Monday, January 31, 2011

Carpe diem... keeping perspective...

Do you ever feel like something in your life is so awful it can't be survived? Time for a re-think. Climber falls as seen on Yahoo News

Two loads of laundry were done. Love clean sheets! I made rice pilaf and blue hake fish for breakfast and pizza from Rhodes Texas rolls for lunch. I've been wanting to try making my own individual pizza for a long time, and today was the day, and oh my goodness did it ever turn out yummy. I finished the first draft of The Project. The day was well used. I wonder how long it's going to take to unwind. :-)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #38

~The NFC beat the AFC in the Pro Bowl! Whoohoo!! It was fantastic watching Cardinals' Fitzgerald make a signature touchdown catch.

~Carl Edwards was interviewed as a guest at half time. YAY!!! Go Carl!

~Amazingly wonderful friends, who inspire and uplift me.

~I still have a job, though it's undertaken a lot of changes, and it isn't settled yet, but better than having no job.

~Favorite books.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thank God for the internet...

As I watched the news of what is happening in Egypt, I'm so grateful I live here. Then as I watched the internet be completely shut down there, I thanked God for my internet connection. How it blessed me, today: My friend (we met on an LOTR fan board) who calls me every afternoon, after work, was able to email me to let me know she wasn't calling. Something else had come up, but we emailed back and forth a few times, catching each other up on our day. I'd also spent the afternoon emailing another friend (we also met through LOTR online), on the opposite side of the country from the first friend, sharing thoughts and concerns, encouraging each other. I touched base with several family members, via email and blogs. I found myself uplifted by several blog postings, today. I needed a funny website for a blog, and found it. I was sent some youtube links to enjoy. I needed a specific quote, a scripture, and a definition, which I found on the internet. I popped into Pandora, for a while, to enjoy a bit of music. I watched the next installment of The 7 and the Glenn Beck radio program. I checked up on a few friends on FB, one of whom I also met on the same LOTR online community as the two mentioned above, and some writing friends. I also pre-ordered a book from one of my favorite writers. I was sent several reminders from my calender, in my emails. And now I'm posting my own blog entry for the day. All on the internet, and that was only today. God has helped me make the internet a rich blessing in my life. I've always liked the prayer: God, please bless my computer; all my friends live there. :-)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

REJOICE!

K-LOVE (a Christian radio station) is challenging their listeners to choose a word for the year. My first reaction was, yeah, whatever. How about discouraged? Immediately flashed in my mind: REJOICE! What? Rejoice? My main bread-and-butter job is in limbo. Certain people in my life are thinking the worst of me, not that it's a surprise, but it's a bit stressful when they are telling you they wish you weren't around. Then I thought, Rejoice in Adversity. Oh.

Don't you hate it when God speaks so clearly to your heart that He might as well have said it out loud for all the world to hear? Oh. That's my job.

So. REJOICE! God is in control. God is good. God never forgets us. God loves us, no matter what. God is Hope and Love. So if you feel even a little hope and/or love, then you are feeling God. If you aren't feeling hope and/or love, then take a moment to count your blessings and remember that all good things come from God.

REJOICE! Even in adversity.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Feeling uncertain...

I prepared bills, today. It's terrifying to see your business take such an unexpected nosedive. It's especially frightening that I'm still in a holding pattern of wait-and-see. I truly love what I do, but it's also really difficult to gain new clients, especially in these uncertain times. I'm struggling to trust God, and His plan for me, but I'm nowhere near perfect, and I'm definitely aware of that at this moment. I try not to waste time, but I also admit that I'm so distracted it's difficult to concentrate on much of anything. My new mantra is : God's riches are not the world's riches, and God's riches are worth more.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why I hate books with abrupt endings...

