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Sunday, December 11, 2011

One For All & All for One

I love the Three Musketeers! Always have loved the story and the movies that were made about the book, but I'd have to say my favorite movie is the one with Kieffer Sutherland, Oliver Platte, Charlie Sheen, and Chris O'Donnell (probably the most recent movie of the musketeers - well up to the one they are releasing this winter).  And I love that no matter what, in whatever situation, one of these faithful friends will inevitably drag the others into a situation that would put them in danger or at a minimum in some sort of unhealthy event. Not to unlike my friendships and relationships, the rest of the musketeers would gather around the one unlucky man and help in anyway to defend him (well, either that or laugh at him in his misfortune).  Yet, it's unmistakable through the entire book and later movies, the commendatory and love that these men have for one another. The undying anthem of the Musketeers 'one for all and all for one' says much about their friendship than about their military commitment. Although the anthem was a portion of their military oath, the men became much more than that during their time serving side by side. Each became the other's friend, confidant, supporter, and each held an willingness to die for one another...one for all and all for one.

An unlikely thing came up this morning, well besides my odd title, I opened 1 of my 2 books and read the 1st chapter in my "Friendship" book. I believe now that this has been poking at me for a while to open it and read it and as I am resistant, I denied that poking this week. I did, however, read one chapter in my "Angel Horses" book and that chapter, as I am finding with most of them in the book, are on friendship, the most unlikely friendships actually. It should surprise me anymore and yet it still does, that when 2 somethings are provided they will inevitably fall together and then somewhere in my miscellaneous life, there will be a 3rd thing that will draw them to a fine circle. That has happened this week even though I  resisted the connection and reading this morning pulled the drawstring to the connection. What was the connection? In a nutshell-pictures, reading, and scripture. Eccl 4:9-10 "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up." Ok so I'll go backwards, I think the connection is much more easily found this way. I read this scripture this morning, actually I have read it many, many times although honestly I had no idea where it fell in the Bible. But reading it this morning, I felt the strings of my heart pull together on the resisted connection. Over the past week, I read about 2 ponies, 1 to big to be considered a miniature horse and 1 unable to defend herself and due to a deformity unable to manage life alone. The 2 an unlikely couple ended up in the hands of a foundation to help children but they could never be adopted to a family. The foundation used the pair to teach young children how to accept one another no matter what, that the heart should lead not the eyes. The couple lived with the foundation manager for many years before the unhealthy pony died not long after the larger pony died too. The writer said it was due to a broken heart, that the pony just did not know how to live without taking care of her lifelong friend. The picture is perfect if you see it in your heart a friendship of love not of sight. I saw pictures this week of my son and his best friend Thad being played on our stand and thought of their friendship, this all prior to my stories and final scripture connection. I thought of how they were actually one friend no matter what, and as one they would never go without the other to a place of uncertainty. I saw pictures this week of friends, our friends, laughing and hugging, living the past weekend in joy, and thought, they would never let me go into a place of uncertainty alone, not unlike our sons.  The connection should be complete for you, altho for me it was backwards and took a week to draw together, I hope you see there is a connection of love from the point of the scripture to the pictures.
You don't have to look as far as you think, we just have to give in and see with our hearts. For each of us, I believe God put friendship in us. How? He gave us the ultimate friendship "one for all". The connection and drawstring were always there, I just chose to miss it, I hope you don't.

Monday, November 14, 2011

You've Gotta Friend in Me!

Who can resist Buzz and Woody? If there was ever an unlikely friendship this is one of them. Even though we know from the beginning of Toy Story that eventually Woody and Buzz would be more than just friends, the story is one that many of us can relate to, whether adult or child. My husband loves this movie and for years when he was working shift work he'd watch it and then rewind it to have me watch certain parts of the movie to figure out if I saw what he saw. Most of the time he'd have to point out the little things that he was looking for like the toolbox that says 'Binford Tools'. I think he could still watch his movie and find little things that I missed and he would still ravel in the thought of showing them to me and asking me to guess what he found.

Friendship is a funny thing, most of the time we are not 'looking' or 'seeking' friendship it just happens. Usually we find it in the most unlikely people too, wouldn't you agree? This morning I opened a gift that I received in the mail yesterday (ok actually Saturday but we didn't check the mail). It is a book on friendship from a very close friend who is very far away. I haven't read much, actually just the Foreward and in it a cord was stuck, on of almost familiarity. I couldn't remember where so I opened my other book and read where it was marked. The question at the end of the short story "What does the friendship of horses show about the value of loyalty?" Funny how I haven't read from my Angel Horses book in almost a week and the first thing I read this morning is on friendship, the two connected immediately. Horses, for those of you who may not know, remember everyone they meet by scent. They blow in your face and you blow in their face and they remember you, not unlike a friend that you may not see for many years or talk to for weeks on end. Proverbs 27:9 says "Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart and the pleasantness of one's friendship springs from his earnest counsel.'  The Message Bible translates it like this Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul." There is a sense of strong friendship throughout the Bible in many ways, in words describing a true friend who gives joy and good counsel, to the friendship of God with man. Exodus 33:11 "God would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend..." I find it interesting the way friendship is described in this verse, the way that a man speaks to his friend, to me it shows that God loved Moses like a friend more than a messenger. And throughout the New Testament, there are instances where God 'shows up' for His friends in the most unlikely ways, at the most dark times of their lives, like many of my friends have for me.

I have many friends, friends who I've known for 20+ years and friends who I've met within the last few months. Friends who when I was the meanest I could be, would support my meanness and make me laugh about it. Friends who stood behind me when I was getting myself in a heap of trouble. Friends who laughed at me and with me when I did (and still do) something stupid. Friends who came at a moments notice without any question or delay when I was at my lowest.Friends who are both noisy and quiet and friends who are loyal even when I probably don't deserve it. Friends who were and are more than friends. Friends who are, without a doubt, sent by God. I have many friends, and all look like this picture (no not just the horse) but the picture of friendship, real friendship, no matter what, no matter where friendship.I hope that I am this kind of friend, the kind that would be whenever and wherever the kind that is just like this picture. One who would kiss you no matter what was going on, one that would check on you with a hug just to make sure you're still there, the kind of friend that all of you have been for me. The kind of friend that God wants me to be, the kind of friend that He has been and is still even though I don't know it, the kind of friend who talks to you, listens to you, hears you, and sometimes just stands around. I hope the kind of friend that says, You've got a friend in me!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Audacity!

Yep! I bet that got your attention didn't it? And I'm betting (only because I am a betting woman) that you, my 1 or 2 readers, think that I am very mad - or at least that's what I would induce from the other side of the screen; especially with a title like such as this!!! Well you would be wrong .... well and a little right. I have for some time now been a miffed - not at someone but at people in general. Why? Well, I'm mostly tired of hearing about how I should dress, what I should look like, how I should act, and all of that wrapped up in being a good mom, a happy and fulfilling wife, and somewhere in the middle try to figure out time for just being me. So miffed I am and the title, well I believe you will agree with me, even those of you who may be men.

After stewing, like I do so proficiently, over this miffing issue, I read something this morning that made me think "you know what, I know exactly what that's like!" What did I read, well okay so it was Esther, and I probably should have gone on with my study but I have to say this portion hit the nail on the head. Esther, for those of you who may not know, is a Jewish woman who was "picked" by the Persian King to be his new wife (literally picked); who found herself in a position to request the King a favor. Not to over exaggerated huh? Well, then I read on...Esther by far is the Queen, the queen of manipulation!!! Ahhh, the glory of it all, to find a woman in the Bible who is gracious, kind, obedient, and most of all anipulative...albeit through the grace of God. And I know some of you are saying "what ever! And what in the world does this have to do with your title!?" Well here it is. How many of us watch TV? Well, I'd gather to say everyone of us. And how many of us watch "What not to Where?" How about all the talk shows that have fashion designers on it that re-do a mom? How many of us say "wow that's really nice how she looks" but not one of us would be caught dead in the outfit let alone PAY for the outfit? And what in the world are 'mom jeans'? How in the world did we go from just blue jeans to 'mom jeans'? Anyone? Any ideas? Anyone catching on? The audacity of a man, yep that's right 90% of the people who 're-do' a mom or a woman are men, my guess probably the same men who designed bras! Yes, I so went there!!!!! So can anyone reading this answer what are 'mom jeans'? I'm guessing no. There are no ads that say "Mom Jeans, just for the mom you want to be!" There's not a section in the stores that say "Mom Jean Section". So what are they? And who came up with them? And why my title?

