Saturday, September 29, 2012

Harvest Moon...


The harvest moon began to rise
Tonight at six oh five.

With camera in hand,
My feet in the sand,
I walked on the beach in vain.
The moon was hidden by the rain.

The morning sun will soon to rise
Behind the clouds at six thirty five.

I stretch and yawn,
I won't last till dawn.
The harvest moon will set
Another chance I will get.

The full moon will again be mine
Tonight at six thirty nine.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Five on Friday...

     No, not the movie.  Nor the deadly sins.  A few weeks ago a fellow blogger pointed me to a web page for Sevenly.  They are a group of really incredible people who each week create and promote a [very cool looking] t-shirt design and then donate $7 from each sale to their charity of the week.

     Today on Facebook, they challenged all of their fans to think of seven things over the weekend that they are thankful for.

     Just seven?  I can think of many more than that, especially after looking at some of the past charities that Sevenly has supported.

     I am thankful to be able to take a breath of air, to be able to see, hear, speak, taste and touch.  I am thankful to have a roof over my head, electricity, and clean running water.  To have food and a bed to sleep on.  I am thankful to have a friend with a car who doesn't mind driving me around to run errands and go to doctor appointments... and to be able to walk when she cannot.  I am thankful to be somewhat healthy right now.  I am thankful for answered prayers... and the knowledge that sometimes no answer means something better is in store for me.  I am thankful for family, friends, my [awesome] dog and cat, and the knowledge that I never have to walk alone in the darkness.

     I am thankful to just be.  What are you thankful for?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Falling...

    My town house has skylights in the upstairs bathrooms, and there is a large oak tree next to my unit.  Acorns have been falling, hitting the skylights and sounding like a gunshot.  Sometimes they fall on the aluminum roof that was added to the back of my unit, extending the roof over the upstairs deck.

     Normally, I wouldn't hear the sounds of the acorns hitting, but I have absolutely no air conditioning at all now since the owner of the window unit I had been using in the bedroom took it back.  The door to the deck is open to let in what little breeze there is from the south.  I am one knock at the door away from being homeless and so am reluctant to spend any of the funds I do have on getting the air conditioning unit outside fixed.  I've already been pricing a small space heater to buy when the [answered prayer] gift card arrives so I will be prepared for winter should I still be here.

     Yesterday, I was able to do some food stamp grocery shopping with a friend who also struggles financially to make ends meet, but is fortunate to have a car.  We took advantage of a store's "buy one get one" free sales, and were able to actually get quite a bit of food for both of us.  She has been a blessing to me by driving me around on errands, and I was grateful to be able to help her out with the groceries.

     I find myself falling frequently... falling to my knees in gratitude for what I have... for people in my life... and for the peaceful assurance that "this too shall pass."  I have nothing... but realize that with God in my life... I have everything.

     Fall into gratitude this season of thanksgiving.  Be thankful for life.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fall hummers...

     I have a bottle brush tree that I planted for the sole purpose of attracting hummingbirds in the spring and fall.

     Neighbors a few houses down used to have one that was almost as tall as their 2nd floor window.  After I moved into my home in 2001, each spring and fall it would be filled with the squeaks, pips, zooms, and rush of hummingbirds as they stopped on their journey north or south.  I loved to stand under that tree and just watch them, ducking as one brushed by my head in defense of the flowers it had chosen for its own.



     One day in 2008, I came home from work and the tree was gone.  For whatever reasons, the neighbors had decided to cut it down and put it into a chipper.  I was heartbroken and hoped that there had not been any nests with eggs in it.  Several months later, I scrimped and saved to have an old palm tree pulled up and my own bottle brush tree planted.

      It isn't yet as big as their tree was, but it is getting there, and today, I saw my first fall hummingbird.
     Life is good.  This may not be my home for much longer, but today, it felt like home for the first time since I've been back.

     My wish for fall is to always be blessed with the presence of hummingbirds... to find a new home soon where I can plant a half dozen bottle brush trees... flower gardens to attract all kinds of beautiful birds and butterflies... and herb gardens to attract all kinds of friends and family to my kitchen...

Faith...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Taking a leap...

     I blogged [here] about stepping out in faith last week and pledging to support a local Christian radio station, WAY-FM.  In truth, it was a HUGE leap of faith for me.  I have just $16 in my bank account and I pledged $10 a month.  My first month is covered but then... I have faith that God will figure it out because He has control of all things in my life.  The good.  The bad.  The ugly [which, by the way, is me in the mornings without coffee].

