to see every moment, and full of my own knowledge. Very prideful I'd say; something like a race horse. Most race horses are not very trusting of humans (not a trait born into horses by the way) and if they make it off the track for a second career, it takes years of work to get that trusting relationship in place. I have a trust issue and most of the time I just ignore the trust prospect and move ever forward in the life race I am in. And when I first started realizing, or first heard about the race that I am in, my life looked a lot like a group of horses coming out of a starting gate. Discombobbled, a lot of pushing and bumping, and a beat down struggle to get in first place (where to I have no idea!). A race to some finish, somewhere, for some prize, I just didn't know what prize or if that prize was worth the finish.

About 4 months into my realization of this race, I had a revelation. The race was just like my horse racing sport. It wasn't a prepared race, where I trained and built myself up to the race, it was a race that I was put in no matter what. Whether I was injured or not, drugged or not, in shape or not, the race was before me every moment and I had to run it. I don't know if training is an initial part of this confusing race or not? I don't even know if you can train for this race, but I don't believe you can. And how you do in the race isn't as important as how you come out in the end.

After a while of figuring out the training on the race, I started to see and understand that the race I was running was to get closer to an unknown end that was miles ahead of me and kept moving no matter how fast I ran. The race became of endurance and perserverance and I started to understand the race, started to not care how far ahead another was in front of me and to take the bumbs and pushes more in stride. I was starting to see the race in a different view, not of 'get in front and win' but 'stay on course and the home stretch will get to me in the end'. And the race became a joy and love and strength. Then out of nowhere, just when I thought I was figuring this stuff out, and becoming a runner, with the ability to race every day, someone cut me off. (Funny how I see the cutter offer as a horses butt huh??!) But that's exactly what happened, I was cut off, stopped short, and in racing of horses a jockey would have to use all his might to pull a horse, running 30+ mph back in order to keep from an accident - cut off. In Galations 5:7, I think this is Paul talking to the Galations, he says "You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?" It's amazing how Paul was able to relate God's word to people. I'm sure to some extent people in those days had some sort of racing, altho I have no idea what kind, Paul was able to get the word to them in a way they could understand. In my race, I was cut off, someone cut me off from obeying the truth that I know, and that cut off is still in me. The truth is that I know, that I know, that I know, that God is in control and that even tho I miss him, my son is with Him. But in my head, the cutter offer, has placed doubt and the race is cut short and all I see is horses butts. And I struggle to beat down, get around, and get back in the race and no matter how hard I try, the cutter offer just gets back in front.

The race that I loved so much has become a race that my soul is struggling for and my flesh is fighting against running. And I have no idea when the race will start again for me altho I am sure that somewhere in my soul it already has and my flesh just refuses to catch up and move forward. But I know that the race is still going on, that I am physically in it because I can feel the strain of running. I don't know how to truly get around the cutter offer in front of me, but I know that eventually I will. I know somewhere in this race the horses butt in front will get moved out of the way and I will be back in the pushing and bumping race that I started out in and hopefully the race will be different. Hopefully the race will start to look like a pulling away, a stride ahead of the horses butt who cut me off, and then a few more and a few more and a few more, until I can see ahead of me the 3rd turn to the home stretch, because that is truly my goal.

Friday, October 29, 2010

What?What?

I have always been a question girl...always, and anyone who knows me, knows that I can ask some questions. Just when you think there isn't a question to be asked, I can come up with a question. My daughter, Syd, is the same way. Ever since she was little she would ask some of the strangest questions; that hasn't changed and she's 15. It's like being around a 4 yr old child, you know the one that asks 'why is the sky blue?' Answer: (at least by most people) 'it's reflecting the color of the water.' Which definitely leads to 'why is water blue?' The proverbial chicken or egg first, huh? Well thats me too. But lately, I haven't had an answer for a question that keeps coming to my mind..what does sadness and grief look like? What does it look like from your, the outsider, perspective? What does it look like to me, the insider, the viewer? And as of yet I have not received an answer or even close to a guess as to what it looks like from either point of view. There are lots of views of grief from lots of people but no real answers. But for me this is what it looks like, like a long desolate area that is holding onto a lone tree, standing against the wind and barely holding on to the battle toward relief. A sole person, looking for their way thru a valley that has no way out but thru it, and holding a secret around the edge of turn that you can't see around, and to climb out is not an option.; the ridges are to steep and you can't see to the top. Jeremiah talked about sadness and grief too and described like this Jer 9:21 Death has climbed in through our windows and has entered our fortress, it has cut off the children from the streets and our young men from the public squares. I know, only after reading Jeremiah 9 that he is prophesizing about the coming days of distress and the ultimate reclaiming of the world by Christ (note you well before Christ's first coming). But to me this verse says way more, it answers my question of what grief looks like to me and, maybe, to you. I don't truly care if you are aware of a coming death (the living thru a prolonged sickness of a loved one) or if death comes unexpectedly, it climbs into our windows and moves into our lives, our fortress. And while I and my family are living with grief and sadness, the look for outsiders holds true to the second part of this verse. Those who are used to seeing us out now do not, death has cut us (children) from the streets. This is figuratively because in reality, the physical, we are 'out' but inwardly we are not. And for those around us who grieve, no matter the situation, we look like we are cut off from the streets. My question answered.


But, as you know now of me, this answer leads yet to another unanswered question. When will this feeling of grief and sadness end? Where is the destination? I have asked these questions too. I have searched for an answer and everyone has different answers from "you have to work thru this" to "thru God you will get thru this". That's a large range of answers because, if you can imagine, there are a plethera of answers in between these two responses. I can hold onto remembering what it felt like to be truly happy, knowing that Kaleb was going to college at a small Christian college that he picked out, that Jennifer will be in soccer for 4 yrs at high school, and Sydney would always bring a smile and laughter at her constant changes in life decisions. Today, I do not hold onto those beliefs, I know now without any doubt that everything can change and I have not control over my long term happiness or future dreams. That is a reality an acceptance I have came to terms with (so to speak). But I long to know what these questions of mine will bring as answers and .... when? And when it happens what will it look like? Mostly because I have forgotten what it truly looks like. In Jeremiah (yes again), I found a response to what it will look like, even tho I have not found the when. Jer 31:13 Their maidens will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness, I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. I know that this is nearing the end of Jeremiah's book of prophesy and that this is God telling of his promise in Christ but to me He is telling me in no uncertain terms that we will one day be full of true joy and happiness again. That one day our girls will dance in joy, and we will dance with our young men. And He gives those of us going thru grief and sadness that He will take that from us and give us joy and comfort. Even tho, He doesn't tell me when He will do this, He doesn't give me an end date or how to get to that point, He gives me this to share with you. That one day, somewhere at the end of the desert and thru the valley without climbing the ridges, we will get to joy and gladness, happiness and peace, and we will get to dance.
And one day, I will get to look like I am floating on air, both to myself and you. I will get to feel like dancing just because I feel like it and it will bring a smile to my face. And one day, maybe far away or maybe not so far, I will get to dance with my girls, my husband, and my son, once again.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Endurance Riders - The World's Unsung Equestrian Athletes.

