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Posts from the ‘Life’ Category

Out Of The Darkness

I have heard it said that a messy desk is the sign of a cluttered mind. I say that a cluttered mind is the result of an unclear path.

I have spent untold hours and so much mental energy trying to create a niche for myself that is completely unique and could become a business. In the late 70s I thought about parlaying my love for words and calligraphy into a lettering/logo business. I bought the supplies, practiced, and moved on. In the early to mid 80s it was crochet; I dreamed of winning a crochet design contest that would land me in a magazine, thus launching a career. By the 90s I was happily married, had a job I liked and all my energy went into these things as well as my new again religious fervor. I jumped in with both feet and even took classes at a local Bible college. Then in 2003 my granddaughter was born and my world changed forever. I had a solid relationship with God, my husband and family. I entered the absolute happiest time of life. I was full and content. My entire life was spent wanting to be a wife and a mom and now I was living that dream I had a daughter by marriage and a granddaughter I was able to care for while her mom worked. Then, I made a decision which led me down an uncharted path.

By 2005 I had taken up knitting and felt like it was time to do something for myself, so I joined a social knitting group where I met the woman who would become my business partner. Together we opened a yarn shop. This sounds like an innocuous enough undertaking, but it altered me in ways I could have never imagined.

The details are not as important as the end result. The end result was that I began trusting more in my own understanding and slowly removed the light from my life. The farther away from God I got the more circuitous my path and the deeper my anxiety and confusion. So what is the answer? Light is the answer.

Most of us have experienced being in total darkness for one reason or another; it is natural to feel anxious and fearful of taking the next step. But put a flashlight in our hands and suddenly that step forward is clear…as long as we walk in the direction of the light.

But that light only shines for a defined distance. What is beyond that? We will never know until we take a step, then we are allowed to see a little more. Stand still, nothing is revelealed. Move to the right or the left and it could be safe but then again, who knows. That is where the anxiety is produced. It is only moving forward in the direction of the light that we can be confident and secure.

My word is a lamp to your feet; My presence is a light for your path. Psalm 119:105

When I worship God through reading scripture, praying and listening then I have a light for my path the rest of the day. Giving thanks at the end of the day prepares my mind and spirit for rest. And then, I’m ready for tomorrow.

So, if you are like me and put God’s lamp on the bookshelf or in a drawer, go find it. Let Him illuminate your day and your life. Let His peace wash over you and rest in His loving care.

Until tomorrow…

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The Way Forward

I often feel stuck. Stuck in a place, a state of mind, a routine, or a cycle of dreaming. I drown in my stuckness.

In reading through journal entries from the past year I discovered that the things I am doing now and the things I dream about, were also the things I was dreaming about a year ago. In my imagination I hop from thing to thing and never accomplish anything. That is only partly true. I am not accomplishing much. But I am surprisingly consistent in the big picture.

So if the problem is not what I am doing what is the problem? Why do I feel a sense of discontent? Why am I always searching for something that will make me happy and whole? Why am I stuck?

Well, it turns out the answer is really quite simple. I have been leaning on my own limited understanding of what needs to be done to solve the problem. I get a knot in my stomach and worry that I am making the wrong decision and that leads to doing nothing so that the knot will go away. The problem is not solved but I feel better for the moment.

By trusting myself more than I trust God I am pinching myself off from the vastness of His blessings. I want to know that I am on the right path but I don’t stop to listen, submit, trust, follow, and give thanks. Is it any wonder I am a spinning around in circles?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

The life I want is a simple one. I don’t desire wealth or possessions, I don’t desire power or position. I desire to live simply with God and feel the peace that passes all understanding. To live humbly and honorably. But right now my path seems like a child’s scribbling on paper…wild and confused with stops and starts going nowhere at all.

Thankfully the solution is simple and there is a straight path for me, I just need to listen and follow.

Notes From The Road, Day 3

Our day began a little later than expected due to a serious need to sleep in. We rolled into Muscle Shoals Alabama last night and kept moving into Florence. There was a slight issue finding the hotel and what followed became a comedy of errors.

Where’s The Radisson?