     Here is what I didn't share and how this all has just turned into such an amazing blessing.

     Normally I listened to Family Life Radio [also an awesome Christian radio station, but I didn't know WAY-FM was even on the air].  During a thunderstorm two weeks ago, I came in from walking Trooper and found that my radio in the living room had changed to WAY-FM.  So I said "Okay, God, I'll listen to them."  [I mean, really, who wants to argue with God when He is always right, ya know?]

     Last week they started their pledge drive for support, and as part of the drive, they were doing drawings for various items... gift cards for gas or stores and iPads.  When I first started feeling God press on my heart to donate, I thought about doing it just to try to win one of the store gift cards.  But I realized that I wouldn't be doing it for the right reason, and I kept looking at that balance in my bank account and thinking I really couldn't afford it.

     But God kept pressing and I finally reached for the phone and made my pledge.  I hadn't been paying attention to the gift drawings and wasn't even sure if my name would go into any hat or not.  I made my pledge strictly in faith that He would take care of everything else in my life.

     When I hung up the phone, they started talking about the upcoming drawing, just twenty minutes later, for an iPad.  I knew then with a certainty that I can't explain that my name would be drawn... and it was.

     In all honesty, if I had known I was going to be a winner, I would have pledged during one of the gift card drawings because I really could have used that instead of an iPad.  I even tried a few times to get through to the station to tell them that I really didn't need an iPad and they could use it in another drawing.  But the lines were always busy.

     Yesterday I got a call from the local station manager asking if I would much rather have a gift card, instead of the iPad.  I said yes.

     I am overwhelmed with gratitude at how God is so good, and so true to His promises.

"He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many."
~ 2 Corinthians 1:10-11 ~ 
God is good all the time, even in times of darkness.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sticks and Stones

Sticks and stones
may break my bones
but words will never hurt me.

     I wish that childhood rhyme were true.  Unfortunately words often create more damage than sticks or stones might.  Wounds that won't heal because the mind repeats those words like a broken record, spinning round and round forever.

You will never amount to anything.
You're so stupid.
You'll never be good enough.
You're so ugly 
[or fat or scrawny or any other physically descriptive negative word].

     Stopping that record from playing takes time... and work.  Painful work because often those words imbed themselves so deeply into our psyche that we are not aware of the hurt until we are adults.  We can look back over the choices we've made ~ the good, the bad and the ugly ~ and see the patterns that we want to change.

     What often makes healing from those words so difficult is that they can start from childhood.   The things that children say to each other on playgrounds... sibling rivalries... parents lashing out in frustration and anger.

     Children pick up words and mannerisms from the world around them.  They model what they see and hear.  Words flung like weapons on the playground reflect what they have heard before somewhere else.

     Those "weapons" heard on the playground, in classrooms, or at home may forever become a repeating record if someone does not make a conscious effort to change it before they become memories that can never be forgotten... and wounds that never heal.

     A few months ago, a five-year-old neighboring child called me a mother f*&%^r.  Five years old with a trashy mouth that he inherited up from his mother.   His older brothers (ages eight and eleven) frequently threatened to kill me, one even waving a metal pipe in my face.

     It is sad to know that those boys will grow up hearing those words, seeing that anger and violence... and sad to know that record will continue to play for them all their lives... and play for their children... and for their grandchildren.

     Stop the record.

     Stop the cycle of violence, anger, hate-filled words.

     Stop and think of what you are about to say....

     .... and instead teach and speak words of love and encouragement.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Found treasures...

     I found a back-up disc today that was really what it said it was.  2004.  Oh the treasures I found...  With the exception of Oreo, everyone else is waiting for us at Rainbow Bridge.
Oreo shortly after he was found and given to me.


My absolute favorite picture of Mandy (L) and Cali (R) - brother and sister.
 
A day or two after his eyes opened.


Princess Ebony

Tink giving kisses to Ebony the day she was found and given to me

Everyone loved sleeping with Tink

Cali - the day we picked her up and brought her and Mandy home

My very first pug, Chynna


Saturday, September 22, 2012

With faith I walk...

     I made a pledge commitment today to help support a Christian radio station. I pledged an amount I am sure that I will be able to fit into my [extremely] tight budget. I did it because I felt God was telling me to act in faith. Walk in faith.

     That is the amazing thing about faith. Not only does it sustain you in your darkest times, it assures you that these are really not the darkest times. That these times that seem like they are the worst of times... they will pass and the sun will shine again.