I am a romance novel devourer. I admit it. I confess. Whatever. I love a happily-ever-after. Never had one myself, but I believe in them. I also believe the work is never done and part of the romance. So, imagine my irritation with books that tie up everything, neat and tidy, in two pages or less. After a great deal of consideration into exactly why this type of ending annoys me so much, I think I've finally found a way to explain it. I love NASCAR. Fast cars. The best drivers on the planet. Go Carl!! Ehem. Anyway. Imagine, it's a race of 395 laps around a 1-mile track, speeds of around 180 mph. You are cheering your driver and his team for hours! He's winning, with five laps to go. Then, your driver crashes. The race is over for your driver. He may be able to cross the finish line for points, but that's it. No chance to enjoy a win and no victory lap. Nothing. Does it mean the previous 390 laps weren't exciting? Incredible? Heart-pounding excitement? Of course not. But it is quickly forgotten and only revisited if the crash was spectacular, and even that fades with the next spectacular crash. So, give me an ending that lasts long enough to enjoy and savor, including a victory lap. All my favorite writers give me that kind of ending. God love 'em and bless 'em with more tales.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Carpe diem... and reading list #33

Laundry was done, again. Yummy cheeseburger for lunch. Reading and work on a special project. Emailing friends. Chris is STILL blooming. And I think I'll make an early night of it. Sleep would not be amiss.

I read books 3 and 4 of The Huxtables series by Mary Balogh. And book 5 arrived in the mail, today. Whoohoo! Also read The Cinderella Bride by Barbara Wallace. It was all right, but a bit dissatisfying. In His Protective Custody by Marie Ferrarella, another of the Doctors Polaski series, which I thoroughly enjoyed. And Deadly Valentine, two-story anthology. "Her Un-Valentine" by Justine Davis was a keeper! The plot was well paced, and the hero and heroine well suited.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thank goodness it's Sunday #37...

~GO PACKERS!!! Whoohoo!!

~Cool siblings.

~Awesome friends.

~Inspiration.

~Good books.

I was saddened to see that Jack LaLanne had passed away, today. I remember watching my grandmother exercise with him, in the morning, when I was a little girl. Yes, way back when, when television was still in black and white.

A question...

...for any and all who care to answer:

Why is Pompeii famous?

I'm perfectly fine with every single answer being the same. The more answers the better. I do prefer the first thing that comes to mind, the short version. :-)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thanks and Congratulation

Thanks to upsi for what she wrote, last week, in her blog: "To dance wholly awarely and yet without self-conscious intent is to radiate grace and beauty. It is to shine." (p. 427). I want to keep taking this radical leap of faith in my true self.

Because of that I was even more excited about participating in Kathy's Zumba class. (Kathy's blog) Kathy has taught ballroom dancing, so she included fancy dance steps in her routine. I loved that.

And because of all that I found myself happily dancing alone at Linda and Wayne's wedding last night. Congratulations!! May God bless them in their new adventure! I'd forgotten how much I enjoy dancing.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What I'm learning...

...from this month of uncertainty...

I'm good at filing, and actually do enjoy it. I like the order, the simplicity.

Living in limbo is difficult. This month, I'll make approximately half of what I did last month. There have been hints that this will improve but not about when.

If I have to choose between groceries and books, I choose books. It helps to have a healthy food supply.

Friends help me maintain my sanity, on so many levels.

Trusting God isn't easy. God's way is the hard way. But I prefer it to the alternative.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Odd bits...

My modem is running high on the power side. It's the same problem I had before, though not serious yet. I'll keep an eye on it. Drives me crazy. Sometimes knowing what the problem is helps; sometimes it doesn't.

I made cheesecake, again, only this time the cream cheese was from 1997, and still yummy! Especially when I swirled in a bit of chocolate. :-)

Worked in the office, filing. I've been informed I'm too quick.

Is it Wednesday, already? Where does the time go? We're more than half way through January!

Books arrived! Yay!

What would I do without dear friends?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

GOP disbands Global Warming Committee...

This was one of the posts over at Fellowship of the Minds.

They included part of the Committee's report of all the good they had accomplished. Not unexpected since such a committee would want to be remembered favorably. That being said, how does one justify perpetuating a lie? I have a personal conviction of the lie because a scientist I know and admire, who proved at least six different ways that the theory of global warming was wrong, years ago. Al Gore despicably went to great lengths to roast this honorable man.