What we didn’t realize is there are two streets with the same name and, well, they don’t connect. This was problem number one. Once we had gone both directions on the street we thought we were supposed to be on, we gave up and tried something different. This time I was at least finding some of the landmarks on the map, so there was hope. We didn’t see any signs or indications there was a hotel anywhere close to the Chuck E. Cheese. With nothing to loose we turned into the parking lot and hidden back off the road, behind some trees, there was a three story hotel. Still no signs. The one that should have told us the hotel was in the background had a covering over it and there was no sign on the building. The lights were on and people coming and going so we crossed our fingers and pulled in.

It seems this Radisson is becoming a Clarion, thus the anonymity. This was an exhausting end to the day.

Fresh Start – New State

Coffee in hand we headed east towards Tuscumbia, Alabama. Tuscumbia is where H.G.’s father was born and raised. I loved Laurel, but I REALLY love Tuscumbia. This is a town I want to come back to; a town that is filled with history and charm. Tuscumbia exudes southern charm and hospitality, and was also the birthplace of Helen Keller.

It started to rain while we were here, but we just drove, looked at houses, oohing and ahhing all along the way. We had two main goals while here – find the home where H.G.’s father was raised and also find the Rosenbaum house, a Frank Lloyd Wright designed home. We succeeded on both accounts.

Means family home in Tuscumbia.

The Rosenbaum house, designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright is in the Usonian design – a design that is based on a modular system and built so as to be affordable for average Americans. Wright wanted to be able to offer affordable yet beautiful and functional homes for those who are not among the wealthy class. Our tour guide said this is the only house that actually took advantage of the modular design’s ability to be added on to without disrupting the flow and feel of the home. I had seen another FLW home in Manchester, New Hampshire, but this one was different. Quite a bit smaller and more compact. It is always an amazing feeling to tour one of his homes.

A Hidden Gem, Lunch and A Big Mental Mistake

While just driving around aimlessly we stumbled upon Spring Park, a gorgeous park with a spring that runs throughout. On the park grounds there is also a small gauge train, a pint sized roller coaster and carousel for the kids.

The waterfall into the spring and the monument to The Trail of Tears is beautiful and poignant. I could have stayed for hours just watching and listening to the water and enjoying this natural wonder.

We wanted to grab a quick bite to eat before it got too late. Our eating schedule has been way off the past few days. I found a little place called Aunt Bea’s Bakery & Bistro in downtown Tuscumbia. We stopped in for a sandwich and cupcake. Everything was delicious. We finished and left as the rain was starting back up again.

We sat in the car in front of the restaurant while H.G. placed an order for a customer, and then proceeded on our merry way. Then about two hours down the road I reached for my purse to get my journal for a little sketching.

But my purse was no where to be found. It was now 4:52, Bea’s closes at 5:00 so I quickly called. Sure enough I had left it hanging on the back of my chair. We now have a huge dilemma. Turn around, spend the night in Tuscumbia and then have a very long drive to get to Sparta tomorrow afternoon. Or, we can keep going and get the purse on the way home. Somehow, I don’t feel a sense of panic. My purse is in the hands of good people in a small town in Alabama and I pray that they will keep it safe for me until Tuesday. Somehow…by the grace of God, I feel safe and secure with my purse right where it is.

Who knows, maybe we are supposed to travel back through Tuscumbia for a reason. I don’t know, but what I do know is that I’m not in control and H.G. is going to remind me of this every time we go somewhere, I just know he will. Oh well, when he does, I’ll just roll my eyes and keep on moving.

Tonight we are in Knoxville, Tennessee and tomorrow we head through the Smoky Mountains to Sparta. See you on the road!

Notes From The Road, Day 2

Today is the day we planned on spending the most time wandering and looking. Alarms set. We slept well.

Bright and early this morning, we packed our bags, checked out of the hotel and headed to a little cafe I had found online. How did we ever travel before the internet?

The Coney Island Cafe has been operating in this same location since 1923. Started by Greek immigrants, the cafe has a set menu posted on the wall.

A pay phone and a picture of Merle on the wall.

I think there have been many a folk to set on this stool, eating a meal, sipping coffee, and swapping stories.

We were greeted with a smile and “Hello” from Sabrina, who also cooked a fine breakfast. Her smile lit up the room.