Someone Like You

I first started enduance horse back riding when I was 14. I had no idea what it was, I had no idea what I was doing, I just did what the woman who was teaching me to ride told me to do. I found that I loved this sport; a sport that very few people know or understand, even those who ride. Riding endurance is something that becomes a partnership, a partnership of love of something, trust of someone, and dedication of love and not a sport. The riding of your horse for preparation of a ride with a one day distance of 25 - 100 miles takes a charge of two lives. In reality, that charge becomes a partnership. I dwell and love to become as strong as either of my endurance horses. I strive to love another so much that no matter what they ask, I would do that thing without hesitation, without concern for my body, and without doubt that the asker was leading me in the right direction. That is strength.

I posted a video a friend's daughter has on her FB page, and when I saw it, I had to watch it 4 times this morning. It is either a National or International ride that is set to the song Someone Like You by SafetySuit (a band I have never heard of until this morning). I watched this video on this morning of grief, sadness that has once again set in for 2 reasons now, 1st for the loss of my son and 2nd for the loss of a love that I once had, riding. But this video and song spoke to me in a different way and altho probably not about this at all, the song resonated a strength that can not come from me or those around me. I am not a strong person altho those around me seem to see me as strong. I am not as strong as my horses, Raychel, Myisha or Princess, I am not deep in love and trust, and I do not depend on others for anything. I am not able to trust anyone to lead me in a direction that I should go without questioning that direction. Strength is something that I was taught was something you had or didn't have and that it was acquired not gained. Right now, my strength is low. I feel like this horse and rider, struggling uphill to get to a ridge in the destination, a place of slight relief and healing, but the hill is just steeper than it looked from the bottom and my head is low and my heart is pounding trying to catch up with the physical exertion that is taking place. Strength is dwendling. 2Cor 12:10 "I delight in weakness...For when I am weak, then I am strong." There is more to this verse but these words stand out to me, mostly because I am weak, I am failing in all that I am trying to do, and I feel as those those strengths that I thought I had are no longer there. Odd to hear those phrases together, when I am weak then I am strong. I know that this is a reference to spririt weakness, of which I am in, but when I read this I hear a different kind of weakness. I can see my horse hitting the perverbial wall that athletes hit at long distances. How, no matter how strong she was when we began the ride, at a certain point in the midst of the chase, she becomes very weak, very tired, her head lowers and her stride slows. She becomes weak in every essence and yet in all that physical strife, she continues on - heading in the direction of those in front of her, going the distance that I ask of her without hesitation. And somewhere in someway, at about mile 39, her attitude changes, she perks up, her ears flip forward, her head pops up, and her stride springs back to her usual self. She becomes strong once more, once more at the point of her weakest moment, when her head is at its lowest, when water and grazing stops become a yaaaahoooo moment, she changes. She becomes the strongest at this point, her heart jumps into action and her mind becomes faithful to my request.

I don't know when I will be strong again, I don't know when my head will pop up and my heart will jump into action. I don't know that I am ready for it to happen and the wall is much thicker than I thought when I first saw it. I know that I am more and more thinking that my time with God is dwendling to nothing, and I feel as though I am going in the wrong direction. And yet, I still get up and go through my day, with my head low and my stride even slower. So these few words, "for when I am weak, then I am strong", speak of a future strength that is to come. A strength that I can not see but is out there on its way. A strength that, hopefully, God knows I need but also knows that I am not ready for because the wall is thicker yet ahead and the climb to the top of the ridge is only steeper than I can see. And somewhere up ahead, somewhere the strength that I need to make it thru the this weakness is waiting, and I will be able to make the last lurch upward to the point of strength that aludes me. And hopefully, one day, I will be to myself as strong as those around me see, one day, I will be able to say that I am weak because I couldn't be strong and that is exactly where I needed to be at that time. And now, at the end of the climb, the mountain doesn't seem so difficult and the last strides to the ridge are much easier to take. And one day, I hope to look like my horses do, I hope to look to myself like the strong person that God is preparing me to be and on the outside I look like I feel on the inside....strong.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Shut up!

Don't you love being a kid? I loved being a kid because I had a big mouth, mostly as a teenager, and I could say just about anything and get away with it. Even in high school, I rarely kept my mouth shut...imagine that!! If there was something I didn't like or someone I didn't like, I had no problem telling them exactly what I thought about them or the situation. And I knew girls who didn't open their mouths, they were more temperate and calm, but I considered them weak. So, as I did and still do, I took up for them with my unshut mouth. I mean it was my position to do that especially when the uptaking was ripe for the picking.

As I've gotten older, I have been more cautious about my mouth but the mouth in my head continues to verse its own opinion even in the quiet of my mind. So inevitably, somewhere in the midst of a conversation, that opinion will sneak out (and I do mean sneak - altho I do tend to provide the open door or window for it to get out). And while, I believe for a small part, I have grown in my age and in my mind and the way I look at things and people, I still have that small part of me that just jumps without thinking. That part of me that holds grudges without releasing them and that part of me that just doesn't know when to shut up.