When I saw the article reporting the end of the committee I posted this reply:

Jaw-dropping surprise. *wild cheering*

The committee’s arrogance is appalling. How can they possibly pat themselves on the back for a job well done, when even their own scientists admit it was based on lies?

Is the climate changing? Absolutely! The planet is not static, but to have the audacity to suggest that puny man is so powerful he controls the weather is beyond absurd; it’s ludicrous.

Will there be flooding? Yes. And there will be droughts. There will also be volcanoes and hurricanes and tornadoes. Welcome to Planet Earth, ever changing Sun Star included free! Don’t like the weather? Get over it! Earth has never been peaceful and tranquil everywhere, ever. So why is it expected now? Because they want it that way? How nice to believe that simply because you want it just so, it will happen, but not particularly practical.

Did they mention that many of those dollars in that stimulus bill disappeared when those companies went belly up because they weren’t actually viable? (The solar panel company sound familiar?) It takes more energy to recycle than to simply throw things away. We have to wash out anything plastic we recycle, and yet we’re supposed to conserve water. Many of the recycling plants simply throw away what is put in the recycling bins because it’s too expensive to recycle. It costs more to recycle than what they can make from it. It other words: They are losing money! What company would be allowed to survive if it’s cost for output was higher than it brought in? (not including green companies, of course.) If I spend more than I make, I can be prosecuted.

Those brilliant committee members now have time on their hands, so they need to go out and find a cheaper, more efficient way to make those green dreams come true, at the same time making more jobs, without being subsidized. When they do that, then they can brag about the wonderful things they did. For now, they’re only adding more hot air to the environment.

Why DC is under snow, I don’t know. You’d think with all that hot air the place would be snow free.

Hope I didn’t inadvertently say anything “illegal.” Clearly, I’ve been dealing with too much “your rhetoric is so… rabid,” simply because I don’t agree with the everything-would-be-perfect-if-you-would-just-cooperate crowd.

I found this quote at The Blaze in Stu Burguiere's blog, a few days after I posted the above, and decided to add it here.

MIT climatologist Richard Lindzen: "Wasting resources on symbolically fighting ever present climate change is no substitute for prudence. Nor is the assumption that the earth’s climate reached a point of perfection in the middle of the twentieth century a sign of intelligence."

Monday, January 17, 2011

Carpe diem... and Congratulations Andrew!

My nephew (one of several) received his mission call to the Nairobi Kenya Mission. A mission is something you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy, but you wouldn't want your best friend to miss it.

Thank God for sisters, those by blood and those of the heart.

I attended my first Zumba class, or, in other words, aerobics on steroids. I enjoyed it under my niece's tutelage. She is personable and encouraging, but not patronizing. However, being overweight as I am, I felt like a blimp among energizer bunnies. I'll stick with walking and teaching myself belly dancing, alone, for now anyway. I'm hopeful, optimistic... maybe delusional, but it's my delusion.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Thank goodness it's Sunday #36... Reading List #32

Counting my blessings for those little joys:

~Chris is STILL blooming!

~Locking the door. Whoohoo!

~A new plant, an Ivy, which of course will be named Ivy.

~Good Friends, who send unexpected ecards and emails to keep in touch.

~Good Books! Front Page Affair by Mira Lyn Kelly; Nanny Next Door by Michelle Celmer; The Society Wife by India Grey (all romances) and The Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life by Glenn Beck and Keith Ablow, M.D. I would recommend The 7 to anyone. I started reading it yesterday and finished it today. I've already starting incorporating some of the things I learned. Much of what I read I've already made a part of my life. It was like finding a bunch of puzzle pieces all at once and knowing exactly where they go. We'll see if I really get it or not. It should speak for itself.

Congratulations Ronaldo Rolim!!