After breakfast we gassed up and headed north to Laurel. This was only about a forty-five minute drive so we arrived before most of the businesses were open. We also beat the heat of the day so we parked the car and walked around the downtown area.

We saw many of the places and streets seen on the promos and introductions to the show “Hometown.” This town is special to us because it is the town where my Hunter-Gatherer was born.

His mother was born and raised in this house in Laurel, and this is where she came to give birth to her first born. His dad was in graduate school at the University of Texas in Austin and it just made sense for her to be home with her parents instead of living in married student housing in Austin.

In the late 1950’s H.G. and his brother, and later sister, would spend time with their grandparents. He has very fond memories of listening to baseball on the radio, and eating all the good food his grandmother cooked. While I’m sure there was difficulty and strife in the world, to these kids, life was simple and full of potential.

Annie, Mrs. Foley to her students and most folks in Laurel, would warn H.G. and his brother to be careful crossing over these little bridges because Billy Goat’s Gruff lives in the creek, under the bridge and he would get them. The vivid imaginations of two young boys went wild with this information. While they never went in the creek, they always looked very carefully before playing near the bridge.

The Busy Bee was another favorite place for the brothers to visit. Grandmother would give them fifty cents, with which they could occupy themselves for hours. Ten cents would get them into a movie and then they would stop at the Busy Bee for some candy and a glimpse at the “men’s” magazines. Fortunately those magazines then were not what they are today! His saintly “Methodist Grandmother” would have had a fit if she knew that’s what they were spending their time doing!

I enjoyed seeing all this through his eyes once again and making memories along the way. I’ll leave you with a few more pictures of our day in Laurel.

Tomorrow we’ll be in Alabama and Tennessee. See you on the road.

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Notes From The Road Day 1

Vacationing with a salesman is never just a vacation. As Hunter-Gatherer says, “A salesman is never off the clock.” This is a fact that I have come to accept. In fact I plan for it. Yes never leave Home without plenty of things to keep me busy in the car.

As we leave for a six day road trip, he has already answered three phone calls and is now in a customer’s store helping them with a problem. That is just the kind of guy he is and one of the reasons I love him.

Living in the Houston area, just getting out of town is one of the biggest hurdles. At least we are now on the east side of town and the worst is behind us.

Today is mostly about getting from Houston through Louisiana, and into Mississippi.

I want to record this vacation in a way I have never done before. We love road trips and generally just wander wherever the road leads. This trip is very structured for us. The first place I asked to get off the freeway to look is Orange, Texas. In addition to being the birthplace and stomping grounds for Michael Berry, local radio host extraordinaire. I’m a devoted fan and have never been to Orange. I learned that Orange has also produced a large number of well known professional football players and a couple of coaches. Orange looks like many small Texas towns; probably a nice place to live. Probably won’t be going back, but at least I can say I visited the birthplace of the Czar of Talk Radio, Mr. Michael Berry.

We made it to Hattiesburg, Mississippi at 9:00 tonight, about 2 hours later than planned. Hubby kept apologizing, but it’s really ok. I sketched, wrote, knitted, and took pictures. Not a bad day at all.

I will leave you with some images from our drive through Louisiana, it is time for bed.

Ice cream in Lafayette

The Middle

Just Make Me Laugh

For most of my life I have opted for a good sit com over most any other form of television programming. Unfortunately my husband does not share this opinion; the ability to record TV shows has probably saved our marriage. I silently endure evenings with various alien or big foot hunting, animals eating animals, or Andrew Zimmern eating anything bizarre and disgusting. But, as long as that little red button is glowing, I know my shows await me for the next day’s viewing pleasure.

For the past nine years I have watched every single episode of The Middle. Who can’t identify with this lovable, crazy, disorganized family? While everything that happened with them was over the top, there was always that nugget of familiarity that allowed us to laugh at ourselves. Didn’t we all feel just a little better about our lives after watching the Heck’s antics? I know I did.