Esther was in a situation where she had to decide between herself and her heritage; between her life and the lives of thousands. And to make that decision, she used the one thing she had, her looks. Her husband's new best friend had just decided and convinced the King to kill thousands of Jews, and she had to change his mind. The author of the study said something intriguing, she made the King jealous by inviting him and his best bud to 2 banquets. She didn't ask for the King's attention alone, she made no intent to have him at a banquet designed just for him, she invited his best friend along. Ahhh, the audacity! The conniving, over-thinking, audacity of a woman who needs to get her way and the way she did it was brilliant! Make her husband jealous. For those of us who have read Esther, we know that the King granted her request to save her heritage (and herself not to mention), for those of you who haven't read it, Esther had God on her side. So how does Esther's situation relate to my title and obvious ranting above? We, all we's out there, are being swayed (made jealous in essence) daily to change and hide who we really are, who we are meant to be, and what we look like being who we are so much so that 'we' get lost; we become jealous of what one woman looks like because she may not be wearing 'mom jeans'. Just like Esther, who got lost in her pampering, clothing, and royalty, are we getting lost in the jealousy of not looking and being a mom??!!! Yet here we are, most of us moms by this point in our lives, the rest of us thinking about being moms, and all the while being told we can't look like a mom. Don't wear those jeans! Their 'mom jeans'!!!! The last time I checked and took inventory, I was a mom. A mom of 3 beautiful children, a mom to more than just them but to children I never thought I would be a mom too, a mom who is a daughter to a mom, a friend to moms all over the country and world, a sister to a mom, an aunt to a first time mom, a sister-in-law to a mom by default, and a daughter-in-law to a mom who raised a wonderful son to the man I love. That's a whole lot of mom to hide. A mom who doesn't know what 'mom jeans' are, a mom who doesn't wear the right things, a mom who is just that a mom. Probably just like you. Maybe the audacity should be laid with me, I have more audacity to put this out there than I probably should. I have more audacity to say whatever I want mostly because this is a blog, then I probably should allow to come out of my brain, and yet here it is....audacity. Audacity to want to tell designers to 'shut up' because I'm betting they wouldn't want to see their moms dressed in non-mom jeans! Oh the audacity to make me (and us) something we are not, hide the one thing that defines me (us) most, being a mom. I believe that no matter what pair of jeans I put on their going to be 'mom jeans' because the I am wearing them and I'm a mom.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Week and the Weak

I received a book last weekend from my very dear friend Penny, one of inspiration, one from a horses point of view, and I thought, last weekend, I would draw from this book and write here, that didn't happen this past week. The week was, well lets just say slow to start, with a breakdown and then long to the middle where the day didn't end, and then finally an end to an end. The week that just kept going. Those weeks are usually ones that lead up to an event that I have looked forward to for some time but not this past week. All this past week held for me was moment after moment of weakness, not a week I was looking forward to in the least.

So at some point I picked up the book I received and began reading. The beginning, introduction, read like a dance between a person and horse, the interchange or possibilities, the promise of kindness, and the acceptance of a herd. Odd, I know, especially to those of you who are not horse people. As I read the first story Emily's Song,  I was touched by the thought of a little girl who was abused her entire life and then, without warning or understanding, found herself at a petting farm, in the stall of an abused pony who was not so much nice anymore, lying at his feet, singing to him. Ponies, for those of you who do not know, can be some of the meanest little horses around. Mostly by nature and mostly because people find them easy to abuse, mostly because of their size. Most of the ponies I read about always lead me back to Merri-Legs (from Black Beauty), a story of abuse and dislike for ponies because of their size and ultimate temperament, as with the pony in this story. Only this pony, at one point in his life, was loved by a child - and the singing of and abused little girl brought him back to that memory of love, and he stood, tentatively over her, watching and listening to her sing as she lay at his feet. The story does not talk of future encounters between the two, only that Emily asked her foster parents to go back to the farm, it does not talk of the old pony, who stood quietly as a child lay at his feet, it leaves you to imagine what happened.  And so I did. There is a story of a man who gave all his loyalty and heart to a king, a king that was jealous of him and so he decided to have him killed. The man ran and took refuge in the lands of his enemies, in caves alone, and he was allowed many times to kill the king and did not for he loved him at one time. Many times through this story, the man named David, cried out to God to make his broken heart heal, to give him peace in his time of grieving, to change the king's heart. That never happens, not really. But in all his cries, he writes this Psalms 147:3 "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." I don't believe that we are ever really healed, not the way that we think or understand. David's healing came in a different way, altho he never really lost his love for Saul his king, not deep down in his soul.  The same is true for the pony in my book, he loved his child, the one he grew up with, the one that loved and cared for him. The one that no matter what would talk to him on sunny days and brush his mane until it was silky. But the child, like most, grew up and went away and all that was left was an adult who didn't love the pony. A human who didn't care for him, a human who broke the pony's heart and the pony in turn became mean. In his mind, there would be no human who could show him love, none that would be nice and not try to hurt him. His heart was broken to humans and there was no healing it, and that's what his owners/rescuers believed. Who knew that a little girl, who didn't speak, who be the one who offered healing to the pony's heart. I imagine that the girl went back as often as she could to sing to the pony, and in those time of lying on the stall floor under his feet, his broken heart was healed. And for Emily, those times of lying on the ground singing to a pony who could with no thought hurt her with his hooves, she found a friend who would listen and her broken heart and life was healed.

I have no doubt that the wounds that these two characters in my story were bound but there were scares left, ones that remained throughout their life, ones that each saw in the other. Horses for me have held the same kind of healing, a healing that forces me to aware and vulnerable at the same time.  "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. " He has done that for me in a mare that yesterday showed me that I was, without a doubt, hers. He is healing me in ways that I never would have thought, through a horse.

There are ways in this life that healing happens the without us even knowing it happens. One day our heart is so broken that we can't move, can't see the next moment, and we are weak beyond thought. I had five of those days this past week, moments of weakness so great that I didn't think I'd get through them. And every day, I'd go out and feed the horses, and everyday, they, all three of them, would knicker to me. And I know for food that was their calling, but yesterday, I had each call without food being offered, each came to me without being given anything, and each showed me that I am part of their herd. A healing I didn't see or expect.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Something Missed

Don't you hate it when you're watching a good movie or TV show and you glance away for a millisecond and something happens on the show that is not words but something you have to see to understand. And for 10 minutes you're asking "what'd I miss?" And no matter how many of your friends and family tell you what happened its never the same as seeing it for the first time. It sometimes comes close but never is it exactly right. I missed something this weekend, something that was needed, for lack of a better term something almost required. Why did I miss this something? Mostly because I'm stubborn and bullheaded and tried to work through an injury without going to the doctor. Not unlike many of you, I'm guessing, I have had injuries due to my life-long handling and dealing with horses but in most cases the injury heals itself and within a couple weeks I'm as good as new. On rare occasions, and I mean very rare, I get hurt and its elongated and doesn't heal with constant movement and working through it, this was and still is one of those times.

So, what did I miss? A hike and camping weekend at Grandfather Mountain. Seems menial when you read it doesn't it? And if I gave you facts like, the hike to the first campsite (on either side of Grandfather Mtn) is 2 miles with packs, you'd probably think "we'll that's nothing to miss". But what if the hike is not what I missed? I mean that's what I typed, that's what was going on, a 2 miles (that turned into a 3 mile) hike to a campsite, a windy hike to the peak of Grandfather and a long packing hike down, all in 2 days. Sounds exactly like what I missed....or was it? Maybe some background is needed. There was a group of friends who started a Venture Crew in Raeford, they were led by a married couple who was strong and directed to help these friends begin an adventure. One of the requirements for Venture Crewing, is the kids have to come up with, plan and make happen an adventure. Around 2 years or so ago, the crew started doing these adventures, I was blessed to take part in 2 of them. The one that I missed was their trip to Grandfather Mtn.  This crew of friends, as you may gather, included Kaleb and Thad. Last fall, as a memory trip, the group of us, family and friends, took the trip to Grandfather Mtn, only on the Daniel Boone side of Grandfather (the opposite side the crew camped on). This year, the plan was to take the trip on Profile the same trip that the crew took 2 years ago. I didn't go due to the injury, and last night for the first time really in 3 days, I got to talk to Penny. She expressed deeply she wished I was able to have gone, she likened the trip to none-less then a break through, and this is how she explained it.  "The trip was difficult, its very strenuous and the climb up was rocky and hard to maneuver. But the  trip down, was painful. Its extremely steep and the trek was focused only on getting from point A to point B while carrying a heavy weight. It was a break through for me because it was like what we have been going through the past year." She said I could be wordy and use this, and I hadn't planned on using it until this morning when I realize I had missed something. She likened the trip to our journey through the pain of loosing our sons, the strenuous trip of struggle going thru the Saturday we spent together at Cape Fear was pain that we didn't even know was going to become more painful than we had even begun to imagine. The days, months and years that have followed have been that treacherous downhill trip full of unforgiving pain, carrying a heavy weight, and the parking lot is far from in sight, even now.

When I realized this morning what I had missed, crying ensued (mostly because of what I missed and partially because of the steroids I'm on) and I turned to a most unlikely place for me, a devotional. Its funny to me how when I most need to hear something I most don't want it said. The devotional was short and talked of a journey today that was an obstacle in my way that I would be looking for a way around; at the end of the devotional was a scripture (as with every day), so I turned to that reading and found something else. Isaiah 35:8-10 "And a highway will be there, it will be called the Way of Holiness...no lion will be there, nor any ferocious beast will get on it, they will not be there. But only the redeemed will walk there and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion singing, everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away."  How I can not wait for that time of gladness and joy to return and to be overtaken by them. How I long for the sorry and sighing of this life to flee away. How long will that time be before it comes to pass?