     What was amazing was that not long after I hung up the phone, I felt a peace about everything, and I know without a doubt that things are going to get better.

     I have the faith of a mustard seed...

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it." 
~ Luke 12:27-29 NIV ~
Image Source: Echoes of Stars Etsy Shop


Friday, September 21, 2012

Lessons...

     Sometimes things get lost when they get shuffled down in the process of creation... so I was thinking about creating pages on my blog to the topics that I feel strongest about so they will always be right in your line of sight.  No more of this out of sight, out of mind business.

     Sometimes I wish I could have page tabs like that on everything.  Little reminders.  Sticky notes.  I do write one up for the things I don't want to forget.  I find myself carrying pen and paper everywhere so that I can jot a thought down.

     But I wonder how many things I have forgotten about... that I didn't want to forget.  Those lessons that were so painful to learn the first go around... that you find yourself amazed when you suddenly realize...

     Here I am again!?!?  Didn't I pass this test once before?  Perhaps not.  Where are my sticky notes?  I want to remember this time... 

     Sometimes we are not repeating a lesson because we failed to learn the first go around, but because we need to share what we learned with someone else.  So the lesson is not for you... but so that you can hold someone else up when they take the test.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sunset...

Sunset over the Dupont Bridge
Thunder clouds in the east...
Yeah, he's the man

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Waiting...

"Aren't you done taking pictures yet?"
"I was taking a nap." 
 "Go.Away.Now."

Oreo's face is losing some of the signs of the summer bug bites.
He has been spending more time inside than what he had the year and a half that we were apart.
He is healthier, better food and fed more often.
This is the 'child' I bottle raised from two days old.  
Now he is nine years old.
We are almost the same age in cat years.
He would be fifty-two to my fifty.
My how time flies...
Tink and Oreo in 2003 ~ Oreo had just begin to learn how to walk.



Fall...

     A cold front pushed through Monday night and Tuesday.  Fall is finally on the way and I have windows open to welcome the cool winds.  This picture was taken yesterday at sunset  while the last of the rain washed through.

     Fall is my favorite season.  I love the new birth and growth that comes in Spring.  But after the harsh heat and/or humidity of the summer, that first hint of Fall in the air can be even more invigorating.  It adds a spring to my steps as I get ready for the changing seasons.

     Fall makes it is easier to sleep at night and easier to breath in the day.  As the days get shorter and cooler, the anticipation of the holidays build as well.  Colors become more vibrant.

     Like the setting sun over the trees as viewed from a second floor window in the middle of a rain storm. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pr31:18 Proofreading Services

Matthew 7:7
 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
~ Proverbs 31:17-18 ~ 

      I have way too much time on my hands.  I've been looking for a job, without a vehicle to get me to an interview or work even if I got a job.  Walking is always an option, and today's 5.64 mile round trip walk just to get something notarized and mailed made me realize that if I want a job I can walk to... I might want to look closer to home or wait until cooler weather.  But the bills won't wait for any of that and today on my walk I realized that if it was going to be difficult for me to get to a job, maybe I should be looking for jobs I can bring to me.

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Thought of you...


     I found this photo on a camera that came to Florida before I did.  It hasn't had any batteries in it since April, or a memory card.  This was one of twelve photos that were in the internal memory, and the only one that was in focus or made any sense.

     Someone had thought of me...

Psalm 139:16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hospitality...

     I know it isn't much.  I would never ask and don't expect anyone to come visit me right now.  I have no air conditioning, and it is 85°F upstairs with little or no breeze through the open windows.  The guest bath shower head was stolen, as was the beautiful ceiling fan that once hung in this room.  The lamp doesn't match the decor because I had to sell the one I had originally, and the Paul Brent prints that were bought for this room were given to someone I once considered a friend before I went to Texas.

     But the sheets and bathroom are clean, and Oreo says the bed is comfortable.

     "Do not forget to show hospitality [...]
for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it."
Hebrews 13:2  

     Somehow just knowing that the option is there makes me feel like the world I'm in right now is less hostile, and more hospitable.

     I once took a lot of pride in my home.  I spent a lot of money to decorate it so that family and friends would feel welcomed, and I had a lot of 'things.'  Beautiful furniture, decor, and art prints.  Almost all are gone now.

