Monday, February 28, 2011

Carpe diem... unexpected...

Laundry, as usual, was done, along with a few other little chores. Then came hours of work I hadn't planned on doing but found very satisfying. God's plans are remarkable and baffling. :-) He unfolds them as He wills. And watching with interest, and endeavoring to do my part. He has blessed me with more than a few mortal guardian angels, for whom I am truly grateful. I'm tired, and... at peace.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #42

~Carl was unhurt, and able to return to the track to gain more points. Disappointing, but it could have been worse. :-)

~Old friends who push me to meet new friends.

~New friends who feel like old friends from the very first moment.

~Accomplishing more than planned, sooner than planned, and then discovering needed changes, so it ends up being right on time.

~Fresh from the oven chocolate chip scones.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My life is not what I expected...

...but I'm learning to be not only okay but happy with that. For the first time in my life I feel like I'm being true to myself, not perfectly, but better than ever before. I'm asking myself some difficult questions. I've taken Thomas Jefferson's admonish to heart: "Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear." God exists. God is good. God loves us so much He was willing to send His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, to live on earth, showing us the perfect example. He loves us so much He was willing to allow His Beloved son to be sacrificed for us. Jesus loves us so much, He was willing to endure the pains of Hell for us, so He would know where to find us and know how to comfort us because He really and truly understands.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Another day, and feeling better...

Amazing what finishing a project will do for you. I'm still a little wired, but that's easing.

In browsing the various blogs I follow, We Are One posted this link to One Angry Daughter. The post is about four questions that should be asked in the boardroom, but it works outside of it, too. It was exactly what I needed, right now. It builds on what I've been working on. I wanted to post it here so I'd know where to find it quickly and easily, to remind myself what I'm striving to achieve more fully in my life: a sense of peace despite all the upheavals.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Carpe diem... Happy President's Day

Did you know that Washington served in the British army? Honorably! I learned that this year. The cherry tree legend is a lie; I've know this for a long time. What kind of nitwit thinks it's a good idea to teach children to tell the truth by telling them a lie? And we wonder why we have problems with ethics, now? Hello!

Hate when I can't sleep at night. Makes the day feel like an obstacle course, all day long.

Drives me crazy when other people think they know what's wrong with you, and if you would simply ___________, then you'd be so much better off. Huh. Come closer, so I can re-arrange your face, ie, make your mouth disappear for starters.

Sleep deprivation has some interesting side effects. I tend to keep myself in the state because it keeps the nightmares away. Too tired for them. But when I'm feeling this kind of edgy, can't sleep, the mind doesn't have quite the same restraints. Then again, this is probably also a byproduct of PMS. Yippee, skippy! This is frequently when God finds Himself on the other end of a Scotch blessing. Well, He started it! Go ahead, try to argue with me on that one.

Sending myself to my room, now. Oh, wait, I'm already here! Great. Okay, God, now what?

How's that for a completely different perspective? :-) Don't let life become boring. It's far too short.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #41

~Rain is good. We need rain. Blessedly, there was no lightening and no power outage.

~Reading contest entries are read, rated, and ready to be submitted. Whew.

~Racing season has officially started!! Whoohoo! And Carl came in second!! It was a fantastic race in Daytona!

~Retreated mostly this week. Sometimes, it's a good idea to step back and re-evaluate. God has kindly blessed me with friends who are supportive and understanding.

~Recommitting to follow where God leads. It isn't easy, especially when it doesn't fit what many others think is the best path. It's scary to turn your life over to God, with no clue as to what the next step might be. I know too well that God does not always deliver us. I often joke with my sister that God doesn't really care if we live or die because He sees the bigger picture, the completed tapestry, the beginning from the end. Whatever we suffer He knows. I do believe He weeps with us because His compassion is all encompassing. But that doesn't change the truth that in our suffering and tribulation God sees possibilities beyond our imagining. Where do I find any comfort in all that? I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that we are never, ever alone. God is always near. We may turn away. We may shun Him. But He is ever faithful. It is who He is. He is everywhere, so how could we ever be alone? Now, I freely admit that there are times when I don't hear Him, but that is because I don't understand the message. Before I gained my personal testimony of God, I often felt alone, empty. Now, the loneliness I feel is about my feeling of being cut off by my own lack of understanding. Even as I berate myself for this or that mistake, I sense God's loving presence, waiting me out, eternally patient with me, until I "wind down," and acknowledge Him. Perhaps all this upheaval in my life is God's way of giving me a gentle shake, that 2x4 I asked for. My future seems terribly bleak and uncertain, right now. I'll not be taking my annual California trip because canceling is practical, my finances/job situation being what they are. Perhaps what this week has really been about is me mourning. I go to L.A. twice a year, only for a weekend. I quietly refer to them as my health vacations. It's a relief to escape the constant need to be on guard. They remind me what is healthy, sustain me, and strengthen me for the next six months, until I'm able to return again for another weekend of sanity. I've been admitting, this week, I'm angry with God about a few things, and this is one more. The frustration of believing I'm following God's will and having the ground fall away and all the doors close and not a window in sight. That being said, I still believe in God. I still turn to God. I still ask God, "What next?" So, okay, God, what next?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ever have one of those days...