There is nothing unusual or different about Isaiah from that trip that Penny and the family took this weekend, only the words would read like this: There is a mountainous trail, one that those who endure pain and suffering travel. And their footsteps are not clear and easy, the steps are difficult and some hidden. They dodge the ever so ferocious beasts that travels their trail and hides obstacles in their way. Tho the trail is difficult and painful, their feet are steady, their laughter returns and fills the air, their joy of memories and longing for peace fill the spaces as they trek to the next ridge. On the trail they have found that their feet are not their own, that the Lord has made their feet unwavering, that He has gone before them to move the beast from their path and He will lead them home. When I listened to Penny talk me through the experience I was glad to hear her words. Even though I missed the same things that Kaleb had experienced that weekend 2 yrs ago, and even more so, the break through of feeling as tho, eventually, the downhill trek will become easier and there is, just around the switchback, a plateau of leveling along the ridge. There have been those ridge walks, some longer than others and some to short to even realize that there was a ridge, but they have been there. But I missed the likening, the time to walk where the boys had walked, the knowing that eventually there is an end and a parking lot where I will get to go home.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Daughters

I am doing a study on Esther and throughout it (altho only 3 weeks now) I have learned and reflected on the craziness of being a girl. Lets face facts, most girls are maniacal, self-centered, self-driven, and petty towards each other. In high school, its all out for yourself, no matter who it is and where the cards fall, its all about making yourself the 'bigger' person. Girls, by far, are the first to cut a friend down, whether in front of that friend or behind their back. Girls start rumors about girls whom they are jealous of and for the most part girls are just mean. (That is the focus of our study this week, meanness.)  Girls are so mean that there are movies about mean girls, movies about mean boys who are not mean on their own but driven by a mean girl, media stories about women who are so mean that they make men do their mean things for them and let the men take the proverbial fall.  Everywhere you listen and look, girls are mean in this world.

It's amazing to me that I have 2 daughters who are so close to each other and so different from one another too. They are like beans and peas in a pod! The connection between my girls, well it's not unlike that of best friends who are stuck together at the hip forever, do everything, have their own language, and can look at each other and know without a doubt and without words that the other knows exactly what is being thought. They support each other in just about everything, encourage each other in all things, and, even in those moments of annoyance, they still believe in each other with all of their hearts. Jennifer, our oldest, is so nice that even when she wants to be mean, she just isn't - her temperament is that of a passive heart - if something bothers her in one way or another she will take it to God and work through it on her own or write you a letter to let you know that in the end she was just having a bad day.  Sydney, our youngest, is sweet and mild mannered and yet has a sarcastic streak about her that is jokingly funny and hintingly hurtful. Although she says things in the moment, she never really means them and in truth I believe she has a "class clown" heart - she is truly heartbroken over the smallest things and doesn't know why people are mean when they shouldn't be. She will be the first to say she's sorry over a small misunderstanding and the first to cry over a big misunderstanding.  My girls, a pea and a bean living in a pod together. They understand each other better than anyone and will say whatever comes to mind to the other without regard for a 'filter'.  Neither are mean at heart and I see them growing away from those that are mean and yet they don't run from them; they are not afraid of those that are mean but do not retaliate mean for mean.

So why are girls so mean? And why does the world/media make girls the meany? Well I don't know - but I know what girls look at - they look at the outer being, the one that says 'look at me'. Girls see the thing that draws their jealous heart to the surface, the thing that is usually hidden from sight. 1 Peter 3:4 "...it should be of that inner self, the unfading beauty of gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight."  I see this inner self in my girls and I'm sure others do too, altho they may not now what it is or what draws them, that is it. An inner self that is for all purposes a quiet and gentle person who has great friends and is kind to those who are not their friends. An inner self that tells all "I am me, that is all I can be, like me or not". I have 2 daughters who could be mean, both are popular in their own way at school and with their crowd, both are without a doubt able to use cutting words to strike at one another, and yet neither are mean at heart. Both are able to smile at the stupid stuff and make people smile when they least want to; both are the unfading beauty that neither see.

Daughters. Growing daughters to beautiful women, how the time passes so quickly. From giggling girls playing hopscotch to teenagers wearing make-up to fit in, to young adults knowing who they are without make-up and without trying to fit in....daughters.  My hope is that in all things they keep their inner beauty, that they keep their sense of humor and yet hold a gentleness that is unmistakable and unhidden.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Write Something

I know what a stupid title huh?! Write something, that's what I came up with - wow the genius!!! But sometimes 'something' is just the thing to write, or sometimes 'nothing' is just the thing to write. And as always, if you don't have something good to say don't say anything at all...right? Well, I disagree; sometimes saying even the not so good things is the something to say.

So now I have the blank page in front of me and I have no idea what it is that I'm suppose to be writing here, so I decided to just start typing. Believe it or not, this is exactly how I started blogging....just typing, with no real purpose. I believe somewhere in this jumbled up mind of mine there is a title to this writing, although right now it is not for any reason being allowed out through my fingers. It is almost as though there is a basket of fruit in my head and none of the fruit matches.  Ha! Now you have to admit that's funny when you think about it, especially from a woman's point of view. I'm sure that most of the women that I know are multi-takers, take on way to much at one time and somehow in the midst of chaos, we seem to get everything we started finished (albeit a month down the road-it's still completed!).  So there it is, something to write about... a fruit basket! (I bet you didn't see that coming!) So, 'what's in your fruit basket?'


I do, as you do too, have a fruit basket of chaos in my head....most of us, willing to admit it or not, do. My basket, well it's been full of things not to productive and more distracting than fulfilling and goal oriented as of late. Its funny how something takes hold and before long I have a plethora of issues controlling my days and nights. This usually happens when I least need it and somewhere along the way I find that more unwanted fruit make it into my basket. One bad apple can ruin the whole bunch! Well, of all the sayings that I steal, I'd have to say this one is true. One bad apple has not only ruined the bunch but created more bad fruit to go along with it! I wonder most days how to battle keeping the bad things that run through my head at bay, how to make them less part of my thinking and I have yet to find an answer. I have yet to get to a place where, when I need something the most, that thing is not provided. When I want to hear something the most, I never really get to hear it. And in times like this, I usually find that I am more apt to dwell on what I need as opposed to what is needed. What do I dwell on? Well, right now its the needs to feel care for, not in the 'take care of me' sense, but the 'are you ok' sense. Does that make sense? And along with that need I have found that there are lots of times in the past when I have met those needs for others and the same has not been returned. The problem with my dwelling here for too long is during this time, those moments of need dredge  up all the other moments that were not provided. Come on! You know exactly what I'm talking about! Women especially, I believe without a shadow of a doubt that we have a memory like an elephant and when one thing sets us off, its not to far off that we will find a connection to a past thing that relates. Almost comforts and confirms the one thing that we least of all need confirming.

So here I am, this basket full of fruit jumbling around in my life and none of it worth eating or sharing. And I wonder, if this is it? If this is what I'm going to deal with for a long time until I can get out of the hole that I am in? Is this the battle that I am stuck in until somewhere in the future a trap door will open and all that bad fruit will just roll out? I highly doubt that will happen but I chose to live with this bad fruit basket or I can chose to have a different one. Gal 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." There's a basket of fruit I'd love to have! One that has no law, unlike the basket that I'm dealing with now. I read this today looking for a scripture about peace, this is not what I was looking for! The need for care is something that I miss now and missed growing up. I have always been hard-headed and it has made for me to be something that I'm not...strong.  And in the life that I created, due to circumstances and situations, I have put myself in a position where I show no need for care. I know that in my head but my heart still says that I need it.  So how do I get this basket of fruit, one that will give to others as opposed to giving to myself? I have no idea! But, somewhere in my body dwells the Holy Spirit, I don't know where He is right now, and I am having trouble finding Him, hearing Him, feeling Him, but He's there....albeit somewhere. And with Him there is a place that can take care of all the needs that I have and someday I'll get to find it, someday I'll get to open the trap door and dump all this bad fruit out and be filled up with the fruit that Galatians 5:22 refers too. But, until then, I have to persevere through this storm of bad moments, press through to a place where I don't have a need to feel cared for by a law but a fulfilling of being cared for  and loved because I am.

Write something but what? Maybe the things that are holding me back from Him are the things that I've let myself believe I need from this life. Maybe the things of this life are just that, things. Maybe what I need is something from a place where I refuse to go as oppose to having a problem finding. I don't know the answers but I know that somewhere along the way through this journey of non-stop depression and piling on bad fruit, there is an end. And end with out a law that says 'this is what you need' but an end that writes this on my heart 'I am what you need, I will give you love, joy and peace, I am the goodness and faithfulness that you look for, and I will take care of all your needs.'