This morning, after several mornings of not reading anything or getting myself motivated toward God, I picked up my Streams in the Desert (a devotional that I am getting for all my friends - soon) and guess what the topic was....yep - basically in a nutshell - shut up! It was a short, broken up passage from Isaiah 53 - so of course I had to look up the whole chapter because Lord knows I've never read this or if I have it just didn't sink in - so off to crosswalk.com I went. (And yes I used the computer not my actual Bible-laziness!) Ok back on track, I read these first 7 versus of Isaiah 53 because I wanted to know who the author was talking about because this whole 1/2 page of devotional was about keeping your mouth shut. Ok so it doesn't actualy say that but when you get down to it and read between the lines, that's exactly what it was about. So I read these, or skimmed the versus, and it was about the affliction of Christ. Ok so first of all, wasn't expecting that altho I should have expected it, I've read in Isaiah before and the majority of it is about Christ. So the 'shut up' took on a different meaning this morning. An all in all different meaning this morning. In Isa 53:4 - 7, Isaiah (I think) says "....surely he took up our infirmities and our sorrows...but he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our inequities...we all are like sheep and have gone astray each of us has turned his own way and the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all...He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth, he was led like a lamb to slaughter...yet he did not open his mouth." I wonder if Christ, in his humanly form, wanted to set judgment on those afflicting him, wanted to shout out for the unforgiven person who was afflicted for words or actions, I wonder if he really had a lot to say and for our sake kept his mouth shut? Don't you? I wonder if I can ever keep my mouth shut, it was something that I was working on in the past, not taking up other peoples offenses and lately that has ebbed, I have no problem spouting off at the mouth and sometimes it sounds like my 18yr old self coming out again. And then I read this small passage that said 'shut up'.

So maybe I need to stay quiet and work on quieting my mind's mouth. And maybe I need to work on what really needs to take place in my life and the lives of my family and friends and truly let things that offend me and others go. Will I? I don't know and I can't answer that for sure with a definite yes, but I can say this, I know what matters in life now more than ever. I know that the little things, altho still a battle in my mind and out of my mouth, are just that little things. I know more than ever that the things people say and do are a trick, a target to get me to look at them and let my mouth run amuck. That doesn't mean that I don't look, I still do, but what I want it to mean is that I know and can recognize it now and cause that moment of looking to turn into a moment of shutting my mouth. I don't have to open my mouth, never have had too really, but I've wanted to and so leads my free will to do as I please, to go astray. So how do I keep my mouth shut? Well I don't really know, but I know that I know that I know, that I don't have to say anything...someone has already said it all, I just have to believe what He said was enough.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Prayer

Have you ever been asked to pray for someone? That person, a friend, family member or acquaintance, is having a problem or issue and they ask you to pray for their situation? I have and like a good friend I would say yes and then in some none prayerful moment, when they crossed my mind, I would ask God to give that person strength. That was prayer to me, mostly because I was much to busy to do any sit down praying. But as I got started moving along in my walk with Christ I started spending time talking to Him and really asking for his protection and help over those who would ask me for prayer. I can say that over the past 5 months that prayer life that I worked so diligently to create and mould has dwindled away to almost nothing except the occasional outburst or statement of fact toward God. And I have written in the past about praying and prayer so I'm not totally lost on the prayer life factor, it has however become a 'job', a 'work' that I do not strive for or strive to accomplish.


Last week, yes last week, I read a blog that I have been following for the love of a horse and like in the past, I am stealing something from his blog. Mind you, I do not know this person, I have never met him, I only follow his blog because he details the past of the Arabian horse of which I love to read. Last week, he had "Push" on his blog, so as interested as I am I had to read it (curiosity didn't only kill the cat - it lured the cat first). So I began reading about the writers friend who was dealing with what she thought was an old and sick horse. How all of her attempts to fix it had led to an act of desperation to call a horse communicator (the only thing I can tell you - since I have never heard of this type of person - is that there are people called "horse whisperers and I think this 'communicator falls into that category). Even more interested, I dove deeper into the blog. This communicator couldn't get any response or feel for the older sick horse but in the midst of the field a yearling filly came running up to her with, apparently, a lot to say. So the communicator asked the filly about the old and sick mare and without hesitation the filly responded "oh you mean the praying mare". The communicator asked the filly what she meant and in quick response, and I can only equate this to a child who would instantly respond to a question, the filly said "she prays all the time, alone and apart from the rest of the heard, and she prays that the evil spirits that are attacking her owner are not successful and that He will keep her owner safe." I have always had animals and when I was about 12 received my first horse, so I have become in-tune with them knowing that something is wrong with them by the way they act or don't act in the field, at feeding time, and other small thing that they tell me by their body language. This is the first time I have ever heard anything like this communicator heard from this young filly. And it made me start looking in my pasture at my mares, and I remembered noting over the past summer, that one of them would be off alone without the other 2, grazing and not really caring what the other 2 were doing, and I thought the 2 together were being mean to the one. After reading this blog, I wonder how much praying they were doing? I wonder if, for some reason, they know that in this house is a sad spirit that moved in 5 months ago? And I wonder if the one's separateness was not driven separateness but intentional separateness? In Romans 12:12 Paul tells believers "be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer". I don't know who he was talking to and I don't know that it matters. I do know that these are words that have escaped my life and have become a struggle. But in the midst of this struggle and lack of joy, patience and prayer, I wonder if the mares I spent so much time with in the pasture have taken that responsibility upon themselves? I know you're thinking I'm crazy!! But why? Why would it be so different for a pet, that loves me, to ask God, whom I believe they know, for protection?

In Matthew 6:6 Jesus is talking and tells His followers "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." I know that this is relating to people not being 'hypocrates' and showing off but I wonder, somewhere in my heart, if my horses have not done just this? They have no room but by separating themselves they are, in essence, alone and in secret, praying. I can, with all parts of my spirit, believe this; I was not reading that particular blog for something to do at night but delaying going to work that morning. And I believe, to some extent, that God was trying to tell me that someone was praying for me that was closer to me than I thought. And you may not believe it and you don't have to believe. But I do, I see one of my mares off and alone and I look at them differently now. I don't start fretting that something is wrong or there has been a clique formed but that maybe just maybe that one mare is doing something for me. Maybe they are being faithful in prayer for me, someone that they love, when I can not be faithful. So call me crazy, nuts, coocoo, and odd; don't believe that my pets have the connection with God that I missed; but I ask you, what are your pets doing that is stricking a concern in you? What are you looking at that they are doing differently? I bet, and more now without much doubt, that they are taking up a position of prayer that you may not have right now. A position with thier God too and asking for your protection in a time when you can not ask. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Crazy Life

