Thursday, February 28, 2013

growing up in the good old days...

     I used to feel like I had missed out on getting to know my grandparents because we were a military family that packed and moved every two years for most of my childhood.  I envied friends and family who had stayed in one place.  They had the luxury of spending holidays with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews ... I felt like I had been cheated because I got to spend some of my holidays in Europe where we had adopted German Christmas customs as our own family customs ... something I still treasure.  Each time we moved, there were new places to see, people to meet.  We may not have had close immediate or extended family, but I learned how to make my friends my family.

     I still have treasured memories of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Christmases in Farmington, Michigan.  Summers in Sarasota, Florida.  A year in Scottsdale, Arizona.  Phone calls.  Letters. Cards.  Gifts.  My Uncle Howie once went to Africa and brought me back a necklace made of bone that I still have, forty years later.  Memories.

     It occurred to me this week that I had the luxury of knowing my extended family far more than my nieces and nephews ever will ... and that made me sad for them.  My grandparents have been gone for many years, and my dad since 2007.  I speak to my mom every night now, and have for almost two years ... treasuring each conversation.

     The phrase that you don't know what you have until it is gone is so true at times ... especially when it comes to family and the relationships that we have in our lives.  Family.  Friends.  Time slips by so quickly, and all we are given is just today.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow is always on the horizon.

     Someone told me last year that he didn't speak to his mother because he didn't have the time to catch her up on his life, he was too busy with work and his own family.  He said that he didn't think she would be interested in what he was doing, and that there wasn't anything going on in her life that he felt he would be interested in either.  I asked him if maybe he might consider that she would just like to hear his voice, hear about his daughters, his wife, and just the "mundane" things that make up living for each of us.  I asked him if he realized that she was now in her seventies, and that he was pretty fortunate to still have her ... just how much time did he think he was going to get to make her a part of his life?

     He didn't have an answer.

     I didn't have one either when one of his daughters contacted me to find out why her father wasn't interested in her life, or in having a relationship with her.  She felt unloved, unwanted, and alone.  I reminded her that her Father has always loved her, and that He has never left her alone.  I encouraged her to let go of her hurt feelings and accept His loving embrace, and know that she was a beautiful child of God, loved, wanted, and that He was always willing to listen to her.

     The choices we make in life, are the choices we are sometimes forced to live with, especially when we realize that they may not have been "good" or "right" choices.  All we have is this day to do the best that we can and learn from yesterday.  When we make a choice to not take time to share our lives with those we love ... or those who love us ... one day we may find that we are out of time.  Conversations will be left unsaid.

     Time moves on, and it is up to us to make the best of each day and to live so that we will not one day regret the things we can no longer say.

     The last thing my dad said to me was that he wished we had talked more.  Me too, Dad.  Me too.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Selections #109 ...

I wasn't going to participate this week in Sunday Selections.
It has been a crazy busy week of ups and downs, and the weekend is forecast to be a very wet one.
Pictures of my leaking roof seemed depressing.
As did thoughts of my leaking car roof.

But I've decided to jump in the deep end and drag out some photos found in my archived files.
These were taken on a tour of 1st Cavalry at Ft Hood, TX in November 2011.
{and taken by a co-worker, Alison, not by me, obviously}
I had made a new friend.
We were having a conversation about the benefits of being a 1st Cav horse...
and massage.

His name was Phantom for his eyes.
Half blue and brown.

Sunday Selections was originally started by Kim, of Frogpondsrock ,as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files. 
It is now continued by River at Drifting through life and Sue at The Elephant's Child. The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent. Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Five...

I've been too busy to blog as much as I used to ... or as much as I want to.
I'm grateful for that.
I miss writing ... but love being busy ... coming home too tired to think.

I received paperwork this week from the attorney for my mortgage company ...
an indication that they will meet the "put up or shut up" date the court has given them ...
and putting me one step closer to leaving this house ... which is no longer a home for me.
I'm grateful for that.
I don't know yet where I will go ... or how ... but at least it is forward momentum.

I also received my "Official Statement of Status of Eligibility" to teach Business Education ...
Grades 6-12 or adults.
I just need to have a contract to work to get my temporary certificate.
I'm grateful for that.
It opens a door to a long-ago dream of becoming a teacher.

It has been an emotional week for me as people came into my life ...
and left it.
I'm grateful for that.
Tears can be cleansing ... healing ... and reminders of how it feels to love.