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Seeing is Believing

I have always heard and on some part believed that seeing is believing, haven't you? I mean we go through life asking for proof of things from basically everyone; everyone from scientist, to theologists, to friends and family members who we offer our trust.  Seeing is believing, wouldn't you agree? But is believing seeing? There's a question for you! Is believing seeing? I don't believe so or at least not on all levels, because I have seen something and still do not believe. I saw people who were much older than me (when I was much, much younger) be calm and collected with dealing with a temperamental horse - when I would have (and still might) become more forceful than necessary to get the point across. Mind you not to a point of abusing but probably from an outside look at the brink of abuse.  And in the back of my mind I could hear myself say "you aren't getting anywhere" and within a time frame of a minutes maybe and hour the horse would give and settle. And yet I didn't believe.  So seeing is not always believing, even though that is the thing that should say more than any other thing about proof. I would tell you today that if I had seen it I would have believed it but from just one example in my past, that statement would be a lie.  I would bet to say that the same is true for you. And I would say that seeing should make a believer, in whatever it is, for each and everyone of us. But if that were true, then when I stand at the cemetery and look at two headstones with the names of my son and his best friend, I would believe that they really are no longer here. I would believe that this is real and I'm not going to wake up and find out that this is all a dream (not unlike the phenomenal end to the TV show Dallas some 20+yrs ago [sorry if that does not ring bells with you]). Is seeing believing? I would say no, not on any level is seeing believing and the same is true for the flip of that statement. And yet they are used in every sense of life, every way we handle our every day life.

It is not secret not even a little one that I am in a struggle with believing, believing in purpose, believing in faith, believing in the word of God, and simply believing that things will eventually get better.  It is obvious to you now why that is not a secret. The struggle that I am dealing with spiritually, in every day, has been bled in every aspect of this blog, and I have used this blog to express that struggle and the hope that I try to cling. So how do I believe without seeing? I think this is the question that needs answering because seeing is believing is not working.  How do I get to the place where I can believe without seeing? How can I get through this struggle and onto a place of true healing, not forgetting, true comfort and peace, without loosing that part of my life? Simply....by faith. Which is easier said than done; faith is the impediment of believing is not seeing. John 20:29 "Then Jesus said to them 'Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed'." Seeing is not always believing, thats what this statement is saying, that just because you see doesn't always mean you believe. I mean in essence that's what Jesus said, right? Maybe not exactly in those words but I wonder if because I didn't back read or forward read to this scripture (by the way thank you ex-brother-in-law Mike for the location) what was happening when Jesus said this to the disciples? I know that throughout the scriptures the disciples with Jesus didn't always believe what he was saying. I wonder if they often didn't believe His words. (I know "good night she went there!") But lets face facts, the most believing moments in the disciples time with Jesus was when he was doing miracles, right? When He was doing something amazing - and my guess, which is just that a guess, is that when He was just being Him and telling them things they were probably like "yea right?" (Ok so not in those terms.) But don't you just wonder why Jesus had to say this to the disciples? Why did He use this statement? I don't know I'm sure He had some reason, some purpose, something in mind and probably more intense than what I read.

So is seeing believing? I don't think so. Do I believe everything that I see? No, still don't believe that I stand at a plot and see the names Kaleb Lee Valliant and Thadius Ian Markle and believe that this place that we are in and this time we are going through is real. But do I want to believe that somewhere, in some future time, believing is not seeing and that its ok to struggle and question, doubt and be angry, and sometime out there He knows that my faith is based solely on believing, thats all. Seeing is not believing, that is more true than the standard version. Seeing is not believing no matter which way you cut it. I read John 20:29 like this - I know that you know Me and that times you do not believe, but I know your heart and that you believe and are blessed even when you don't want see and still believe. Doesn't that make much more sense? I think so.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Same Ole Thing

I don't know if you read daily devotionals but for your reference I do - well sometimes I do. This morning I found a devotional that I had read a couple times in the past and just on a fluke, literally, read it. I have to say that usually I was more driven by the words of this particular devotional and today I found the words of the writer to be typical. I know what is typical? Well for many of you who may read this, I am a new believer in the grand scope of believers and in devotionals that I come across online or through books or wherever, there seems to be a typical theme.  This theme from the devotional this morning reads like most things that used to avert me to believers. What is that? Well, their struggles with being a Christian, their struggles with growth in anything, their struggles with Christ and running away from God. And, more often then not, the theme is presented by women (sorry sexist I know).  And I am probably allowing the "enemy" to play with my words and drive my fingers, or at least that is what some may think, but I don't believe so. I would love to read a devotional from someone who is admittedly a sinner, not someone who started their Christian life in a Christian home, moved through school with a Christian basis, and then went to college and ta-da their eyes were opened to the life of deceipt, lying, etc, etc, etc.

So what am I saying? Well I hope that somewhere I get to figure that out (haha - I bet you weren't ready for that!). What am I saying? Am I just lunging out at life-long Christians? And if I am I must be jealous of their life and history? Jealous of the fact that from my perspective they haven't really had trials and tribulations, so why are they so distraught? Yep! It sounds like I'm jealous! Whew, boy am I glad thats's out. I hope that jealousy is not the root of my writing today, I don't think it is or at least I hope it isn't.

The devotional this morning did strike me the wrong way, I was being lazy and decided to go somewhere else besides my regular Facebook page and so to some degree I'm sure that my mind and spirit are in a little bit of a heated battle. But I was looking for something when I went there, maybe a glimmer of peace, or a direction of hope and I didn't find that, not at all. What I found, yet again, was the same ole thing. The same temper of writing, the same message of writing, and the same result, the co-writing of a song or book. What is that? Is every Christian who goes through a Christ struggle instantly promoted to song writer or author? See, the same ole thing. It's almost as though these women who write on this particular devotion aren't really in reality. So what am I looking for?  Well in all honesty....the truth.

2 John 1:1-3 "To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth - and not I only, but also all who knows the truth - because the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever. Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father's Son, will be with us in truth and love." There it is the truth I mean. Right there, right in the letters from, ok I don't know who, but at least in our Bible.  Do you see it?  The devotional(s) that I read this morning spoke of a woman, raised as a Christian and how she was a great Christian in her life until she went to college and then, literally, all hell broke loose. What happened? She ran from the truth; hid (as if) from God; found refuge in lies; and in the end (as always) she was quickened (or pursued) by God and redeemed. See the same ole thing! What I, a new believer, am having struggles with is, if this short scripture says "the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever" then how can a Christian, long seeded in Christ run  from Him - because He is the Truth?

There is not doubt, not now anyway, that I am somewhat jealous of these women who are Christians who in my belief have not moved through true struggles. I am jealous that in all that they live they believe the worst struggle they have gone through is living in a world of lies and deception that they allowed to overtake their Christian beliefs. I am on one level very jealous for not living in that life and yet more than not, I feel pity for these women. Why? Because on some level, they will never know what it is like to be truly separated from Christ, on some level they believe that they were truly separated from Him (see this is the true enemy's work-deception of distance).  When I hear or meet of this type of person, man or woman, I feel as tho I have nothing to bring to a conversation. Lets face facts, they are usually the first ones to tell you of their struggles. As a new believer, a struggling seeker, and a true sinner who struggles with Christ daily, I want to read a devotional from a woman who says "Look! I am a sinner, I am truly struggling with my connection with God and guess what? He knows it and He still loves me and is just waiting for me to go through this time no matter how long it takes." Don't you? Wouldn't it be a breath of fresh air to read what a struggling, deep seeded Christian actually feels? And, in the midst of all their hurt and struggles, they say "it doesn't matter what struggles you are going through, it doesn't matter how far from God you think you are, because if you are a believer then the truth, lives in us and will be with us forever!"

Well I'm not much of a speaker, I am a runner (always have been), and I'm not a deep seeded Christian. But I can tell you that I deal with struggle every day, a deep seeded struggle to believe that God, the creator of all good could set my life in a motion of fear and anger so deep, that even I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, and still I know, from knowledge, that He is good. That He is, somehow, some way, in control, and that He is the truth that lives in me and is forever with me....especially when now, when I am jealous, angry, heartbroken, and lost, He is forever with me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Deep in the....... Pedigree

More than just an odd title, I know and probably more than just a title in and of itself. I lead with "Deep in the"  followed by a series of "....." why? Well maybe to give you the thought that there is more than just "Pedigree" hidden in the title and well, lets face it, maybe not. I did in all honesty steal this title in part from a blog I am attracted to, one about horses.  I have fallen, unfortunately, in love with most of this author's writings; the way he identifies the love of the horses he writes about mostly because of their individual beauty that can carry from one generation to another. That's the truth about the blog.  What I don't believe he knows is that hidden in some of his writings I have found more than a connection of words.