I have had a crazy life, you don't believe me, well I wouldn't either but I'm living it...still. The reason for this title is because my girls have got me hooked on Michael Buble's Everything song...in it he calls life crazy and then tells the woman he's singing for that she's his everything. That's exactly what my life is, crazy, not just in times but the whole thing. I never really had a permanent home, not until 9th gade. We moved all over the place growing up. When I semi-grew up, I got married, actually that's not true. I got pregnant first then got married. Remember I said crazy life, I apparently didn't do anything the correct way first...it was a learning experience of life in happening. We, Lee and I, had times where we didn't know what we were going to eat, when we were going to have money, how we were going to feed Kaleb and then, came Jennifer. And shortly after her, Sydney. More craziness!! And if you don't think having 3 children under age 4 is craziness, believe me - don't try it for yourself. So on the surface that doesn't sound crazy..it sounds like life. But being inside of it is crazy at the time, now looking back at that craziness, I wouldn't have missed that for anything.

Now, in this place it seems our family is at, we are in a crazy life. I don't know how the girls are doing, not really, truth be told I've been avoiding that part of my motherly duties. But for me and Lee, I think our life looks exactly like this picture....no direction, or if there is we don't know which way to go. Just as soon as it seems like its suppose to be a left turn, a road sign goes up and I'm on the wrong road. I started something this week, Grief Share, and I'm not liking it because the book asks me to detail my grief. And so I have but seeing this picture, this is what my grief looks like, total craziness and confusion. And I've been in craziness and confusion before but not like this, not where it seems like every way is the wrong way. And I read something this morning, Jesus talking to Peter about Peter's betrayal. He says 'Satan wants to sift you like wheat and I have prayed for you that your faith will not fail." (Luke 22:31) I've read this before but not in the context that I was given this morning. This morning I read craziness and confusion instead of "sift". I never eally understood this verse or what Jesus was telling Peter and I may be completely wrong on this but I think that Jesus was telling Peter that Satan was asking but he was doing at the same time. Peter didn't understand that in his moments of wanting to be faithful in words, he was being confused and made to feel like the things he was being told were crazy. And when I look at this, I think that is what my life is - sifting. Just like when I take a hand sifter and put flour in it, I stir it up that is what is happening in my life. Sometimes the sifter is just steadily sifting and all is ok, the road signs are clear and then someone goes and uses their hand to beat the side of the sifter to make it go faster and the pain, confusion, anger, and loss of faith fill my life.
I wonder, and hope, that Jesus is praying for me like he did for Peter because praying isn't something I do much of anymore. It seems right now a waste or lost effort, something that was a direction that now is just blocked from me taking that road. So in my place of confusion and craziness, and I need to find something that is the song, the words, the lines, everything, I find Lee. Somewhere in the midst of all thist confusion I can find Jesus too sometimes, not often, but sometimes and I get a glimpse of Him. I don't know what He's doing but I hope He's praying. Don't you?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bland Faith

I saw this saying on a page I was on this morning, a columnist for USA Today used it in describing the "peace" between Christians and scientist. And out of curiosity I had to read the article because of these 2 words (naturally I was curious wouldn't you be). The columnist states his opinion that science and believers have come to a unsettled peace because of believers "bland faith" (this from a non-believer - became very interesting). And, truth be told after reading the article, I kind of believe the columnist. How do I live my faith? How do I feel in my faith? Do I trust in my faith? Or is it just something that I like to say I have? Right now, I believe it is something I just say I have, or maybe had at one time. But how is my faith or was my faith? Was it bland? Or was it alive, full of flavor and real to those around me? I found this picture of God making the earth and us, and I thought it interesting that His quote is "And just to make things interesting..." as He is adding "jerks" seasoning to this world. Kind of funny when you look at huh?!! I thought so and then I thought, seasoning huh. I wonder if God looks at my life as bland? Day to day? No excitement, no life, no taste, no faith .... just bland.


So without thinking this morning about this set of words, and before I actually saw them, I read 1Sam 3:18 "....He is the Lord, let Him do what is good in His eyes." I had never read 1 Samuel and I needed to know more, more about what this one sentence meant and why. This is Eli, the prophet talking to Samuel, a young student of his, after Samuel had a vision of God in the temple. God spoke to Samuel and he heard every word that God spoke telling him about the judgment on Eli's family to come. Eli, of course knew this was coming (I gathered from this chapter) but asked Samuel what God had told him. Eli, being faithful, told Samuel and Eli responded with "He is the Lord, let Him do what is good in His eyes." Eli just said "ok". He knew that judgment was coming on him and his family by God and he said "ok" (totally in our current terms that what he said). That is faith, not bland or unflavored faith, but real faith that he knew that what was to come before he was told by Samuel. It was acceptance of something that he had no control over.... "ok".

For Eli and Samuel I think their faith was more than alive and real, I mean they were prophets and had visions of God, they spoke his actual words and watched them get fulfilled. And they had no idea where or what was to happen to them personally but they did what God told them to anyway. When I read 1Sam 3:18 and in the state of mind that I have been in for a week or more I didn't hear or see anything. I especially didn't say 'ok' or see 'ok whatever You say'. But then I saw the article with those 2 words - bland faith- and wondered if this is what I have, bland faith. No taste faith, no seasoning faith. And I went back and re-read 1Sam 3:18 and I got a little more, but this time it was like this comic of man talking to his dog..... And it made me think that this is exactly what bland faith is....God talking to us in words that we hear as blah, blah, blah, Theresa, blah, blah blah blah.....Theresa, blah blah blah. This is what I've been hearing; a lot of blah and in the midst of it my name being said then some more blah. And I know that I've been struggling with faith lately and so this is not a surprise to me but more of a revelation. That the one thing that I need to have or desire to have if faith, strength in my faith, and a surface faith that is full of seasoning and I see bland faith.