     Last night I was lying in bed, talking to God about this world I'm in right now and realized that while my home had once been comfortable... my heart hadn't always been.  I had put more attention on the things around me, than I had on the things in me.  I didn't realize that what God wanted wasn't for someone to feel comfortable on the guest bed, or on the sofa, or eating off beautiful dishes.  God wanted someone to feel His light shining out of me and feel comfortable just with me... and Him.  

     What mattered was whether or not God was there.

     When we show hospitality to someone, we shouldn't just make them feel comfortable.  We should shine God's light so brightly in our own lives that we brighten theirs... even if we all had to eat, sit and sleep on the floor. 

     "Do not forget to show hospitality..."

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Walking...

     This morning while I was walking Trooper and talking to God, I got an answer out of right field that was His voice.

     I say "right field" because when I listen to Him and His word, my life turns out alright.  It is Satan's voice out of left field that can cause me all the problems, and his voice that is so destructive.

     What I was asking God for was a vehicle so that I could do more to find a job, get groceries, and run errands without having to inconvenience others.  What God told me was "no." 

     No, because if I had my own vehicle I would do things alone at a time when I need friends who will help me through all of this.  No, because this friend who has been helping me needs a friend also.  No, because if I had my own vehicle, I would forget to trust in Him and I would again rely on myself and my own imperfect wisdom.  No, because it would prevent other angels from entering my life, crossing my path, and sharing God's light with me.

     No.

     I'm good with that.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight."
~ Proverbs 3:5-6 ~

Friday, September 14, 2012

Carnival Rides

WeHeartIt
     I feel tonight like I spent the day at a carnival.  It was up and down like a roller coaster, and for a while it felt like I was going in circles chasing answers.  

     But after all was said and done, I've realized that there were more ups than downs.  More answers than questions.  More laughter than tears.  More hugs than shrugs.  More things accomplished than not.

     And the best part of it were the friends it was shared with...  thank you, Shirley... thank you, Georgia... thank you, Hannelore... thank You, God for blessing me so much this day.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." 
~ Philippians 4:6 ~

Spite...

Spite... a noun meaning petty ill will: a malicious, usually small-minded desire to harm, hinder or humiliate somebody.  To act maliciously toward somebody.

     Neighbors of mine did something a few weeks ago in an attempt to cause me discomfort and difficulties.  Why they did it, and what they did, makes no difference, because they failed in their effort.

     But what does make a difference is how I choose to respond to their attempt to cause me harm.   Everything in life is a choice, and we are free to choose whichever direction we want to go.  We just must be willing to accept the consequences for our choices.

     I could choose to do something spiteful in return.  The consequences of that choice would be a continuing environment of ill will and negativity, something that I no longer wish to feel.

     So I choose to do this... I forgive you.


"Do not be bitter or angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ." 
~ Ephesians 4:31-32 ~

Thursday, September 13, 2012

1 Thessalonians

     2:13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.

    3:13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

5:13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.


     There are only five chapters in the book of 1 Thessalonians.  Of those five, there are only three with thirteen verses.

    Paul wrote this letter to the believers in Thessalonica to praise them for keeping their faith under persecution, and to let them know that the trials they were enduring because of their faith were not coincidences, but that it was because they did have faith, and were believers, that Satan and 'the world' was tempting them and causing them to suffer tribulations.

     He urged them to continue to live according to God's word no matter how difficult things might seem ... to live respectful and productive lives, encouraging and helping each other, and being kind and patient to all.

     Why?  Why was it so important to Paul that these new believers stayed strong in their faith?  Because Paul knew that those who believe would be tested.  Not by God, but by 'the world.'  By the flesh and by things that would give instant gratification but little else.  Paul also knew that what 'the world' offered was nothing in comparison to what we are promised as believers.

     How do I know this for myself?  Because it has been the word of God that has been at work in my life lately.  His has been fulfilling His promises for me because I believe.  "Hold onto the good."  "The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it."
Rise, Son, rise....

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Palmetto Bugs...

   Disregard whatever Florida says is the state bird.  In truth, the state bird is a Palmetto Bug.  It falls into the cockroach family, however, is more like a cockroach on steroids.  They live in the damp swampy areas that cover pretty much every square inch of Florida.

     The window air conditioner unit that I had been borrowing was reclaimed yesterday, and so I have two choices now.  Die in the heat of the house by keeping all the doors and windows closed, or "glisten" in the heat by keeping the upstairs windows and deck door open - and yes, they all have screens on them.

     But screens do not stop Palmetto Bugs.  In fact, few sprays that leave anything else in the house alive will stop the Palmetto Bug.  The only thing known to man (or woman) that will stop one is a good hard smash with a shoe.