The title where I stole my words is fully "True Beauty Lies Deep in the Pedigree", and for those of us who are horse people, true horse people, this statement is very true.We don't just see a horse when we meet a new one, we ask for their lines, their heritage.We want to know about the horses past, his or her ancestors. Why? Mostly because that history tells us more about the horse then the horse does about itself.  Believe it or not, we do this with people too. Go ahead try to have a friend and not know about their family current and historic, I'm gussing that's not an easy thing to accomplish. I probably know more about my friends families then I want or need too! So we search the horse, finding out who that animal should be, not what they are, we dig to find a historic pattern to the horse, despite all of the things the animal may be at that moment. We strip away all the distorted items and problems and get to the animal's basic core, the way they were designed from history, deep in the pedigree.
The theft of this partial title stems to a set of scriptures that I love, one set that I could read a hundred times and, from recollection, don't remember these few words:  Eph 3:16-19 "\I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being. So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Saints, to grasp how wide and how long and how high and how deep is the love of Christ. and to know this love-that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." I know these two seemingly odd things do not go together! They seem farther apart then anything I have put together before, or are they. These few scriptures seem to strip away the person that the writer is speaking to, the words don't go with the person's or persons' life at all I am guessing. (And yes, you can tell that I am far from a biblical scholar so guessing is the game.) But the author does not  say to the recipient, "don't be like this or that" "stop being what the circumstances have made you" and "I can't believe you are allowing the life you live to dictate who you are". And actually, I'm glad he doesn't say these things because that would immediately make the recipient throw away without reading the end of the long letter that makes up Ephesians.  What he does is looks past the person who is receiving the letter and goes deep within their history to find who they are in the core. The author looks at the deep rooted, inner being, not the flesh picture of the person receiving his letter, similar to what horse people do with a horse.

I believe somewhere in the mix of these two unlikely themes you see the point, far stretched as it may be, that I'm trying to find. The one that connects the two far fetched ideas and pulls them together and if you don't thats okay. Somewhere in the midst of the disconnected ideas is the point I'm trying to make and maybe thats not suppose to be the point that I need to make. But just like a horseman who looks at a horse and asks the owner for his life history and then his pedigree, I believe that God looks past the things that I am today. He looks deeper than what I am and what I have allowed the life I am in to make me and finds my true beauty deep in the pedigree (so to speak). And maybe I don't see it or know it and maybe I never will, mostly because it is much harder to find that in myself than in a horse, but that's okay. It is God who sees what lies deep, hidden in the lines that life has created, He, just like a horseman with a horse, knows that there is love, deep within, even if I can't see it.

I don't know if you are a horse person or if you can even relate to this similarity and it really doesn't matter. Mostly I hope that you see the connection between the two, an unlikely title that probably shouldn't end with "pedigree" and a scripture that looks farther than skin deep, both that look for the true beauty that lies deep in the heart.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Our Kind of Love

"Just like driving on an open highway, never knowing what we're gonna find, like two kids, baby, always trying to live it up...yeah thats our kind of love."

I looked up an old video that I love this morning and found some new ones - that I love just as much; they are without a doubt about endurance horseback riding. One that I found was put together to this song by Lady Antebellum and it is bits and pieces of rides from here to there by someone who may not even do endurance but its placed perfectly in order and ends with only hoof steps on pavement. What a way to love a 'thing'! What an ability to have a desire to be part of something that is more than anything else in my life! I have this ability to connect with horses, mostly because I love them and always have but also because as I've have aged (haha), I've learned to appreciate them as part of me. This song talks about a couple that is in love and going thru life without a care in the world and just taking every obstacle as it comes, just like we do in endurance.
I have in the past connected this blog with endurance riding, maybe because I connect best through the love that I have for my horses. And in the past, I have found a verse or words (usually from someone else) to describe my connection between endurance riding and my journey through the trials of the past year. But this morning, I am not finding that connection. Instead, I have found a new connection with the 2 or 3 links above, a new sort of way to see endurance. 
1Tim 6:11 "But you, man of God, flee from all of this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and patience."
I have fled from many things in my life in as many ways as possible from hiding inside of my head to ignoring those around me and everything in between but something tells me this is not the kind of fleeing that is being referenced here. What I did find throughout my life was an ability to escape from my life in sort of a fantasy world of my own on horses. And I was not patient, faithful or loving in any pursuit of riding. I was aggressive, active, demanding, requiring, and sometimes mean. Looking back at my life with horses, I see a life that is also similar to this verse. I have aged and have begun to see things that I missed in my past, like growth to faith, struggle to love, and weakness to patience and endurance. And I learned most of these things through a horse.
I am not currently riding, I had a plan and then let it slip away and haven't returned to it, but this morning, in light of new faith, I find that I really miss being inside of that partnership between me and my horse. Why? Because just like the song above, every time I ride it is an adventure on an open highway and everytime I learn and go a little more toward the ever so new person that I am starting to see. I will start this partnership once more very soon, moving along toward a goal that only I am aware of and one that my horse has to be free enough to take me on. A partnership that started in anxiousness, ability, control and determination that has now moved toward unity, patience, faith, and love. I don't know how God is navigating the exact way to your heart, but to mine He used and escape, in the form of an animal, that was as high spirited and anxious as I, and through her He pursued me. Through her He is bringing us full circle, from looking at to looking through, from being alone and with no purpose to being a partnership with more than one purpose. Endurance riding isn't for the faint at heart, the weak who think the horse can not handle the task, it is like faith, a direction built solely on one trusting another, with no hesitation and no looking back.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Change

Have you ever had a time when you were hungry for something and even tho you eat everything in your house, you are just not satified? So like most of us who are not wanting for food, I just move to the next item in the refrigerator or cabinet line and proceed to search for the thing that I am looking for, of which, I have no idea if I will find it or what 'it' may be.  I am in this way very much like my mother, not to mention other ways I'm sure family would like to point out, but this way seems to remind me of her the most.  Yesterday, and already this morning, I began eating like I was a famished child from Kenya and continued that way to eat until I went to bed, and still then looking for something to satisfy me. This morning I, although I haven't eaten anything yet, I did find something that doesn't satisfy me. I bought a new creamer for my coffee, something I thought might be a good change to my regular coffee (or as my friends would say a creamer for my coffee to be added to), and that's when it dawned on me. I'm not looking for a food to eat to satisfy me, I'm looking for something to comfort me. You see, today, I am branching out to a new job/career; a position I have absolutely no skill at and have never attempted. So, needless to say, I am anxious, nervous, and apprehensive, hence the non-stop looking for something to eat. In my little world of craziness, I have used food or lack of food to comfort or hide my actual emotions and when I have made it through the task or moment at hand, the need to fill that time with/without food subsides. So why food? Well for one, food doesn't have an opinion, ok that's 1, 2, and 3. Why now? Because I have been holding on to my position at Webb & Graves (my previous career and work place) for more than 7 months, and last week I was given an opportunity for change.
Gal 4:20 "how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you." I know, I know, I'm using this statement out of context and I'm sure that there is much more before and after this that I am not willing to read. Why? Because this statement, this verse says alot about me. I am sure this is one of the apostles or disciples writing to the Galatians that he is not with or close to, but this says something completely different to me. I have, for all intense purposes, been ignoring God for whatever reason I can really come up with at that particular moment. This statement says exactly why. I wish on some level that I was no longer here in this world, no longer dealing with the day to day agony of heartache, finances, problems, hurdles, you name it I wish it. And, on that same level, I feel as though if I could be with Him then my tone about Him and His plans would change, my heart would change; why? Because I am perplexed or even angry about the life that I have had to live. I'm sure you would have never of thought of this statement in that manner, you probably never even read this statement alone or separated out from its full context. And yet, this is how I feel.
Gal 4:20 "how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed aobut you."
Psl 51;12 "Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."
Ok why did I repeat Gal 4:20? Well because it was needed first and second because it is my situation in a different way. I am reluctant to change, well change in a major way. And now, in the wake of change starting today, I am wishing more and more that I could just stay home, keep with the part-time work I am doing at Webb & Graves and work on the side with catering. I'm sure without fail I will find some way to hid the way I am feeling and press thru this week, but I am anxious beyond means.
I had no intention of finding Psalms this morning, I wasn't looking for verse and I couldn't tell you which one I was looking for but I suppose this is the one that I most needed. I am finding at some level joy again, personal joy not His joy, and I most need that joy to continue. I was born with a stubborn attitude, probably for just like moments of this where I an reluctant to move forward, my stubborn streak takes over and pushes me through.  It is on some level the same with Christ, I hope anyway, He has a stubborn streak too. And somewhere in the midst of last week, I told God I think a couple of times, 'if this is the job you want me to have, then I'll wait for you to provide it' and He did, or at least I believe He did.
In some aspects of my life, I am still perplexed and anxious about the future, fearful and not ready by any means for the coming year. In some aspects of my life, I am ready to move forward but my feet like being propped up on the coffee table. In some aspects of my life, I laugh and really feel happy and yet there is a part of me hesitant to let joy return. I'm still hungry for something, and I still don't have a clue as to what it is, and I'll probably be eating today without thought and maybe this change will help restore some of the joy that I am missing, maybe its in His plan for me and I'm reluctant to move maybe I don't need to find that something to eat after all.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