I want and desire more than anything to not live blandly, to live like Samuel did totally blind of himself and full of faith. To become a seasoning with more spice and taste than I have or had, to know that my faith is not bland and yet I know, deep down, it is and will be for a while. So I wonder if I will get to the place of faith that I was at before April 24th, 2010? And I wonder when it will happen that I can hear more than 'blah blah blah blah Theresa' from God? Maybe like Samuel I need to let Him know that I'm willing to hear Him, that's all the advise the Eli gave Samuel. Maybe that's what I'm not doing, saying "tell me what You want me to hear". Until this morning I'd never heard the 2 words 'bland' and 'faith' together; I'd never read 1Sam anything; and I haven't been asking to hear what God has to say. Am I ready to say "ok, you are the Lord" and "let whatever happens be what You seem to be good"? Not completely, not yet. But like Samuel, who thought Eli was calling him through the "blah, blah, blah's", I want that faith to say "tell me what You have to say because I'm listening". Bland faith is more than just 2 words thrown together to create an oxymoron, altho they make a good one, they are a truth that I don't want to hear. A truth that I know and didn't want to believe.............Ok God, I'm listening what do you have to say. I may not like it, as a matter of fact I won't and don't like it before You even say it, but I want to hear You. What do you have to say?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ode to October

It's close you know, the coming fall, the brisk nights are on edge
they clammer against the warmer days building slowly their cooling hedge.
And when the morning breeze blows, the fall begins to ebb
flowing away in the sunlite days the bring the warmth instead.
This is just the beginning moments, the glimpses of your fall
winding slowly through the plains then mountains with trees so tall.
Your flow is more than any can stop, is more than any can cease
and yet in all that comes and goes, the warm summer days decrease.
You push your way no matter what tempest blows
telling all your plans ahead by the trace of leaves that glow.
And when your nippy nights come fully, you do not delay your stay
you bring with more than coolness, you carry on your wind a sad, long day.
For as your brisk winds travel this way, a day of worry is settling fast
waiting to bring to me a rememberance of those things not to be and things of past,
and in that fleeting moment, the day will come and I will fall to your cold heart
not knowing what is to happen or how I am to play on thru this part.
So here I beg and hope your heart will change, to ask for you to hold your way
but on I beg to wind and breeze and you came forth without delay.
And just like every breezy day, you moved thru here as tho there was no reason to wait
on you went, your regular way, and took no charge to my heart sad and faint.
Now with few days to go to your end, I ask for you to pass this on to those behind you
hold your presence and delay your inward move, give us a rest, us weary few.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Lies

I was never a good liar, which was probably a good thing for me looking back, but when I was in the moment of lying it wasn't so good in my view. I would stand with my fingers crossed behind my back and think that would cure everything and I would be able to get away with the white lie that was being planned in my head and would soon come out of my mouth. I would, inevitably, begin to smile or laugh when I was younger and as I got older that trait turned to dismay and anger, offense that the person I was lying to would call me a liar; even tho it was true. Lies would be part of me in many fashions - words, actions, in my mind when I was thinking about something-literally anything- and they would play out in my real life. Why? Well because, I think, like most people (not all) I believed that I was due something that I didn't get. What? I have no idea but I truly believe that was the reason for my continual, habitual lying when I was another person. That part of my life, in the recent past, has changed, thankfully (and on a side note aren't you, my friends and family, thankful too). But just in the past week, I heard a song that the lyrics, the chorus, says "I love the way you lie". If you haven't heard it its an Eminem with Rhianna song, word of warning if you want to hear it, you can go to youtube and watch the video its very good but the lyrics from Eminem are filled with 'f-bombs' (I think actually 3) and some other colorful language. But the song, after looking up the words and watching the video and researching where the song came frome, is at its core about physical abuse. Mostly a song that Eminem wrote about his marriage with his ex-wife Kim and their elongated, abusive relationship, and how, after several times of trying to make it work without abuse in that relationship, he (and I undestand Kim too) would lie to the other about no more abuse the next time. The song is very pointed to this type of relationship. For those of you wondering, no I'm not in an abusive relationship or a bad relationship...thought I should clear that up.

So why this song? Why this title? Well, I know the lyrics but this morning, get this, during my devotionals, this song came to mind, actually the chorus came to mind. I am, to some degree still lying...to myself. This song is about abuse and lying, and it held a different meaning to me. It is, in essence the lying of me to me. When the words "i love the way you lie" come to mind, I think of the perverbial abused woman who continually returns to the abuser. When I heard these words this morning, playing on in my head, I thought of the internal me, the one that lies to me about who I am, what is happening around me, why things are the way they are, and in essense I listen to that inner me...loving the way it lies to me. David wrote about lies he believed in Psalms, if you read it David goes from joy to fear to anger to happiness to distress to relief and on and on. In Psl 41 David says "I have waited patiently for the Lord, he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." This wasn't always David's prayer or words; throughout his time of being 'on the run'-so to speak- David finds himselft in a lot of places where he doesn't believe that God is listening or working for his good. I bet David, during these times, was living in the lies he heard from his inner self and those who told him of rumors from afar by his enemy. This passage is a promise from God to David, one that I have found in the past few weeks or month, and I wonder if it is real, wonder if it is true. I believe that in the midst of David's struggles and distress, when he would hear a blessing or promise, he believed it without haste. I also believe David went thru, after this promise, many different emotions and anguish during his trials, so the inner lies did not stop or cease during the small flashes of promises.

I'm still living in the lies, even tho they don't come out of my mouth, they still are part of my life. They live in the inner me telling me the things that I don't want to believe but love to hear, they take over when I struggle to shut the voice up, and they continue even in moments of living in a promise. I don't think this is bad, I think it is where I'm at right now, walking thru durations of lies with moments of promises that don't last long. But in the midst of the durations, somewhere in the middle of the lies that I love to hear, I know that the promise of being lifted out of the "slimy pit" "mud" and "mire" is true, even tho the lies out wiegh the fleeting moments of promises, the promise is still there.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Last Post

So I sometimes go back and re-read what I write just to remember the place I was at in that moment, what was happening at that time to write those words. Well, yesterday in my last post, I felt like I was struggling thru it but when I re-read what I wrote I thought "what in the world!" And after reading it I wanted to delete it from the page and thought better. I remembe things that I want to remember, things that I don't always want to remember, and things that have no business being in my memory bank. But the words that I put on this page or in my written journal seem to flow like I'm not the one writing, and so the last post stays. And I remember in this post that when I look back, which I am doing more often then looking forward, I am reminded that I can't always see directly behind me. I remember when I used to put pictures up on my blogs and am trying to get back to that mostly because pictures tell a story that can't be put in words. Like this one, one of my favorite, a horse looking over its back. Horses can see all the way around them except directly in front and right down the middle of their back and directly behind them, so they turn their heads, like this guy (or girl), to look behind them. They check for their herd to make sue everyone is ok and close and they check for danger from behind. I, and I'm sure you do to, do this only differently. I check behind to see what I missed, what mistakes I've made, what I regretted doing or not doing, so I check behing me. I check to see if the path that I took is full of grass and pastures, flowers and towering trees of life or if it that path is sand and dirt with only my footprints winding endlessly to the point I am standing. I check.