...or one of those weeks, when all you want to do is crawl back into bed, pull the covers over your head, and pretend the world is far, far away? Yep, it's been that kind of week. There have been a few bright spots, mostly time blessed by friends. I look around me and want to weep. Tonight, I'm placing all in God's hands. I'll not promise to leave it there. I've a lot of years of practice carrying the load myself, but tonight, I'm firmly handing it all over to God. As Mary Ellen Edmonds quoted Mary Crowley, "Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He's going to be up all night anyway." Well, I haven't learned how to do it every evening, but tonight, I am. And that is all that God expects of me, in this moment.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Closing your eyes to evil...

...does not make it go away.

Freedom in Chains by Deena Remiel

This well-written essay isn't easy to read. It's harder knowing that this story is far too common. Sadder still are all those who are still trapped. And for those who think that it doesn't happen to their friends or in their neighborhood, think again. I grew up on a street with a pedophile, an evil man who preyed on children of varying ages, and required that they prey on each other or be punished. Where were the parents of these children? Unbelieving that such evil could exist, regardless of the fact that they were Bible readers. For some reason, it never occurred to them that God wanted them to know the face of evil, so they would recognize it and crush it. I was saved from that heinous situation by my sister. She bargained me out. I remember.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Feeling out of sorts...

Sometimes, life is like that. Today is. I took a break, today. Feeling emotionally unsettled. So not liking PMS. Which is why I'm not too horribly worried about not much being accomplished. I'm tired, too, which doesn't help. I go to bed, at a reasonable hour, and then lay there with my mind exhibiting heavy tendencies to ADD. This is one of the times I miss my dog the most. She had a specific bedtime, and I was expected to go to bed as well. And stroking her soft fur was incredibly calming.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My life is never boring...

A very dear friend used to say that to me all the time, and for her, it was true. In fact, when I was feeling really crumby and my world seemed to be dark as pitch, with no hope in sight anywhere, I'd call her. She would listen to me complain and fret and cry. Once it was all out, to someone I knew understood and cared, I was able to breath and ask, "Now tell me about you, I know my problems will seem like nothing." And comparatively speaking, they were, but she never disregarded my troubles or belittled them in any way. She would tell her tale of woe, and then the next thing I knew she had us both laughing with her dark humor. She taught me about strength, courage, perseverance, endurance, falling down and picking yourself up again. She was a God-given gift, and I almost missed out on her. Thank God I wised up, with her help. There are so many things I want to tell her, want to know what she thinks. She's with God now, and has been for a year and a half. I miss her.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Carpe diem... Happy Valentine's Day

Bah humbug. :-)

Laundry was done. Made chocolate chip cookies. Worked on a couple of projects. Tried not to think about my change in work status. Did a bit of honest reflecting. I'm struggling with trusting God. I want to trust Him. I do. What's not to trust in the One who is all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving? And yet, a part of me does not. I keep circling back to my counselor's last inadvertent can of worms. He thought we were on the same page. I'll never forget the jaw-drop look on his face when he said, "You don't know what it is to be secure." Nope. Haven't a clue. So, I'm learning as I go. Sometimes, I think I'm doing pretty good, and other times it's like having a boulder on top of me that I can't move. I've learned to wait out those boulders. A new day will come. Sometimes it brings a respite; sometimes it doesn't. I actually accomplished quite a lot, today. But there has been that underlying hum of fear that does not go away, ever. That being said, I am not giving up. Giving up simply isn't in my nature, or at least it doesn't seem to be. I'm no one's idea of successful or "together," but God didn't ask that of me. He has only asked that I don't give up on Him, and not for Him but for me.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #40

~The opportunity to make new friends.

~All kinds of help from dear friends.

~Family members that are friends.

~Books that are friends (you knew books had to be here).

~Inspiration from my Eternal Friend, God.