One Family

I have this belief that I am part of a family, only the family is far away, mostly in N. Michigan, with bits and pieces scattered here and there. I have this idea that I am part of a family that I inherited when I married Lee, those members are also scattered here and there, mostly across the Mid-West and East coast. And these 2 families are large and everyone is part of everyone elses life in one way or another. They are vast and they have many miles between them but it never fails that when we go to N. Michigan or like this summer, the first time in 18 yrs, go to Kansas, it is as though there has never been a separation of time or space. Each fall into a routine and no one is left out of the family gathering of eating, playing, talking, or nothingness, the far off family becomes one again. Its always been that way, no matter if we are in Michigan with my family or Florida, Virginia, or Kansas with Lee's family, the moment we enter a home we are part of that unit, part of a family that just moves us in no matter how long we've been apart.
I have a connection to this group of people, people whom we have met throughout the years of living in North Carolina, a group of people that we are in no way related by blood or marriage to, we have no family connection with, and yet they are family. We go in and out of each other's homes as though we live in that home, we take and give without question or cause, and we tae over if there is a need. Most of us, in one way or another, have been transplanted here and we have a connection, a commonality that draws us to one another. For many of those family members it is our children, a common work place, a hobby that we love, or a familar personality, for whatever reason, we are family. And like a family, we love, cry, laugh, and eat together; we fight and forget; move forward and backward and never is there a difference in our connection-its still family. An unconventional family, one that no matter what happens, just like with our related family, we can go long terms without contact and when we meet up again, it is as though there was never a moment apart. A family that is just down the road and always ready and waiting.
I have a revelation of a family, I'm not sure why or where it came from, I'm not even going to attempt to relate to you how this revelation came about, yet I had a revelation of a family this past couple of days. I didn't see it at first and without a return to something I read sometime ago and love, I would never have seen the revelation. Without a little background, you won't see the revelation either. A couple of weeks ago I attended, for the first time in more than 6 month, church service with Jennifer. I entered and even though I was greeted by friends at the door, after that entrance it was as though I was a stranger in a group of people who were talking and hugging and all the things that seemed to be part of something else. I am by all means, shy really I am, I don't go out of my way to find someone to talk to and I'd rather stand alone in a corner un-noticed as opposed to interrupt a conversation between friends. I was for all purposes an outsider. I felt this non-purpose, non-connection and I feel it in a lot of places now, what connection do I have with people, how are those people going to relate to me and my family, what are we going to talk about. This all of this is part of a new life that I am trapped in and looking for a way out. I don't want to embrace the newness of this life that I am in, I don't want to go outside of this 'circle' of comfort that I have created and allowed to control my interactions. This resistance includes those whom I know but don't want to address willingly. This past week, once again, I attended morning service with Jennifer. Greeted as usual at the door from a few of those we have met over the past 4 years, I moved into the lobby area wondering when I would enter the worship center and go sit quietly awaiting things to begin, but then, out of nowhere, a friend that I haven't seen in more than 8 months, came up and hugged me and began talking to me. Then another, and another, and another, before I knew it, I was part of people who didn't ask me how we were doing but, in a difference, they asked when we were coming back, fully. Then on Monday morning, I received a facebook message from a friend whom I hadn't seen in well over a year, someone from church who all of a sudden, and out of nowhere, messaged me and we began talking long distance as though nothing had ever separated us. Although now, they are in St. Lucia and we are still here. This morning I have a revelation of a family, a family that I have not known for long, a family that is just as spread out here and there as my related family, a family that I didn't know or expect to know, and we are connected only by and through one thing, Christ. Eph 2: 12-13, 19 "..remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the common wealth of Isreal, and strangers to the covenants of promise...now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ...so then you are no longer stangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household."

I have a revelation of a family, a family that I don't need to know in any other way than that of Christ, a family that welcomes us back whenever we are ready with no question or condemnation. A revelation of a family that on some level I have missed desperately and long to re-unite with a feeling of comfort and love.  I am on some level excited and worried about returning to this family. Worried that in some way I am different than I was and worried that difference will show through my somewhat course exterior; excited because I know that Christ knows who I am and how I am now not like I once was and He doesn't care. I have a revelation of a family that is the same as the family of blood relatives and friends only this family is something that I don't have to work at, I just have to allow.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Cartoon Time

I love cartoons really I do, especially the cartoons that I grew up with;the likes of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Wile E Coyote, and the Road Runner. Don't get me wrong I love some of the new cartoons now and the ones that my kids grew up with too; but there's nothing like a good Bugs Bunny cartoon. So why cartoons? Well there was a radio talk show discussing the Supreme Courts decision on video game restrictions for minors, I know nothing to do with cartoons. Well nothing except that the Respondent used violent cartoons as an agrument and suddenly the talk show was on to Daffy Duck constantly getting shot by Elmer Fudd and the Coyote always being killed by his own recklessness and my mind was off and running! Come on you have to admit that when the Coyote's plan would literally blow up in his face and he would hold up his whatever sign, that was funny. And it never failed that just when Elmer Fudd had Bugs cornered Daffy would step in to help poor Elmer out....and always, Daffy received the short straw but Bugs' cunning play on words and Daffy would end up getting the business end of Elmer's shotgun.... Classic!
But why cartoons? Or more to the point why these cartoons? When I listened to the radio show and their argument on violence I agreed but then somewhere in the back of my mind, somewhere other than in the conversation at hand, I heard something else. I grew up, as I'm sure you did, with cartoons that made light of death; and in reality as a grown up I've noticed that almost all cartoons make light of death or risky actions that cartoon characters take is pronounced in funny antics. I don't know how I knew that cartoons were just cartoons, or that when someone actually died they actually died, I'm guessing it was at a very young age because I've always seemed to understand death as real. Death was an end an absolute finish to life, something that would stop your progress. You have to also understand that I didn't believe in God and sometime prior to that in my 20s and 30s I believed in reincarnation - probably fueled by the cartoons (heehee). So death was an absolute end, the ultimate end. What's also amazing is that without even knowing it, at some subconscience level, those same cartoons hold a key, a key that even you probably don't see. I know its one that I didn't see, one that I would have never connected, one that doesn't even seem logical - not really. ....
Yep, I'm stuck, really I am - I have no idea how to make this connection but when I do you'll see the key that I'm talking about, I just have to get there...from here....
Maybe I should just give you the key....I Cor 15:54 "....death has been swallowed up in victory." I Cor 15:55 "Where O death is your victory? Where O death is your sting?" I Cor 15:26 "the last enemy to be destroyed is death.." I Cor 15:21 "for since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man." I guess the key I'm trying to show you is that in those old famous cartoon characters a man brought the Coyote and Daffy to life through his drawing of resurrecting those famous characters. Not only did the same man cause the cartoon's death, he also brought them back to life. No we don't have someone drawing our deaths through comic relief and yes death does have a sting in our now lives, sometimes a very strong and defining sting, and at times death does appear to have victory. But just like the cartoon characters that I love from my childhood (and even now), I have a hope for victory over death. I have a hope that death will be the last enemy destroyed. I don't get to see it right now or even in a few seconds from now but I hope that a Man will bring resurrection of the dead. And I hope that in that resurrection death will be totally removed.
In looking over this writing, I don't believe I've made a good connection between my favorite cartoons and the victory over death, I don't see it although I'm usually harder on myself. There is a connection for me, I'm not sure if that connection is found easily for you in the cartoon analogy or not, but its there. And somewhere in the future, maybe forever away or just seconds away, there will be victory over death...that is where my hope has to stay, even with death's current sting.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Waiting....Once Again....Waiting

Have you ever waited for something? And I mean waited and waited and waited and waited. And somewhere in all the waiting you find that you give up or just fall into and unknown rhythm of "ok whatever". If you are anything like me, waiting is one of your least favorite things to do. Waiting is one of those things that I just can't seem to get away from no matter how hard I try.

I attempted to start writing every day this year, something I presumed would be easy and something I was hoping would shorten the waiting that I am going through; neither has happened. The waiting seems to be getting longer and my writing well that has gone to the wayside more than once. What am I awaiting? Well in one word, hope. Hope to give me inspiration, hope to give me peace, hope to give .... well anything. If you've never been in this waiting line, its not much different than waiting for a roller coaster ride at an amusement park in the middle of Summer. The line stretches for more than a mile and somewhere way up front is where the line gets on the ride. But while in line the ride actually begins, the waiting to 'get there' starts with excitement, anticipation, or anxiety, and as the line slowly progresses, the screams from the now riders builds inside the mind and the waiting gets tougher. After a long 1-2 hours, there's a crest in the line and low and behold there's the ride, the thing heard for the past hours is now in sight and the heart races while you watch the ride pull away and begin its ascend and descent, twist and twirls, with yells and screams falling on ears below, and sweat begins to stream off your face. The anxiety has come to life, right there standing in line for the one thing you most wanted as you reach the platform. Waiting on inspiration is the same as this line, I've waited for something inspiring to happen to give me a reason to hope. The anxiety has been of unmeasurable force and yet I wait. Waiting on inspiration is something that no one should be subjected to, just like waiting for 3 hours to get on a roller coaster. It is also, by far, one of the most difficult, crushing, and mindboggling things that one can wait to occur. It has stumped profession writers, artists, dancers, performers around the world and throughout history and still they wait.