In all this checking, I find myself lost in what I did or might have done, what I didn't do and what I wish I had taken the opportunity to do. And I forget that I'm still walking forward, see unlike horses I can't see where I'm going with one eye and check behind with the other, so I find myself stumbling and that is where I was with yesterday's post-stumbling. I desire more than anything to be free from looking behind and that causes stress, concern, and the unwanted desire to look behind. My fear of doing the same thing over, more than likely the wrong thing, has set me up for the look-back, look over my shoulder, turn around mentality in my mind (and that is truly where it is - in my mind). And, in this struggle of looking back, which it is, I am finding more mistakes in my life than good; more regrets than accomplishments; these are part of the look-back clause. I find all the tiny mishaps, mistakes, regrets and dwell on them, like a fine mistake in a forced blog (i.e. yesterdays) to find a way to discredit the doing. I read something this morning that took me by suprise, and brought on this look-back, in Matthew (Matt 13:3-8). Jesus was talking to a group of people and like He did, all in stories, He said "...a farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun cam up, the plants wee scorched, and they withered because they ahd no root. Other seed fell among thorns which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop...." I bet you're thinking what does this have to do with looking back because I did and then I re-read it (ahh the look-back). I wonder how the farmer in this parable knew what happened to all of the seed he scattered? The only way he could have known was to look-back over his shoulder to see the birds, to go back once he was finished and see the seed that fell on rocks and in thorns, to nurture the seed that landed where he wanted to be and make it grow. He had to look-back, go back, but he didn't re-do. I know that this parable is talking about the seed of life, the nurturing of faith and how one takes that from the sower but to me it talked about looking back.

I see the things that I did that landed on good soil (so to speak) I see those things every day when I get up and when I go to bed. I see the things too, looking back, that I did that landed in hard, unforgiving rocks and thorns, and those things are still there because they are things that I did in my life that I regret doing, or not doing correctly. So I still look back, just like the farmer and his crops. I see now that those looking back moments are ok, they let me see something that I should have seen the first time I traveled that path, but I can't change I handled those moments but I can learn from them. Learn that the little things are just little and don't need my attention when they want to be big problems; learn that even tho I have worked my life for a career, I don't have to let that career be my life; learn that the moments that I spend laughing with my husband and children were moments that out weigh the split seconds of not laughing; learn that friends are friends no matter what and are always a part of my life no matter how far away. And I would like to think that in those moments are like the farmers seeds that fell on good soil. So what does my look-back path look like? I don't know but I hope that it looks something like this path, full of tall trees that flourished through hardship, winds of storms, and forest fires; lush grass that edge the narrow path that I chose but clear enough for my children to see that there was distruction off to the sides but clearing when I stayed true to what as needed to be nurtured and that which fell on good ground. Do you look back? I bet you do. I wonder what your path looks like? I wonder what you think your path looks like? When I started this writing, this picture wasn't what I saw but I think it's what God sees. Maybe I need to adjust the crane of my neck to look over my back, maybe you do too.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Draw....

When I heard this word this morning (figuratively I mean), I didn't think immediately of 'drawing' or to 'draw' like I'm sure you did when you saw the title. Actually what I heard was from old movies where mothers and fathers tell their children to 'go draw some water' for dinner. Strangely odd that came to mind for me and not lets draw something for mom. And its not like I grew up in the netherlands of nowheresville and had a well to 'draw' from, so this was odd to me that this word brought up a memory from old movies. The second thought was 'draw your gun and shoot' again from old westerns that I have no true memory of...well except for Gunsmoke at the beginning when you see the sheriff's boots walking in the street and a quick turn and shoot from his trusty gun tied diligently to his leg. Now after hearing those two thoughts the word draw has a lot more meaning than what it sounds like at first. Its funny how a word that in our life means one thing actually holds more meaning in other ways then we gave it credit for or wanted to acknowledge.


I draw from a lot of things and people, I draw emotions from places that are tucked away in my mind and when they come to the surface, not unlike that bucket from a well, the bring a new round of hurt, confusion, anger, frustation, and often those draws bring smiles, joy, and laughter. I draw toward people for something that I long for in them that is not in me. Strength from friends and Lee, humor that only we could get from past memories, commrodery over frustration, and the list goes. I draw from that well regularly it seems and when the bucket hits the light the emotion and memory brings a wealth of the water that I did not necessarily want to receive. Truth be told, I don't even know how or when the drawing takes place but once one bucket makes it to the surface a wealth of other buckets are hot on its tail. I've been working at drawing from another place too. Working in a struggle to draw from a place that is of comfort and peace. This well has been much harder to draw from, mostly because I hesitate. Why? I'm not sure but I do, and then the drawing becomes a job a work of labor that I fail and walk away from quickly. This well is deep and is, right now, hard for me to get to and even tho I struggle with it, I desire to find and draw from it. This place, this well is where comfort and peace live continually. Where understanding and need to know are put to rest and I can just dwell. And yet I struggle with this draw, struggle to find a way to get the bucket over the well edge, because I am struggling to believe and have faith that this well will provide those few things the draw is harder. Jesus said "...the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (John 4:14). And honestly, I believe His words, even tho I struggle with the well I believe those words He spoke and they make the drawing much harder. If this well is a spring of life, I am, I'm sure, suppose to live thru this time and in this time to be something more for someone outside of my life to get water from this well inside of me....Follow? As difficult as it is for me to see this, I want it to be true and full because there in that well bucket comes peace and comfort. There in that well bucket comes the things that I long for and struggle to get on my own. So the draw now has meaning that it didn't have at the beginning, it has a destination, a goal, a focal point, and not an end, it has a place in my life today and someone's future. The draw, not of a gun, but of that well water longing to be pulled from the deep into life. Where is your well? And who is it meant for? I'm still waiting for my answers and struggling with the draw from this well that is calling but I will struggle and hope the draw will be fulfilling, will you?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Pictures and Portions