Above all, I love the relationship between Axl and Sue. Brothers and sisters have a unique bond and the teasing and jokes seem to be universal. Axl was forever rolling his eyes and giving Sue grief over her unique point of view and ways of doing things. In high school she embarrassed him on a daily basis, but in college he quietly made sure she was always OK. Through it all, he loved her and showed it in the way that was natural for him. Like Sue I openly adore my brother and have a tendency to want to cling to him. He, like the Heck men, is not one for being overly demonstrative in the traditional sense, but there is no doubt he loves me and would do anything in his power for me.

I Don’t Do Finales

The older I get, I find I don’t like watching series finales. Maybe it is because I don’t want to say goodbye to folks who have become like family, or that I just don’t like the lump I get in my throat when I know I’m going to cry. I try to delude myself into thinking that if I don’t watch it, the show hasn’t really ended. OK, I know that last one is pitiful, but I can’t deny the reality.

I had to watch the series finale of The Middle. The story of Axl leaving home for a job in Denver, was absolute Heck family gold. It was the perfect balance of laughter and tears; a bittersweet celebration of family. It was the perfect good-bye.

Frankie had tried to be stoic and “cool” so Axl would want to come back to visit, or just pick up the phone when she called. She had stuffed all those feelings way down deep inside, and was a time bomb waiting to explode.

While discussing their family cell phone plan, Axl said “Just take me off the family plan.” To him, this was a common sense solution to the problem of data use overage. But to Frankie this was symbolic of Axl leaving the family and she could no longer be the cool mom. She made Mike stop the car, jumped out and began walking back the way they had come. All her pent up emotions come flowing out, her family standing there, not sure what to say or do. Things were changing and there was nothing she could do about it. Through tears Frankie said, “This is the end of an era. The five of us will never be together like this again.” With perfect timing, love, and gentleness, Mike tells her, “That’s the way it is supposed to be.”

The family plan had worked well for twenty something years and now it was time for the plan to change.

Letting Go

I was usually the one doing the leaving. But now I see the change in the family plan from a different perspective. I am not just the child. I am the child, the sister, the aunt, the wife, mom, mother-in-law, and Mimi. We spend our lives living according to the established plan; everyone has their place, their roles, and and we are quite comfortable. A new person comes in or someone moves on and the family plan has to accommodate. But the family plan is still intact; we are all still connected because we are family. This was the truth I was reminded of as The Middle drew to a close.

I believe that many of us consider the weirdness of our family to be different from what happens in other homes – but it’s not. We are all more alike than different. Some are just brave enough to put it out there for the world to see. I think we should embrace what makes us and our families unique because only then are we fully who we’re created to be and able to impact the world around us for good.

Things will be different now that I don’t have the Heck’s in my life every week, but that’s OK…no, that is how it should be. Change is inevitable; it is how we deal with the change that determines the quality of the next phase of life.

The Perils Of Being A Romantic

I avoided watching Call The Midwife because…well, I thought it was just about giving birth and who needs to watch ladies screaming in pain? At least this is what I told myself. I have a PhD (Piled Higher & Deeper, according to Hunter-Gatherer) in self delusion. I can convince myself of most anything and my arguments are top notch. So, I didn’t consider my “No Call The Midwife” position as anything but sound logic. And then I really watched an episode. Oh my. How I was wrong.

My First Time

I don’t remember what happened in the first episode I watched. I only remember how I felt. I do know that HG was not home, and for some reason it seems it was cold outside. That last part could be entirely wrong, but watching this amazing period piece set in chilly East End London in the 1950’s always makes me imagine it is cold here as well. The stories all center around a group of nurse midwives and the nuns with whom they work and live. I must admit that even after watching that first episode I did not become a regular viewer. Again, I convinced myself that it was because of the timing, Sunday evenings, or the fact that like most British television programs it only aired a few episodes a year then was gone for months at a time. More personal delusion.

The fact of the matter was that it touched me somewhere deep in my soul and I wasn’t sure I wanted those areas to see the light of day. Was it the never giving birth myself thus too painful of a reminder? Possibly. Was it just too emotional? Could be. Or was it something else? Could it be that there are many forms of giving birth? Birth to relationships, ideas, personal growth, or just open to the possibilities life has to offer?