Ronaldo Rolim won this year's Bösendorfer & Schimmel USASU International Piano Competition! My parents host one of the competitors every year, and this year we were privileged to welcome Ronaldo Rolim. What an honor to listen to him practice, for hours, every day. He has a gift, and he works hard to make the most of it. Add to that, he is a very pleasant person to be around. May God continue to bless and inspire him. Bravo!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Why people lie... part 2

I read yesterday's post to my BFF, and she asked for a bit of clarification. So, here it is:

Fake it till you make it ~ This is a great idea, in theory. Unfortunately, people find themselves not making it, so they're always faking it. Yes, sometimes you need to simply put a smile on your face, and you feel better. There are also times when putting that smile on your face feels likes it's carved with a knife. With the way "put on a happy face" is drilled in, it would seem as if the world thinks that there's something wrong with having a bad day or being sad or feeling out of sorts. "The world" is the adversary's domain, not God's. Christ admitted to being weary and sad, so it must be all right... Christ is the great Exemplar. Shortest verse in the scriptures: "Jesus wept."

Runaway Bride ~ The Bride is finally exposed for not knowing who she is or what she wants, for losing herself in her effort to always conform to everyone else. It wasn't until she discovers herself that she's finally able to include someone else in her far richer world that also blesses others more fully.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Why people lie...

My niece was complaining about people who fake it, and how frustrating it is trying to deal with them. Her thoughts prompted me to explore the question of why people lie. When I started my third round of therapy, five years ago, it was terribly unsettling to learn that I lied so often and so well. It was particularly difficult to accept because I'd been told I could be read like a book and that I was very transparent, and yet the people telling me this would then prove that they didn't know me at all.

So without further ado, a few of the reasons people say things like "I'm fine" regardless of how they are and other lies:

1) Remember the mantra FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT?

2) "I'm FINE ~ (Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional or Finally, I'm Not Emotional)." Either I don't believe you really want to know because a) you don't have time or b) you really DON'T want to know. Or I don't really want to share because a) I don't have time or b) I really don't want to talk about it, but I can't simply say nothing.

3) Don't want to hurt feelings.

4) Don't really know, and really don't want to figure it out at the moment, either, because there's a) no time or b) really don't want to know because if I know then A) I have to do something about it or B) lie to myself, again, and do nothing.

5) Habit.

6) Fear.

7) Trust issues (and yes this is different from straight outright fear). This could probably be a subheading under Fear, but I think it deserves it's own heading. It's a much more personal perspective.

8) There's a reason why Runaway Bride was popular, and it wasn't simply because of Julie Roberts and Richard Gere.

9) We lie because we want to fit in.

10) And I've lied to keep a secret that was not mine to tell, without a shred of guilt.

11) Probably the first lie: TO STAY OUT OF TROUBLE.

At least, these are some of the reasons I lie, though I'm truly endeavoring to recognize the lies and be honest about when and why I use them. There are times, I believe, when a lie is kinder. My favorite example is your best friend eagerly asks you if the hideous dress she just blew all her money on is pretty. She's thrilled with it; you hate it. Do you tell her the truth or lie? First you have ask yourself is what you're about to say really the truth or only your opinion. Your opinion is just that an OPINION, not necessarily the TRUTH. So, sometimes it's best to keep your opinion to yourself and give a feeling-sparing lie. You're so happy for her.

Actual experience: I was in a dress shop and the saleswoman showed me this red and black dress that I thought was the ugliest thing I'd ever seen. I didn't hide my opinion. Everyone who ever saw it on the hanger all agreed it was ugly. She encouraged me to try it on anyway, assuring me that it did look terrible on the hanger, but I'd love it. Sure, sure. I rolled my eyes. Really. And tried it on. It took my breath away. She was absolutely right! It was precisely my style and fit perfectly, showing my figure to the best advantage, as well as right for my coloring. I wore it for years and received compliments every time. I wanted to cry when I realized I really needed to let it go because it was wearing out. And I've never found another dress like it. I miss that dress, but I've always remembered the lesson I learned from it: It's good to question, and trusting an expert can be truly rewarding. :-)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A bit of clarification...