I have never liked taking pictures, not ever. I do whatever I can do to stay away from being pictured. Why? Well, I've never thought myself pretty and so in light of that, I avoid pictures. I am to say the least, not a girlie girl, never have been so to me when I am asked to take a picture, I have to work to be who I'm not. In reflection, when I see pictures of me, I find flaws, mistakes, and someone who really doesn't remind me of .... me. So avoiding pictures is me. BUT, I love to take pictures!!! Love to take pictures of anyone doing anything at anytime. I especially like to take pictures of my kids doing things that they probably wouldn't be pictured doing. My aunt took pictures of all of us kids growing up - when we were sleeping! That was her favorite to set up some crazy scene with us sleeping and take pictures. And, I inherited that act of craziness from her...actually I think I took it but we'll call it inherited. So throughout the lives of my kids and family I have pictures from Lee smiling crazy from behind a Redskins baseball cap to Kaleb playing under the kitchen sink (no worries there was nothing under it) to Jenn playing her first game of T-ball to Syd dancing on the beach (you can imagine everything in between). Pictures of my life.
Pictures have become a reflection for me too, they have become a sight of the past that, in retrospect, shows my portion in life. These pictures show lives of my children that I have forgotten, sections of the portion that I been blessed to live through that I, in the busyness of life, have forgotten happened. Pictures of Lee, Kaleb and I when we first moved into our first home. Pictures of Jenn in a walker and Kaleb throwing fall leaves on her in my Mom's front yard. Pictures of Kaleb, Jenn and Syd on Bobbi's front yard at Easter. Pictures of Lee and Kaleb in Dotty's kitchen when Lee first realized Kaleb was 5'10" (7th grade). Pictures of Jenn and Syd in the car going who knows where. Pictures that reflect the portion of my life that was fulfilled and I feel as tho I missed when looking at them now.
David wrote about his portion, altho I'm sure he didn't have pictures to reflect on during this time. Davis wrote in Psalms 16:5-6 "Lord you have assigned me my portion and my cup, you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, surely I have a delightful inheritance." Odd that David writes these words in the midst of anguish, pain, fear, and fleeing. I wonder, alot, if David actually believed what he said? I wonder if somewhere in the back of his mind he had doubts that he was surely going to be killed and the words he said were just words to comfort him? Don't you? "Lord you have assigned me my portion" looking at David's life it doesn't sound like he had a good portion all the time. I know that my portion doesn't seem at all fair, or something I wanted to have assigned to me. "Boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places" Yea right? I mean really...pleasant places??? Where, I think, I'm not sure, but David was speaking from a land of his enemy in a cave, doesn't sound to pleasant to me. I don't remember where the pleasant places in my days are, altho I find the off and on in the pictures I see. And somewhere in the middle of David's flight he saw a "delightful inheritance". I don't know what that inheritance would be and I don't think David did either.
I don't see that my portion is pleasant and I don't know how to find that pleasant place again, but I do know at the end of this long winded blog, that I have a delightful inheritance. An inheritance that started with an unexpected pregnancy and will end with two beautiful girls fulfilling a legacy that started in an undesired way. I hope that one day those pleasant places reappear; I hope that my portion is now and today and not only in pictures but in the day at hand; but in all of this I know that my inheritance is delightful, even thru pictures that cause reflection and pain, the inheritance will be more than I expected. Maybe yours will be too. Maybe in this time you are in, you can't see the pleasant places in the cave, and your portion isn't what you want, but at the end the place that you can't quite see yet, your inheritance will be delightful.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Server?

I have to say that I worked for many years in the restaurant business; being a waitress, mostly, a hostess, bartender, floor manager (for a short time), and other things, and I used to (at a much younger age) love it. I could work Thursday thru Sunday doubles on pay-day weekends and make more money in tips than you can probably imagine. And, of course, being the totally dishonest person, I was not claiming all of those tips in my paycheck for taxing. Why???? Well, why? I mean what kind of doodoo would do that!? Certainly not me! We, Lee and I, were working opposite shifts trying to get as much money as possible to raise 3 very young children without 'dishing' out as much as was needed to survive. Daycare alone would have been astonomical even 15 years ago it was unbelievably high, so we worked around daycares, work schedules, and kids to make a buck. And trust you me, I did make a buck or two waiting on tables....ok maybe more than a buck or two! And I loved the money I made; it was like free cash because you only have to claim 10% (probably 15% now) of your sales. And goodness nows waitstaff is making much more than that, so why claim it...right? Well I don't work as a waitress anymore and haven't for many years...but I still, to some extent, live by the waitress mentality of "if the feds don't know about it, why claim it?" So maybe I do work a job on the side here an dthere for under the table money...but still I don't claim that as extra income, like I should. But who's the wiser right? Or at least that's my take on it!!!
Money has become a staple to me, not because we, as a family, are or ever have been money wealthy, but because since age 15 I have worked to make money. This November, that will all change, I am leaving my career position of the past 11 yrs and making a change to serve my family and be available for my children. This will, by no uncertain means, probably drive me crazy. You understand if you know me, but I have decided that I don't want to regret missing anything that my girls do or want to do because of my loyalty to money. And when you look at it the right way, that's exactly what it is, my loyalty to money. I have no problem putting work first, feeling bad when I ask for time off, work late for free or off the clock, and put my children after the making of money....that is, without a doubt a loyalty to money. So I have, as you can imagine, a little anxiety about this leaving the working force and being a 'stay at home mom' for my teenage girls, but for no other reason than because I will not be making money, cash, denaro, mulla, etc, etc, etc.
So this morning, I looked for anything that would give me a sense of peace about my decision, a confirmation of what I was doing was right, and found 1Peter 5:2 "be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers --- not because you must but because you are willing as God wants you to be, not greedy for money but eager to serve." This spoke to me, God spoke to me and spoke directly to what I was worried about, money! I have no idea who wrote this, my guess is Peter but my guesses are usually wrong, but for argument sake lets say its Peter, I like Peter because he tried with human might to be perfect and right and continually screwed up. So, he is very much like me and probably even you. But this passage, these words gave and give me new direction, 'be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care'. Now I'm sure that Peter was talking to a group of religious/spiritual leaders, but to me, God says 'be the mom that you need to be (be a shepherd), the mom that I made you to be, even when you didn't want to be a mom, you are and you were created for that role, to raise and watch over the (flock) children that I gave to you'. And I'm sure that Peter was telling this group that they needed to serve in the position that they were in because they desired and wanted to serve not because of the money (or offerings) that they were receiving on behalf of God. But to me God said "don't worry about the money, that's been your priority for long enough, don't make this about the money but about your family, your children, your friends, who will need you more than you know in the coming times; serve Me not money". So for me 1Peter 5:2 says "This is your calling, one you missed for many years but one that is still waiting for your attention, this is your place to watch and raise My children, to serve Me and be a blessing to those who need you and not be needy for money but for the joy that has already been placed before you. I will provide and care for your needs, you provide and care for My children with a willing heart."
I wonder what else I like to serve? I know that there is more, maybe deeper within me that I haven't found yet, but I know and trust that Lee has all the right decisions regarding our finances and that God has our back. All I have to do is let it go and follow that calling.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pressure