Savor vs Binge

Thanks to technology humans can now sit in front of a television, computer or tablet and watch television programs nonstop for days at a time if they so choose. It is not the healthiest of habits to be sure, and one that folks like me need to be wary of. Fortunately, this program should not be viewed in such a manner. There is much to digest, allowing it to permeate one’s soul. I have decided to savor it. Watching, living, imagining, and dreaming. I watch the nurses in action and remember. I was a nurse. I always say I fell into nursing because it was not something I grew up wanting to do with my life. I never had the calling of a nurse, but I was a good caretaker. So why did I travel that path?

The Journey

I graduated high school with absolutely no idea what I was going to do with my life. A fairly scary experience. I came to Texas to spend the summer with my childhood best friend and her family, and something happened one morning around the breakfast table that sent me home with a plan. I knew I wanted to be a mom and yet I knew nothing about taking care of kids. So, I decided that I would go to school to learn to be a Medical Assistant and specialize in the care of children. At the end of the summer that is exactly what I did. I returned home to California and enrolled in the California College for Medical Careers. Nine months later a new medical professional was born. I became certified, got a job and life moved forward.

Not having a college degree or proper title was always a source of embarrassment. I felt less than, and was always trying to improve myself. I decided to take another step forward in my career and attended a hospital based Licenses Vocational Nurse program at Hermann Hospital in Houston. Hermann Hospital, at that time, was one of the oldest and most well regarded hospitals in the country. It was and is the teaching hospital for The University of Texas and home base of Life Flight founded by Dr. Red Duke. I felt as though I was among the elite of the elite and quite proud. I graduated with honors and received an award for compassionate care.

I went to work on the pediatric nephrology unit and lasted only six months. I did not have a strong mentor and my personal life was crashing down around me. I left hospital nursing to return to the pediatrician’s office where I had worked as a medical assistant. I loved my work there and should have never left. But, leave I did.

Putting The Pieces Together

I spent a total of twenty two years in the medical profession. I cared for hundreds of children and touched lives in ways I will never know. I look back proudly at that service, and that is why I watch Call The Midwife. In the days when this show took place, nursing was a much more limited profession – no technology, fewer medications, thus more human contact. It was gritty, hard, painful but rewarding work. I chose to be an LVN because I wanted to touch lives and care for people. I was not interested in being in the OR, ICU, or any other high stress area. I just wanted to make a difference and I am confident that I accomplished that goal.

One of the children I cared for in the pediatrician’s office later became my step-daughter and now mother of my grandchildren. Our family’s circle of life is slightly different than most but it is intact. You see, what I considered a personal flaw – not staying in the hospital situation and furthering my career, moving backward so to speak – was actually me following a higher path.

Only God knew what lie ahead for HG, his wife and daughter and where my compassionate care would be needed the most. So, now I put on my rose colored glasses to enjoy Call The Midwife. I can recall the joys of caring for people in need, understand the hard work, and be grateful for the time I had in that role. Then I take the glasses off and re-enter the real world to care for the people God has placed in my life.

Life In The Rear View Mirror

It is so easy to romanticize the past or paths not taken. I am one of those dreamers who lives in her own head and sometimes forgets to live in the real world. I plan and scheme for things to be different to the point I can miss the good that is right in front of me. When I look back on the choices I have made and the turning points in my life I am amazed. I’m so grateful that God had a firm grip on me as I was completely clueless.

I’m turning sixty in less that a month, so I suppose it is normal to be doing a bit of reflecting as well as looking ahead to what I want the remainder of my life to look like. I am doing less looking backward or forward and more living in the here and now. I have taken the necessary steps to limit unhealthy daydreaming and am trusting more and thinking less. Seems a little counter intuitive for the world we live in, but I believe that is my recipe for a good and peace filled life.

Until Next Time,

In With The New

Happy 2018 to all!

I heard something funny on a television news segment about traditional good luck foods eaten on the first day of a new year. This chef said that pork is traditional because pigs can only move forward. They cannot walk backwards. I had no idea. I have not fact checked this, but I choose to believe it to be true and think it there is something to be learned from these amazing creatures.

We had something of a watershed end of the year in my family that I think is going to lead to healthier relationships amongst all of us. Sometimes it takes an outsider coming into a tight knit circle to help give clarity and perspective to the very small worlds we build for ourselves. The exact details are not important, but what is important to share is that, at the end of the day, we have very few people with whom we share our lives. It behooves all to make the best of those relationships…as is possible. And when it is not possible; when the damage is so severe that separation is the only thing possible, then I believe God brings a new “family” into our lives to help fill the hole in our hearts.