Side note: Buttermilk syrup does not go well with blueberry pancakes. Note to self: Love blueberries, dried, in muffins, and yogurt, but no more blueberry pancakes. What's the point of pancakes, if you can't have buttermilk syrup?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Today's internet blessing...

...or, in other words, blessings in my life because of the wonder of the internet. I became acquainted with a friend, a few years ago, via the internet. We emailed. We met at an LOTR event , ALEP. We've talked on the phone occasionally. I kept hearing about this person's friend, who lives in the city that neighbors mine. We finally emailed. Life happened. Time passed. Then I learned that someone I had wanted to know better had passed away. I had met them, over a year ago, and was too nervous to pursue any kind of friendship. I figured there was plenty of time. There wasn't. I emailed this friend's friend. I was nervous. We met, today. It feels as if I have known them F-O-R-E-V-E-R. We chatted, for HOURS! It was fantastic and fun, and I came away feeling uplifted. Coincidence = God incident.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The decision is always mine...

I may choose God has my strength or not. I've learned that I'm weak. With God, that doesn't seem to matter so much. He is strong enough to carry me, lead me, guide me, inspire me, lift me, comfort me, love me. And He takes pleasure in sending someone else to do it for Him, for then two lives are blessed, not just one. And what a privilege when *I* am the one He uses.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Naps are great...except...

...that now I'm wide awake, and not the least interested in going to sleep. The brain is racing anyway. If only there were some way for me to translate that racing into exercise. I'd be in the best shape ever! Stepping back and looking at my life gives me an absolutely terrifying view. However, facing each day, one at a time, is quite manageable. It is a huge leap of faith to take one step at a time, especially when one is walking the edge of an abyss, to trust that God will provide a place to step when it seems like the only thing there is air. Those who make that step are superheroes, for that step is bigger than any building Superman had to leap. I haven't had to make it quite yet, and I pray I have the courage when the time comes. And if I crash, I pray I have the courage to pick myself up, again.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Smiling, from the inside out...

It's been a long time since I've felt this way. It's been a long time since I've allowed something to completely capture my attention. I wish I could keep doing what I'm doing, but sleep beckons, a necessity, so time to quiet down. One day at a time. Reminding myself that God holds all in His hands, and He is able to turn anything bad that happens for good. And I remind myself that God's ways are not our ways, and His understanding not our understanding. And how grateful I am that God knows I'm limited in my thinking, and He's willing to patiently lead me along.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A quote...

A very dear friend shared this quote with me, last month, and I think today is a good day to pass it along:

I would not wish what I endured upon anyone. But I would wish where my endurance, where my experiences took me.....upon *everyone*.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Carpe diem... just when you think God isn't listening...

...or at least you wonder if He is listening, something like this happens: I've been struggling with my regular work being in limbo. In these uncertain times having your main source of income all but evaporate isn't just scary, it's terrifying. Bills still have to be paid, groceries purchased. Cutting back to nothing is not an option. Plans to travel to visit friends have to be put on hold because that money tucked away may be needed to pay those bills and for those groceries. I had been asked to call the office, this afternoon, to see what time they want me to come in to work, tomorrow. About an hour before I planned to call, I took to my knees, and prayed to God, pouring out my worries about meeting my financial obligations. I explained that I wasn't sure if I should continue to pursue this line of work, but I felt I needed to try because the financial obligations will not disappear. In the back of my mind, I wondered if I should center my focus on the projects He has placed on my heart. You probably already know where this is going. A half hour before I planned to call the office and about a half hour after I finished my prayer, the office called me. They don't have anything for me to do, right now. SO, I guess I'll center my focus on what He has placed on my heart. Imagine that. LOL! It does not mean my worries about my financial obligations have gone away, but there's a peace in knowing that God really does want me to continue on the path He has placed before me.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #39

~WHOOHOO!!!!! CONGRATULATIONS GREEN BAY PACKERS!!! *wild cheering from the peanut gallery*

~SIL and nieces sharing the game with me! It's a lot more fun than cheering alone.

~Dear friends who share their gifts and talents with me.

~Books by writers I thoroughly enjoy.

~White Cheddar Cheese Popcorn, cheeseburgers, my chocolate chip cookies, my homemade pizza, sweet potato fries, hot dogs, biscotti dipped in hot chocolate.

~Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savoir. No matter how difficult my life becomes, or how hopeless it seems, I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that He understands perfectly. He loves me, and never abandons me. He makes all things livable, including death. Because of Him, we know that death is not the end. Thank God.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Follow up on yesterday's post...