Margaret's reply to yesterday's post was helpful in focusing my struggle. I spent a lot of my life trying not to be noticed. A sense of if I hold still enough, the monster will pass me by and not see me, thereby leave me be, safe. I was going to say that the problem with that is that you miss out on life, but then I have to pull myself up short. Yes, sometimes I feel paralyzed, and yet I've traveled all over the country, lived on three different continents, enjoyed a variety of jobs, and have friends all over the world. That doesn't really sound like I'm missing out on life. Maybe, it's feeling like I'm missing out on the life I wanted to have instead of being grateful for the amazing life I do have. A matter of gratitude. So, Thank God for the wondrous life He has given me.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Endeavoring to live in faith...

It isn't easy. The new schedule worked out well, today, as I struggled with the small amount of work allotted me. A blessing. However, a small amount of work also means a small income. Fortunately, I've been working on living within my budget. A blessing. However, having a budget means planning ahead, and not knowing what even next week will bring makes that difficult. Again and again, I remind myself that God's way is the hard way. I constantly question myself, wondering if I'm putting in my best effort or simply falling into what's easiest. Sometimes, I wonder if I'm pro-active as I could be, or if I need to be still and see what God unveils. Choosing Christ, for me, was the only way, but choosing to live my life in Christ is definitely a trial as I work to overcome my less admirable traits and encourage my admirable ones. It is decidedly a growing experience.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Carpe diem... Reading list #31

My first day working in an office (other than my home office), in over 16 years, turned out all right. It ended up being 2-1/2 hours, not 6, for which I was grateful. The work will be sporadic, but at least it's work. I'm grateful for it. It does leave me unsettled and out of sorts. It's all very odd and uncomfortable. Why? I do not know.

The Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance is an anthology or collection of stories. My favorite, and the reason I bought the book, was Sandy Blair's "Her MacKinnon," followed by Anne Gracie's "The Laird's Vow," a pleasant surprise to find. I also enjoyed Connie Brockway's "The Laird's French Bride," a new writer to me, so I ordered one of her books. Chatam House series books two and three by Arlene James. The Huxtables series books one and two by Mary Balogh. I'm saving books three and four for closer to the release of book five. And the Matchmaking Mamas series one through four by Marie Ferrarella.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Thank goodness it's Sunday #35...

This video, Creation Calls -- are you listening? Music by Brian Doerksen, was posted at one of the blogs I follow, Fellowship of the Minds, and I wanted to share the sense of breathtaking awe I felt as I watched it.

Joel Osteen's message, today, was about the boll weevils of life. He related the history of the boll weevil in Enterprise, Alabama, where they trade out cotton for peanuts because boll weevils don't like peanuts. (Maybe their allergic.) It saved the town, which made more money on peanuts than it ever did on cotton. Joel talked about how problems in life, no matter what form they take, God is able to make into blessings. I'm feeling like the job situation is a boll weevil. I know God is in control, but sometimes I'm still afraid. Afraid I won't recognize the door God opens for me. Afraid I'll run into a wall. Afraid I'll make a mess. The fears are not ungrounded. I'm not perfect. I make mistakes. A lot of them. I frequently make life harder than it needs to be by virtue of my inept handling of some situations. Trying to take to heart Joel's final thought: "If there are boll weevils in your life, then peanuts are coming." Looking forward to peanuts.

In less than two hours, I made mash potatoes, steak, and mixed vegetables, ate it, cleaned up, and enjoyed cheesecake with blueberry sauce. I haven't made mash potatoes in years, but my potato ricer showed up in the mail yesterday (Christmas money), and I had to try it out. Yummy! It worked great! I also, for the first time, made a delicious gravy from the stuff at the bottom of the pan in which I cooked the steak. More cooking therapy. :-)

Packers won! Whoohoo! Great game!

Good friends and good books.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Prayer warriors...

I've always wanted to be one. My struggle with trust in God makes it difficult sometimes, and yet, I have no doubt God is there. God is not simply there but aware and pro-active. A day does not go by that He does not make His love for me evident in one way or another. Blessedly, there are people in my life who are awesome prayer warriors. I know that their prayers strengthen me, encourage me, and lift me. Prayer warriors not only believe in God but believe He will help and ask for that help. Prayer warriors believe and do. I'm learning to follow their examples.