Now…Back To The Future

I believe that when we stay connected to God we become sensitive to His movement in the universe around us. For me this becomes evident in my attitude. When I am disconnected I look at the world through an ever darkening lens. It is as if I am going blind…and in my blindness I panic. And trust me, I can panic with the best of them! Those who know me intimately have seen Sheryl panic up close and personal it isn’t pretty. But how can panic ever be pretty? It can’t be. It shouldn’t be.

Sometimes a bee or a wasp sneaks in the back door when it is opened to let the dog in or out. Those poor things fly all around but always come back to the light shining through the window. They bump into the glass, buzz back and forth, then (I imagine they are exhausted but who knows) they rest for a while before the cycle begins again. I feel bad for them. I don’t want to kill them – nor do I want to be stung – so I open the back door, fan it back and forth trying to create a suction of air to pull them out. When it works and they fly out and off into the world, they are free. No more panic.

In Whom Do I Trust?

Misplaced trust can be devastating. But God assures me that trust in Him will set me free from panic…”The one who trusts will not panic.” Isaiah 28:16. The key is in whom that trust is placed. Isaiah refers to the “cornerstone.” That cornerstone is our Lord, Jesus Christ. “In God We Trust” is printed on the currency of the United States of America. I don’t think this was an accident on our founders’ part. Without God it is so easy for other things like money, material possessions, and the pursuit of both, to become our gods. We are to always remember and only trust the one true God.

So, let’s move forward together. Stay connected…stay free…pass it on.

Until tomorrow…

Reflection

It is nearly the end of 2017. This has been one doozy of a year, hasn’t it?

Everything I thought I knew seems to now be wrong, bad, or something for which I should be ashamed. Some days I turn on the television and I am blasted with all sorts of nastiness and I just feel like I should go take a shower. I’m not going to recount the issues and then provide a counterbalance. That is someone else’s job. I’m just here to share the only way I know how to cope.

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.      Ephesians 4:1-3

Lead A Worthy Life

I used to tell my oldest granddaughter to “Take care of yourself it is a full time job.” She, being the first for many years and oldest believed that it is her job to manage other people. She was quick to tattle, and find fault with everything other kids (especially her sisters) did while ignoring her own situation. Isn’t this an applicable life truth for all of us.

In a world where we are obsessed with what sins other people have committed, and all the wrongs that were done two hundred or more years ago, I think we need to stop pointing fingers and feigning outrage and just take care of our own life. Look inward more than outward. I know for me there is plenty of junk I need to deal with long before I even think about pointing fingers at someone else.

Characteristics Of A Worthy Life

Humility

Some days it seems as if the self esteem movement has wiped humility off the face of the earth. They do not have to be mutually exclusive. Remember the Golden Rule?

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

That is humility in action. Having a strong self esteem means living in a way that says you have intrinsic value, God given value. Life circumstances can chew us up and spit us out, but this truth never changes. What changes is whether or not we choose to believe in the Truth.

What an amazing world this would be if we all just went back to kindergarten and lived by The Golden Rule.

Gentleness

Oh my goodness how we need this in our world. Be gentle with your words and actions. Our politically correct environment has made it difficult to have conversations with folks because we are so fearful of saying something that might offend them. We have managed to make the most vulgar of curse words everyday language while at the same time overthinking the simplest of phrases. I return to the Golden Rule, if you wouldn’t want it said about you or done to you, don’t say it to or about someone else, or do it to them either. Be gentle.

Patience

In our “got to have it now society” the ability to be patient with one another has been replaced with road rage shootings and blatant acts of aggression. Put up with one another. Let others do and be who they are; stop requiring they behave just like you think they should.

I find myself getting impatient with folks who just stroll down the isles of the grocery store, stopping in the middle, leaving their cart blocking the way. An entire conversation rolls through my head as I complain about how self centered they must be to think they are the only person in the store. Fortunately none of this comes out of my mouth, but the truth of the matter is they aren’t doing this simply because they are rude, they are likely as focused on their shopping as I am on mine. So, I allow them the space and if I am in a hurry I will smile and say “Excuse me.” What a simple solution. This, too goes back to that one simple rule.