Its funny how inspiration comes when it does, for me, I have been waiting for an answer; an answer to my unbelief. This morning in reading for whatever reason (something I am not doing much of and fighting my mind to do) I read on waiting for hope. It was this particular reading, as usual, on target with my heart. How waiting on hope is the most difficult of waiting that one will go through, how waiting on hope is the worst waiting. The author apparently knows this place because she talks of waiting for hope in the darkest times with no glimmer of prospect. Gal 5:5 For we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness." Its amazing sometimes how things just work out. Today is June 26th and when I opened my devotional book, I turned to what I thought said June 26 but when I picked it up to quote the scripture and look up Galatians, the page says July 26. I turned to June 26, mostly because I was curious, and the reading is on unbelief. The author starts with Rom 3:3 "For what is some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?".."I think I can trace every scrap of sorrow in my life to simple unbelief."

Its funny how things work out, happen, occur; its funny how God can orchestrate something without me even knowing or realizing it happened. I'm still waiting, even now that I know its unbelief that is causing the wait, still waiting for a devine intervention of inspiration to cut through the unbelief and get me out of the wait. Do you think it will happen? Maybe it will. Maybe it already has

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How Do I Get Back?

I started writing this yesterday and then realized that I was forcing words out of my mind and through my fingers to this page; something that I don't have to do, the words generally, for whatever reason, just come to me. So last night, I stopped writing and this morning deleted everything that I had typed. Well everything except this picture. The picture and title have very little to do with each other except that in this picture I am asking you to trust that this is the way back for the two horses and riders whom you can't see. The way back which is a little more difficult than it appears and one that you can not see because of that little bend in the road. Do you trust me?

Yesterday morning in an unsuccessful attempt to get my lazy butt up and go to church, I opened up the live feed and decided to watch online. It did not go well. My poor little laptop was not cooperating and each time I tried to load the live feed, it would crash. Each time, my mind would start with excuses to get up and start doing the listed work I had for the day and each time a struggle to sit and try again would ensue. Finally, I was able to get a live feed and came in when Heath, the youth pastor, was talking about the Body of Christ, what we trusted in, and how to get to the place where we were suppose to be according to Christ. That's all I got before my buffering and loading took a break, so while I waited (impatiently), I began to write down some of my thoughts. "What am I trusting in?" and "How do I get back?" I was still waiting for the feed to come back and my mind started with the long list of things I had to do today and I started to give up on the live feed and go to work when it came back. This time Ryan Peterson, a newer pastor for our church was beginning to speak, and he asked a question "Have you ever met God in an unexpected place?" and he went on. It didn't take long for Ryan to get to the point of his message, simply the gospel, and he gave a description of the gospel in comparison to the restoration of a home. Restoration as defined (and I am trusting Ryan's words) is to bring anything back to its original design by its original owner. I have never thought of the word restoration in the manner that Ryan begin to relate. And how he used the restoring of a old home back to its original design by the original architect and how that process began "ugly", "tore down", and basically in shambles before the final restoration was presented. And no one but the original designer, the architect, was the only one who could see the end result as beautiful through all the ugliness and destruction. My question had in less than 10 minutes been answered.

How do I get back? What am I trusting in? Well in the word above, I was trusting in Ryan's description of restoration, and in the picture above, I am asking you to trust that I know the way back. Just like you with trusting me to know the way back if we were on the trail above, I have to, with a struggle, trust that God was guiding Ryan's words. Something very hard to do for me as of late, and I have no explanation as to why. Ryan described the restoration as a rebuilding of the gospel that I already knew and he started with a foundation. John 17:2,3 "For you granted him authority overal all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." Then the foundation gave support for the walls. 2Cor 5:21 "God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us..." Gal 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me...." Phil 3:7 "...whatever was to my profit, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ." Col 1:13 "For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kningdom of his Son.." My question was answered in a first few minutes that Ryan began to speak and then he took the word restoration and showed me how to get back. Do you see it?
There is not much work actually none on my part to be honest just an allowance of the restoration. The work has already been done and there is a path back that was forged through a message of prophets that the day of restoration was coming, that there was a miracle and Christ was born, and that he lived simply for 30 years being a carpenter, and then started his 3year journey to the cross, that he took on the wrath of God, that he died and rose again and that he said..."blessed are those who do not see me."

The journey back to my original design is not going to be an easy one, that much I believe. I also believe that I am in the ugly stage just before the restoration begins, I have a choice to be restored or not, my part is only in the battle of my mind and trusting that the way back is simple.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Separated

I don't know if you can understand or want to understand the place that my heart, mind and soul stand entrenched. I don't know if I can explain, demonstrate, or even begin to lead your mind or imagination in that direction to give you a sampling of this place. It is probably, by far, easier for me to use a different personal experience, one that may be related directly to you, to bring you to this understanding. Many, if not all of us, have in some way been affected by a separated family, most through the act of divorce. I'm sure many of us in one way or another have moved from a childhood home or a long time home where we have made life long friends whereby we swear to stay in touch and close across the distances. And we become, without warning, separated from part of our lives that in its essence was something of paradise (well in one way paradise). We become separated by space, land, miles, and other people, from those parts of our lives and we move on, finding a parent in a new way or finding a new friend whom we wouldn't have met otherwise without the move.

Its easy to associate or place something in the way of being separated, actually very easy, especially when its a family break (usually someone moves out causing the separation) or a move from short-time home putting distance, a physical realm between two people. There is, however, a type of separated that you can not see, one that is not part of a physical picture such as a move. There is a separateness that causes a wandering that leaves much to be desired and one that I hope not many would have to experience. My mind,needless to say, wanders, drifts, and slowly separates itself from the rest of me (odd I know), and I'm sure many of you have experienced that wandering too. I believe that it is a survival tactic for my mind, a way for my mind to maintain itself against my will. My mind has, literally, a mind of its own, the separation that is created by its wandering makes it possible for it to think rationally, process and continue to take care of my body. So what is it separating itself from? My heart. My heart although somedays has the power to get me out of bed and move me in a straight line, is not really here. My heart has been separated from my mind and soul for over a year and it is, without any control, lingering at the place that my mind can not stay. And these to vital parts of me have without delay separated themselves quite effectively from my soul. Although some days I look and sound full of life, a life that my mind can work through and my heart can pound through, there is little soul within it. I believe that if any one really looked they could see the separation of me, the distance between the 3 things that make my life function inside of my frame-where they are separated by time and emotion.

I don't like this separation and it has taken me this long to figure out how I can still work without literally falling into shambles, how I can make everything function without wandering away. Now that I have figured out this pandora's box problem, I'm worried that I will not be able to reunite these 3 and if I can when with it happen. I worry that this separation between the 3 parts of me have created and caused a 4th separation, a separation from my faith and God. The struggle to bring together the 3 separated parts of me becomes more difficult when I am struggling to know God is with me, although I know, or having difficulty believing He is walking with me, although He is, and I realize that knowing is only 1/8 of the truth and formula to bring me back together. The separateness, I now know, is partly survival, partly life, and somewhere in between those things is faith bridging survival and life together in a way that either of the other 2 parts are able to do alone. I don't like this separation and rebuilding, that's actually what it is a rebuilding of a relationship and foundation -only its inside where you can't see. I don't like knowing and knowing that is not the foundation to rebuild. But I believe (I think) that somewhere in the mangled separated mess that is in shambles inside of me there is Someone who can put it all back together, if I didn't, even though I don't see it everyday, my mind would just wander me away. My heart would just be sad all the time and my soul would have to fight in between to keep me in the physical here. So I believe.
Romans 8:35, 39"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?... neither height or depth, nor anything in all creation, will be able to separate us from love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Philemon 1:18 "perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was so that you might have him back for good..."

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fixer Upper

I was raised by a fixer upper; no matter what was wrong or what was happening, no matter what house we lived in whether it was in good condition or crappy condition, there was something to be fixed and my Mother was the fixer upper. So, naturally, I unexpectedly inherited the wonderful trait. I rarely find things that can't be fixed (or changed - same thing) and I can do it or find a way to do it - even if inefficiently. It was without a doubt that I would marry a fixer upper. Lee can fix just about anything and if he can't fix it, he tries to fix it first before finding a repair person. Which as you can imagine, could be a problem, but its not, oddly enough, he doesn't do damage so unrepairable that a repair person costs more than an arm (or leg). He's absolutely amazingly, a rare find. I have to say that having a fixer upper (times 2) in the house can be somewhat overwhelming for our children. If one of us isn't doing something the other one is and they girls are kind of caught in the middle. I wonder if either of them inherited this...disease.