     Tonight, as I was sitting here looking for a job in a place that Palmetto Bugs do not exist (Antarctica could be nice in the summer), one flew (YES THEY FLY!!!!) and landed on the back of my neck.

This is actually pretty darn close to being life size.
     Parents cover the eyes of your potty trained children here.

     It scared me so badly that my office chair now has a small damp spot on it.

    While searching the Internet for a picture to show you what this state bird looks like, I stumbled across this dude's blog.  Which was followed the next day by another posting here.  The laugh I got from both blogs made up for the fact that there is still, somewhere in my bedroom, the Florida State Bird.

     I know that I will be awake all night until I have squashed it... or I shall sleep 'glistening' with the covers over my head.

What do you wish to reflect on?

     There are several books I have gotten into the habit of reading aloud to Trooper in the mornings when we wake up.  Devotionals to get our day started off right (unlike his favorite bedtime story book which makes me smile and him thump his tail on the bed).  I'm not sure who likes the sound of my voice more... me or him... but since apart from the voices on Family Life Radio which wakes us up, sometimes I'm the only voice we hear in a day.

     But there is a voice that we hear in the devotionals I read each morning, and that is the voice and message that I want to hear in my heart.  This morning's messages were both on peace, and so it is that peace which I wish to reflect on today.

     Joyce Meyer's devotional New Day New You offered this scripture from Romans 15:13.  "May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing with hope."

     Sarah Young's devotional Jesus Calling began today's passage with the simple sentence "Receive my peace. ... When you trust Me in a given area, you release that problem or person into My care."

     The last devotional I read from each morning is A Book of Prayers for Couples by Stormie Omartian.  I can pretty much open to any page in this small book and apply it to me or my situation.  Her words and prayers have comforted me in the darkness, and have given me peace.  Married or not, these prayers are powerful no matter what or whom you are praying for.

     Today... I wish to reflect on peace ... in my heart ... in my home ... in our world.
Sunset in Killeen, Texas

Monday, September 10, 2012

Remembering...

These photos were all taken on Labor Day Weekend, 2001.
I thought I had lost them, but recently found the disk so thought I would finally share them all. 
The world was different then.  We lived without fear.
I blogged here about where I was that day.
That day also became part of my book Eagle Visions.
On my facebook page, someone commented about how lucky we were that we hadn't been there that day.
In the towers.  On 9/11.
But then he said that in the year 2000, he had turned down a job on the 90th floor.
I commented that he was the lucky one, and later this....
"Yet, we are each here for a reason, and all things can be turned for His good. We share our stories of survival so that those who come behind us can survive and believe and have faith. This life... is just a Rest Stop on the Road to Something Better..."

I wish these pictures weren't all that I have to remember the towers by.
I wish they were still here.
I wish that day hadn't changed the world.
I wish it hadn't changed me.

But it did. 



View of the WTC Towers from the Statue of Liberty

View of the Statue of Liberty from the WTC Towers

View of the Brooklyn Bridge from the WTC Towers

On the ferry to the Statue of Liberty.
Looking down from the restaurant at the top of one of the WTC Towers.



Mun... day

     I was thinking [as I was woken this morning too early by a call from someone I had left three messages for... two weeks ago...] that today was just going to be another one of those mundane days where little gets accomplished and a lot becomes frustrating.  I was thinking that as I was verbally wading through red tape and legalese trying to understand what I can and can't do since I have no transportation and extremely limited funds at this point in time.

     But then I went and got myself a second cup of coffee and opened my email to find this Note from the Universe.
 
NASA photo
Well, Cindi, by this point in the day, if my calculations are correct, I expect you've already begun thinking of yourself as "mere mortal." Somewhat alone, a little bit confused, and responsible for figuring out how to make your life take off.

So... just thought I'd send you a reminder that at this very moment, there are a million eyes upon you, grateful for your courage; that you already know all you need to know; and that whether or not you can see it, you're already soaring.

"Houston to Cindi," nice blast-off -
    The Universe

     I'm not so na├»ve to believe that Mike Dooley, the author of these gems which arrive each week day morning in my inbox, has any kind of 'godly' power or knowledge.  I don't idolize or worship him.  But I do believe that there are times in my life ... and people in my life ... that God uses to remind me of what I need to stay focused on.  Things like not panicking... not freaking out... not letting myself become overwhelmed with 'the world.'

     This morning... my note was that reminder...