Love

This is another over used thus trivialized word in today’s society. The love required to live a worthy life is transformative and begins with the love shown us through Jesus Christ. He loved so that we can love. This is not romantic or even parental love. This is a love that literally changes us from the inside out. It is the only love that can change the world. I believe that what we are seeing in our world today is the result of God’s people not being this kind of love to the world. Our light has dimmed as we become more like the world around us. I include myself in this – no finger pointing happening here.

How To Acheive A Worthy Life

So, how do we as mere mortals live in a manner such as I have outlined? Our humanity often prevents us from acting in such a gentle and loving manner. I know that I am unable to do it under my own power. If I don’t have a loving and kind influence, my mind can get very dark and vindictive.  Without the love of Jesus I am powerless to live up to this standard. But because of God’s love for me I can (and should) extend that love, patience, kindness, and gentleness to others.

We, as believers, should be living in unity with one another, in a peaceful and loving manner so that we can show the world what a worthy life looks like in action.

We shouldn’t publicly argue doctrine or spend our time pointing fingers at people who don’t live the way we think they should. That’s not our job. Our job is to love like we are loved. Jesus showed love and compassion to everyone and we should do the same.

As we celebrate the birth of our Lord and look ahead, I have three goals for the new year.

  1. Fill your heart and mind with God’s word so there is no room for the ugly stuff.
  2. As you encounter people – in all situations – pray that they “be rooted and grounded in love.”
  3. Practice The Golden Rule in all aspects of your life.

Imagine, if we all lived this way, what a wonderful world it would really be.

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Life Not Fiction

No Chapter Two…or any other chapters for that matter. Now is not the time in my life for fiction writing. I’m not sure there will be a time for that. I love the idea, and maybe that is still in my future, but right here and right now is not the time. So, I will just write from the heart, the funny, the sad, the real stuff that happens to me. I’m just an ordinary woman trying to live life while keeping my neuroses in check.

Lately I haven’t been doing such a good job with the psychological stuff. I was on a roll and then circumstances beyond my control popped up and bit me in the ass. And there is a great deal of ass here to bite. Ever been where I am?

You know, that place where life just hums along and everybody who matters are just doing their thing, predictably and then, suddenly they change course and your like, “Whoa, wait a minute, you’re supposed to be doing this, living here, being this kind of person. What do you mean making changes in your life that affect me?” I know it sounds petty and childish, but don’t pretend you’ve never thought those things!

The problem is, they have every right to make changes and if those changes are for their good, who am I to feel this way? The word selfish comes to mind. I really don’t mind change…as long as I am the one doing the changing. I know, back to that selfish thing. I am baring my soul here, give me a break. Despite my advanced years, I still have quite a bit of growing and changing to do. I want to work on these things before I get so old and set in my ways I become that person no one wants to be around because she is always complaining. Back to my ample ass…I give you (and you know who you are) permission to kick me in it if I get too out of control and maudlin.

I’ve always reveled in being the unpredictable member of the family. The one that doesn’t do things according to family norms and lives life by my standards and enjoys being impossible to pigeon-hole. Anytime anyone tries to label me as any certain thing I am determined to prove them wrong and fly off in the opposite direction. There is nothing worse for me than my mom telling me “You’re just like your mother.” I detest that not because my mom is a horrid person, or because I don’t like her or love her. No, I detest it because I know I am like her and I accept that; what really gets to me is this sense that “Can’t something just be mine?”

“Mine.” This is a running theme in my life. I know it is a toddler like mentality, but why do toddlers behave in this manner? Control. They want something in their lives over which they can exercise control. Good parenting teaches them how to gradually handle this intoxicating power.

Please, for the love of all things good, tell me I am not the only sixty-something that is still dealing with things like this.

What I do know is that God is the ultimate parent. The all loving all knowing Father who does and allows whatever is necessary for our own good. I have more to say on the subject, but I’ll let you digest this and then tomorrow I’ll flip the page and we will talk about the positive side of this dilemma.

 

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