Have you ever thought of how many things in this life are named with the word "pressure"? But think about it, we have atmospheric pressure, low pressures, high pressures, blood pressure, pressure gages, pressure cookers (remember those fund things!!), peer pressure, and the list can go on, and on, and on. There is even a song about pressure "Under Pressure" by David Bowie and Queen. It seems like no matter what is going on or what is not going on there is pressure everywhere. Pressure to make a decision, pressure to cook dinner, pressure to get up, pressure to go to bed....and if you don't think you're under pressure....think again. At some level in my life, I hope that the pressure lessens, that the pressure dissolves and goes away, wishful thinking huh?! I am, for lack of a better description, built with a pressure gage (and I think we all are-some of us just control it better than others). And like pressure gages, I have in different parts of me different types of gages. Currently, I have the one with the red area that tells you when to shut off the pressure and stand back (or as with me, you really can't see the pressure gage but you know when it's in the red). Its not, believe it or not, by choice. The pressure seems to build up quickly, especially lately, and it seems like just when things kind of even out, the pressure starts back up. The song 'Under Pressure' talks about pressure in the same way (if you have never read the lyrics look them up-very interesting). And when I get to the red, I'm generally like a pressure cooker..... the steam has nowhere to go but out. So why so much pressure? I thought I knew the answer to this question when I started typing this morning.....that changed in this paragraph and quickly. But in looking up the lyrics to the song 'Under Pressure', I found that I wasn't on the right track.
David Bowie & Queen, as wierd as they are, talk about pressure of the world and how it puts us in places that we never thought were possible and how pressure can destroy us. A very cool song really, not what I thought the words were when I first looked them up this morning. The lyrics begin "under pressure pressing down on me, pressing down on you no man ask for under pressure - burns a building down, splits a family in two, puts people on the streets" - not what you were expecting huh? Paul was under pressure too (as with many others) but he writes to his friends in 2Cor 1:8 "We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We are under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despair even of life." I wonder if Paul and his followers in Asia were under pressure similar to what Bowie and Queen talk about? So much pressure that they were on the streets or families were split in two? Truthfully, I was surprised to see the word "pressure" when I looked it up. Paul says "we despair even of life", that seems like a lot of pressure and similar to the pressure in the song lyrics too. And I bet Paul was under such pressure in Asia that he felt like he was loosing his faith. I don't know for sure but this passage seems to talk about such strain that Paul's only out was to write to his distant friends, to detail what kind of position ('we') they were in to those far away. We despair even of life, that's pressure, pressure that even though I may not feel to the point of loss of my life, with which I identify. Pressure.
So how does this pressure affect me? Why is pressure so vivid and real in my life? Mostly because I focus on the pressure, really that's the reason. I focus on the pressure just like all of you do too. Focus on the things or thing that brings pressure; see that pressure gage is more real than if first appeared. But I wonder what would happen (not that I am advocating this procedure) if I focused on something other than pressure? Bowie & Queen goes on to sing "Insanity laughs under pressure we're cracking, can't we give ourselves one more chance, why can't we give love one more chance....cause love's such an old fashioned word, and love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night, and love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves". I bet that through you for a loop!!!! I mean this song is about pressure not love...right? In comparison, Paul writes throughout 2Corinthians to his friends not only about pressure and despair (and only in two occasions) but throughout these letters about love. In 2Cor 2:4 Paul writes "For I wrote to you out of distress and great anguish of heart and with many tears, not to grieve you but to let you know of the depth of my love for you." Paul uses the word "love" and compares it in difference to the pressure of the times. He, in these letters of 2 Corinthans, challenges and encourages those he writes to continue to love, to show love, to be sincere in love, to be forth right in love, to give in love, love, love, love. Not to unlike my song. Paul used the description of pressure to show his distant friends that he was under and continued to be under pressure but not to bring them the same anguish he was under but to show them that in all the pressure love had to prevail.
Remember I told you that the reason I started this was not what it ended up to be by the end of the first paragraph. The pressure is huge on me right now, for a lot of reasons that I can not go in to detail about, but somewhere in all this pressure, God found a way to show me how to get my focus off of the pressure and on to the real focus, love. Maybe the pressure was suppose to bring me to a breaking point, where I would dash and run under the pressure? I think that was its (I do identify pressure as a thing and active thing-yes) sole initial purpose but somewhere in all the things that I see daily and don't really see, the pressure isn't really the thing I need to be focused on, more over its what I can make out of the pressure. So I wonder what pressures you are facing today? Pressures from work that trickle to home? Pressures from home that trickle to work? Pressures from outside beings that seem to trickle to every other part of your life? Maybe those pressures are designed to tear you apart, I know mine was and to some extent still is, but I think I have the passage way out of the pressure. Just change my focus, maybe you can too.