Why the fixer upper? Why this title? Well I have to give credit to my friend, Laura, who emailed me about her wonderful, genius of a husand who fixes their vehicles without even a hitch of a problem. The second reason was due to a title of a distant friends blog "permanent temporary". I know they have nothing to do with each other but bear with me. I haven't warranted a writing in the past couple of days (going days, weeks or months lacking of inspiration). I am, by all means, a person in need of inspiration, sad I know I should be inspired just waking up (okay back to reality). The fixer upper, the one person who could put stuff back together and fix it up right the way it was before the break. You might be surprised as to the word fix, I was! Why? Well because my idea of fix is to repair or mend, God's idea of fix is something completely different. He relates my fix to the actual meaning of 'mending', go figure, He relates fix to looking or seeing, setting or making a point of, not repairing! Great, don't you think? I mean I was looking for something to fix me, the ultimate fixer upper, and I found something completely the opposite. It was at this point, I found mend, and you know what there are only 2 places in the NIV Bible that reference the word 'mend'. Again, not what I was hoping.

So why does this matter? Well it really doesn't, not in reality. It doesn't really matter and looking at what I wrote above it looks like alot of blahblahblah words. But I love my fixer upper husband, and I love that I grew up with a fixer upper, and now, more than ever I need a fixer upper for my soul and heart. 2Cor 4:18 "fix your eyes on not what is seen, but what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary and what is unseen is eternal." Heb 12:12 "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.." Prov 60:2 "......mend its fractures, for it is quaking." I would rewrite these 3 short cuts from these places and in my version it would read like this: "Fix your eyes on Jesus for He, even tho unseen, is eternal. The world or land that you are walking thru are temporary and He will mend all fractures, even when you are quaking, this world and time are only what is seen right now, He has an unseen time for you." I love fixer uppers, don't you?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

First Ride .... Sense April 24, 2010

This is me, on Raychel, in 2006 at Million Pines; long hair, and sweating like crazy in mid-April. I was riding lots then lots and lots, almost entirely consumed by competing and training. But that being said, we loved it! Raychel loves to compete, she's great at endurance and she loves to go - even though sometime you couldn't tell when we load in a trailer and go - but she still loves it. Sometime in 2008, this became a job a thing I had to do something that I was suppose to do instead of something that I wanted to do and love to do, and so I ebbed away from competing. Then with a little riding (yes to those of you reading this who were riding with me in 2008 and 2009 a little riding is what it was), I competed in two limited distance rides (thats under 35 miles). I thought for a moment that I was moving toward the rider/competitor and I was working toward a productive ride year with a friend in 2010 when our life changed; and so did my riding drive.

It's been a year since the life change, my friend and I did go and volunteer for the AERC(American Endurance Riding Commission) Nat'l Championship Ride in October. It gave me the bug to ride, the want to ride, and eventually that bug has come to fruition. After some himming and haaahing, my friend and I decided to do a ride (short ride) this weekend and we have been somewhat steady in our training over the past week and a half (not near enough to compete). Why the sudden interest....endurance - a word I thought I knew the meaning of until last night.
Endurance, by definition from Merrian Webster, is "the ability to withstand hardship or adversity...the ability to sustain a prolonged effort or activity". Paul describes and talks about endurance too; 2 Cor. 6:4 "in great endurance, in troubles, hardships, and distress." 1Thess 1:3 "...your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in Christ." I think its funny odd that Merrian Webster defined endurance first as the ability to withstand hardship or adversity, I have never read this definition before, never knew that this was the definition of endurance, and why did I look it up today? Because of the way Paul used the word endurance in the scriptures that I found prompted me to look up the definition. I always associated endurance with the ability to compete well, not to withstand harships.

Paul talks repeatedly of endurance and getting through sufferings, difficulties, sorrow, pain, hardship with hope, not on my own. I am still going through hardships, suffering and sorrow, pain and hurt and I am not doing this alone, but with a wonderful husband and daughters and friends who know and understand and with God, whom I am sometimes still upset with, confused about His plan, and off and on angry with but still with hope in Him. And now, training again, with a plan, I realize that the first and second part of the definition is me and Raychel as one. She carries me anywhere I point her, she sustains the prolonged activity with very little to no complaining, with her ears forward and continuing with her heart. And like endurance she has sustained through hardships and adversity standing in a pasture waiting for me to get through my hardships, waiting with a hope that one day I'd bring her back to the thing she loves to do with me, ride and compete with endurance. Endurance to complete and finish a set distance, endurance to get through a hardship that was not known, endurance to be one unit again and someday, with a hope of being out of the hardship, with scars attached but feeling joyful ... once again.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Back On Writing

Well I guess I can say that my goal of writing every day this year is totally destroyed; not unusual for me but I was trying to accomplish a goal. The change came when I was asked by a friend to contact a mother, a mother who a short few days before had lost her son in a car accident. This is a poor excuse, I know, but the reason behind my delay nonetheless. And along with this delay in writing/posting/blogging came a subsiding in my want/need to talk to God. Believe it or not, this blog site has encouraged me daily to try to communicate with Him, that too was delayed. I haven't been on here in 1 month and 2 days; I haven't read or talked to God in 1 month and 1 day, not a good record. So why today? I really don't know except that last night I realized that I had been fighting tears again, fighting the pain that I am good at hiding, subduing, and putting on hold, and out of nowhere I started talking to Him. And I fell asleep, peacefully, without sleep aid and slept, really slept, probably the first time in a couple weeks.
This morning I got up, got coffee and a cup of water, turned on the boob-tube, and opened up facebook, my regular routine. Except this morning, there was a post, from a woman, a nurse at Womack AMC, talking about a great legacy of her son. I am not friends with this woman and only saw this post because a ride buddy works with her and commented on her post. I won't share much, mostly because it's painful, but she writes "so proud of my awesome son, double lunge transplant to one donor, kidneys to two separate people....might muscles and bones to those who need them...we love you Zachie for giving your all even to the end..." I know briefly of this woman, my ride buddy told us of her son's accident and how he was in ICU with brain injuries but seemed to be moving along with hope of recovery. This post was a tribute to the fight that her son fought and the pain that she felt through a decision she and her husband had to make to allow Zach to go, to fight no more. This prompted me to avoid my Streams in the Desert book at first and then pick it up to today; of course I had to find today because I haven't been reading or looking thru this book of mine for some time. And I found something that was hidden the pages before today, most of May is dedicated to suffering, fighting, failing faint in faith, struggling, searching, and not knowing if God really cares or knows how this life feels.
Daniel 3:25 Walking in the midst of the fire. "The comfort of Christ's revelation is not emancipation from sorrow, but emancipation through sorrow...Oh my Go, teach me, when the shadows have gathered that I am only in a tunnel....Tell me I am only forced to clim because Thy house is on a hill!"
Psalms 27:13 I had fainted unless... "How the soul sinks, the heart grows sick, and the faith staggers under the keen trials and testings which come into our lives in times of special bereavement and suffering.....It is so when we are tempted to faint under affliciton. God's message to us is not "Be strong and of good courage," for He knows our strength and courage have fled away. But it is that sweet word "Be still and know that I am God."
I wonder if these 2 women, far off acquaintances that I have come in contact with, know that it is ok not to be strong? I wonder if they, like me, were out front and strong thru this time and hiding in the bedroom or bathroom crying? I wonder if those who leave messages for them saying "we are praying for you" or "God bless you" strike a cord of pain now but one day will be words that mean much more? I wonder if these women know that God is standing with them, crying with them, and they are not alone? I wonder if they know one day they are going to help someone, someone whom they don't know and never knew before, someone who, like them, is beginning their walk thru the fire and feeling faint?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I'm Stealing - Again

Its seems unlikely that I would admit to stealing, altho I have committed this act in more than one way in my life. And here I am again, stealing once more. I haven't been on here in sometime, even tho I had committed myself to attempting to write every day at the beginning of the year, time has somehow gotten away from me. And in an attempt to ease my heart from hurting a little this morning, I reviewed some of the blogs that I follow; one being "for the love of a horse". Probably one of my favorite blogs, written by a man named Ralph about horses that have entered or touched his life in some way. And it seems, without fail, when I read - on the off occassion - his entire blog entry, it is exactly what I needed to read. So I'm stealing some of his words of wisdom yet again. "I don't know how or even why but something really beautiful happened in my life, at a point when I was really feeling, well, a bit hopeless." You wouldn't know it from this simple statement or even from the entire paragraph written on the link for this blog, but the writer is speaking of his horse "Mimi". There is little else to the blog written except a picture of this mare whom he refers to as a "beautiful" thing but it is enough. I wonder sometimes if my horses, Raychel, Myisha and Princess, know what turmoil is going on just 50 yards from their almost grassless pasture? I wonder if these creations know that when I am talking to them from afar I am hoping for some miniscual response? And I think for whatever reason they do, I mean I know people say pets don't understand but I believe they are wrong. Because when I most need to be close to one of them, I can stand in the pasture and Raychel will be the first one to me. She will stand right next to me and not move, not a muscle, and almost keep watch around us. Funny that she knows exactly when to stop and stand next to me without bribery of feed, funny that at times when I am most feeling a bit hopeless these creations become a beautiful thing that happens to me.