My dear friend Margaret's encouraging post touched me deeply, warming my heart and lifting my spirit. It also brought to light something I've been dealing with this week. Many years ago, I felt God had given me a path to follow. I did, with an almost zealous single-mindedness. Nothing came of it. Years later, I am finally acknowledging that I'm angry with God. I have felt betrayed. All that time and energy and effort spent on a journey that took me seemingly nowhere. I've poured out my anger and hurt to God. Do I believe it fell on deaf ears? Not for a moment. It comes back to my personal conviction that it's better to be angry with God and tell Him about it, than to turn my back on the one thing in the universe that ultimately is able to offer the peace I seek. I truly do endeavor to not cut off my nose to spite my face. I also remind myself that in the tapestry we call Life, I see the bottom, while God sees the magnificently completed top. It's a matter of trust. Not an easy concept for an abuse survivor, but not impossible. With God, all things are possible.

Today was mostly a good day. I worked on what I believe God has placed on my heart, for most of the day, and accomplished not only what I planned but a little more, too.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Some days are a study in contrast...

I struggled, this morning, with thoughts of where I'd always wanted to be compared to reality. I'm feeling the stress of the change in my financial/job situation. I'm trying to be faithful to God and trust in Him, but I'm back to wondering if I'm doing all I am able for myself. Then I start working on my project, and worries disappear. I'm captivated and at peace, and even feel joy. I can't explain it. Thank God, I have wonderfully supportive friends, for whom I am truly grateful. This life would be unbearable without them.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Taking Life one day at a time...

Tax stuff is delivered to the tax accountant. Scary. It's even more scary when he says that with all the rough patches we've had in this country over the last 40 years, this is 10x worse than any of them. *gulp* My job history isn't stellar except that I have kept working at one thing or another. By that I mean I've never been fired, and I've only left jobs because my circumstances required it and not without having a plan in place for something else. I have been laid off because work disappeared. I thought I'd finally found something I could stick with for the next 20 or 30 years. Healthcare is secure, right? Nope. So, my life is in God's hands. If I think beyond today, my heart pounds and I feel like a deer in headlights. So, I focus on today, and what needs to be done, today. I don't need a lot. I've learned to live frugally. I'm happy working part time, because more than six hours a day, and my body quits. That being said, I prefer more than six hours a week. Just sayin... Please? Okay, God, officially laying it all at Your door because I truly don't know what more to do.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Still learning about myself...

I have discovered that I prefer to do the practical tasks of the day in the morning, running errands, work, catching up on email and news. About two or three o'clock in the afternoon, it's as if a switch turns on. Any worrying or fretting I've been feeling seems to evaporate, and I'm able to focus. It's remarkable. It's also a little unsettling. Then there are the questions: How long have I been like this, and why haven't I figured it out sooner? Who knows? God knows. How grateful I am that the Great Creator is so patient with His willful children.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Inspiration from reading The 7...

I've been visiting The 7 website since I finished reading the book in early January. I pre-ordered it and read it in one weekend. I found it inspiring.

Most people have no idea how much I fight with putting myself "out there," in any way, shape, or form. It terrifies me. There's a reason my parents nicknamed me "hermit," back when I was a tween. Every social encounter, online or in person, is a victory for me. I did it. I didn't hide. I didn't stay silent. I didn't remain unobserved. I didn't cower, in the corner, praying I wouldn't be noticed.

I've been lurking at The 7 website since it first appeared, and finally stirred up enough courage to post under the second post by Dr. Ablow. I was so touched by the people posting remarks, and more especially the love and support they were giving each other. I finally add my own post:

The most important thing I've gained here is knowing that I am not alone. I'm sorry that so many people are in so much pain, and selfishly grateful to know I have some remarkable company, so maybe I'm not so bad. I'm not the only one who grew up feeling worthless, wondering what I had to offer, struggling to forgive, feeling trapped by the past, and worrying about where my future is going. When I read The 7 I was less than half way through writing the self-help book my counselor asked me to write, last summer. I read The 7, and knew I couldn't continue to waffle about what I was doing. I finished The 7 in two days, and decided that my own book needed to be finished, the first draft anyway, by the end of the month. Last night, I sent the rough draft to a dear friend who has edited professionally. I did it. I'm excited and terrified at the same time, and wondering what in the world I was thinking. Oh, that's right, Glenn and Keith were inspired to write a book that inspired me. Some of this stuff is plain scary. Taking that step into the darkness and trusting God will provide a light, soon. May God bless each of us in our journey.