Today, I pray for those who have been touched by violence, most especially those who have suffered in the shooting, this morning, in Tucson. I know there are those who would ask where is God, but I know that God did not abandon. His ways are not our ways. Evil exists and struggles to fight against God. Free will is what it is: the freedom to act for ourselves. We decide if we will choose good or evil, each and every one of us. That being said, no matter what we choose, God is able to work all things for good, eventually. Evil will loose, in the end, but it will also cause as much damage as possible before the end. I cannot accept responsibility for someone else's choices, only my own. I choose to trust God. I choose to pray for peace and comfort for the victims and their families. I also pray for those responsible that justice will be served and that I will be able to release the anger and desire for vengeance and leave them to the proper channels and God.

Friday, January 7, 2011

It happens in a blink...

I love the song "Blink" by Revive.

Life has been a bit more adventurous than I like. Routines are good. God likes to shake things up, especially when He sees a greater opportunity available. There's been a bit of upheaval with work because of all the new regulations. Yesterday, it was intimated that I may not have a job any more. ACK! I endeavored to remain calm, and trust God. Not easy, when I already know that God can and will throw me under the bus if He sees a higher purpose to it all. Not comforting to me, in the short run. I know that in the long run His plan is always better, not easier, better. In fact, God's way is the hard way. God isn't interested in the easy way; He wants the most bang for His buck. Huge error in judgement: People believe that if they trust in God, it will be easy. NOT. If you trust in God, the worst in life is bearable, and the best in life is even better.

I struggled with the possible implications, and though I turned it over to God, yesterday, I struggled with it again, today. Do I truly believe God has my best interest at heart? Am I truly willing to accept whatever He sends my way? Yesterday, I tackled the work I had, and by the time I finished, I was at peace. Today, I made cheesecake. I couldn't afford shopping therapy, especially if I was losing work, but cooking therapy is great too, especially now that I'm better about portion sizes. Still using up that six-year-old cream cheese. And it is delicious! Remembered some of my old cooking secrets. Yummy.

Finally, I felt at peace, not because I accepted that the job might be gone, but that I decided I wasn't going to worry about it, today, or tomorrow, or the next day. I'd worry about it Monday, when I'd be given more information. I settled. Then I received a phone call, asking if I'd be willing to help out, part time. I don't know if I'll be paid. I don't care. It is something to do! Something to keep me busy, in a useful way. Everyone needs to be needed, to feel like they contribute, even if they pretend otherwise. I'm looking forward to a change in my routine. I'll miss some things about my old routine, but look forward to the adventure God is leading. I trust HIm a little bit more.

Unexpected result: I have never had a lock on my bedroom door. Ever. I hate that. I unearthed my trusty screwdriver, and went hunting for a doorknob I could use. The first one I tried couldn't be fully dismantled. Fine. Then, God inspired, I know, I checked my storage room door. Whoohoo!! A locking mechanism. It's never used. I traded. All by myself. I did it. Now, I have a door that locks!! I'm so excited. I'M THE KING OF THE WORLD! Not really, but I feel damn good.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Epiphany

Today is the celebration of the arrival of the Wise Men. It's as good a day as any. After all, the only reason we speak of three is because of the three gifts brought, gold, frankincense, and myrrh. It could have been six kings or two or nine. We don't know. We only know they came from the East, and that they stopped in and had a chat with Herod. Their entire appearance is recorded in Matthew 2:1-12. That's it. The important thing is to remember that strangers to Israel followed a star to worship the King of the Jews, the King of Heaven and Earth and all that encompasses. They listened to dreams, because they received in a dream the directive not to return to Herod but to depart a different way, and they obeyed. The Wise Men followed their hearts to find Him. And wise men seek Him, still.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

On the twelfth day of Christmas...

Well, twelfth day and twelfth night are a bit confusing. It is supposed to be the end of the Christmas season, but Jan 6 is Epiphany. There are a wide variety of traditions. Got to love Wikipedia. :-) What I've chosen to take from the possibilities, this year, are taking down the decorations. That's it. It's my first time, so I'm starting small, in that respect.

My true love gave to me redemption.

That is what Christmas is all about: The birth of Jesus Christ, my Savior, the One who changed the world, one person at a time, and saves all who accept Him. In an earlier post, it was pointed out that one need only choose Christ once. Yes, once you set your foot on His path you are His. That being said, because I am His, I want to be more like Him. I want to be a better person. I'm not perfect. I make mistakes. I need God's saving Grace. I don't believe that gives me permission to do whatever, right or wrong. I do believe that by accepting Him, I also accept that my life will change and that life is about practicing the changes He wants for me.

I don't believe in forgiving and utterly forgetting. If one forgets entirely, how do you keep from making the same mistake? I also have no illusions about the reality of evil. You only have to face it once to know it's real. Facing it repeatedly, leaves a brand that goes soul deep, but it's a brand that Christ and only Christ is able to heal. It is only the "world" that declares scars are ugly. I know, I've been told often enough. I have been told that men are stupid and don't marry girls with a face as scarred as mine is. I've also been told that beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes all the way to the bone. Those who said those things would decry the meaning I took from those words, but their actions drove the meaning home, again and again. Is it any wonder I feel ugly?

But you see, Christ doesn't care about how I look, even down to the bone. What matters to Him is this: "...I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands..." Christ was born, lived, was crucified, and then resurrected for me. It is that knowledge that fills me with Hope, though Hope seems impossible. It is that knowledge that reminds me that no matter how confusing I find Love to be, considering the warp, twisted examples I knew, He Loves me, and as I am His, Love lives in me. God, my True Love.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

On the eleventh day of Christmas...

My true love gave to me adventures!

I've lived on three different continents, done a wide variety of jobs, attended enough classes for a bachelor's degree (if only they were all in one course of study), traveled extensively, read ferociously, tried new things, explored new places, made remarkable friends that expand my heart and my world.

Then there are adventures like today. I used my last check in the current bunch and needed to find the next one. But where did I put it? I searched for two hours. High and low. Seemingly everywhere. I knew I couldn't find it on my own. I prayed. I looked in some of the same places (and sorted through some things while I was at it for throwing away and giving away), and looked places I hadn't yet. I endeavored to analyze my own thought process. Of course, I made sure I put it some place where it would be safe. And it was, even from me. No luck. I was beginning to feel frustrated and a little desperate. I prayed again, more intensely. Yes, it was found in the last place I looked (a silly observation if ever there was one), but it truly was incredibly well hidden. And I wouldn't have found it without God's help because I didn't know it was there. Those are not my favorite kind of adventures, but adventures nonetheless. It did give me the opportunity to rid myself of quite a few things I no longer need and find some things I'd forgotten and wanted more accessible. AND I most certainly exercised. :-) So, all in all, not a bad adventure.

Monday, January 3, 2011

On the tenth day of Christmas...

My true love gave to me inspiration.

Today is JRR Tolkien's birthday, and Tolkienites the world over will be raising a glass in a toast to the Professor at 9:00 p.m. Because of my love for his work, I've made changes in my life, found friends I never would have imagined knowing, explored new opportunities, and found a whole new world opened to me.

The list of those who inspire me is gargantuan, from Jesus Christ to my furry angel children. Then there are the things that inspire me, anything from flowers to sunrises and sunsets, to the ocean, forests, paintings, photographs, music, and again the list is endless. All good things come from God.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

On the ninth day of Christmas...

My true love gave to me dear friends.

Friends that are family, and friends that I would choose as family. Friends that live nearby, and friends that live thousands of miles away. Friends with whom I have broken bread, and friends I have never met in person. All are souls who have enriched my life and enhanced my world with light and warmth and joy.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

On the eight day of Christmas...

My true love gave to me renewal.

I reflected on the Christmas gifts I gave myself, last year, and found I'd actually fulfilled each, to one degree or another. This year, I decided to continue and did a bit of fine tuning.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!