It has also been a faith-filled week for me as I cling to promises to prosper me ...
made by The One who knows the plans He has for me.
I'm grateful for that.
I'm grateful for that.
I'm grateful for that.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Mardi Gras! ~ Sunday Selections #108

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock ,as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files. 
The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life and Sue at The Elephant's Child. The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent. Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.


it's the little things ...

... that make me smile ... 
like discovering after who knows how many gazillion gallons of ice tea
that there are messages on the back of the tea bag tags that will make me warm ...
even on a cold, windy, and unexpectedly winter-ish day.
Summer will be here soon!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Five on Friday...

It has been a long week ... 
and I'm grateful for the long weekend coming.

I'm grateful for sun ...
on rainy days...
reminding me that the darkness will fade.

I'm grateful for a community of people ...
people I know ... and don't know ...
who come together in prayer for a child
who doesn't think he has a future ...
a child whose world is filled with darkness ...
prayers that he will see the light of his future.

I'm grateful for answered prayers ...
miracles ...
faith in something that is much bigger than me ...
that reminds me that I am never alone.

I'm grateful for this day.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Philemon 1:13

13 I would have liked to keep him with me so that he could take your place in helping me while I am in chains for the gospel. [NIV]
     The book of Philemon is just one chapter long with only 25 verses.  That makes it either an easy read... or a very powerful one.  For me, it was the latter.  Not so much because of that particular verse, but because of ones that followed it...

15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.
17 So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me. 18 If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.  [NIV]
     This book was written by Paul to his friend Philemon to ask for leniency on a runaway slave, Onesimus, who had stolen from Philemon.  It was a personal letter, and so one might wonder why it was included in the Bible.  The letter conveys a message of failure, intercession, repentance, forgiveness and restoration... and it is that message that speaks to me so powerfully.
     My life lately has been a lonely walk because of someone "in chains" ... literally and figuratively.  The chains of addiction lead to the chains of imprisonment.  I've spent a lot of time in prayer because of things that have happened to me ... and to him.  For this particular book to come up in my 13th verse monthly rotation is not by coincidence... there are none. 
     Forgiveness is a powerful thing.  It can heal and free... not just the person to whom it is given, but to the giver as well.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A rainy day...

It is a day for snuggling under the covers...
Unless you're meeting friends for breakfast...
... down at the local bar.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What do you wish to work on?

     I recently began a part time position as a paraprofessional for autistic middle school (6th, 7th, & 8th grade) students.  I've never done this kind of work before, and so I feel as if I have jumped into the deep end of teaching ... without my floaties.

     I've taught before ... but at a university, with adults.  I've taught my dog to whisper, sit, lie down, and to gimme five.  I've taught myself to speak German... with a little help from Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur.  I've taught myself to not be afraid... by taking leaps into the deep end of life when necessary.

     I'm not a mom...except to said extremely intelligent dog, a cat, and a recently rescued dog.  There were other dogs and cats in the past too.  A step-son several years ago who spent summers and school breaks with me ... and now two more and a step-daughter, but they don't live with me... or visit... or really even have anything to do with me, but that is their choice... not mine.  I know how difficult it can be to accept a step-mother when you are a teenager.  Been there, done that.

     All of which [new job, dogs, fear, family] have made me realize that I need to work on the relationships in my life more.  To make more connections ... communicate ... and to heal what has been lost, broken, or never given the chance to grow.  I want to work on learning how to swim in this new life.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Blooming in protest... ~ Sunday Selection #106

Sunday Selections was originally brought to us by Kim, of Frogpondsrock ,as an ongoing meme where participants could post previously unused photos languishing in their files. 
The meme is now continued by River at Drifting through life and Sue at The Elephant's Child. The rules are so simple as to be almost non-existent. Post some photos under the title Sunday Selections and link back to River.

Willing Spring to come...
the flowers bloomed in a January protest...
Antique Azalea


Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday Five

A job interview that lead to a job offer ... accepted.
Grateful to have started work this week.
A fender bump on the car that lead to air bags exploding ... bruises and sore muscles.
Grateful to have no other injuries and repairs could be done to the car.
An encounter with a rude, unprofessional "manager" that lead to a decision to not subject myself to that kind of environment ... no matter how much I need a 2nd job right now ...
I will not be someone's verbal punching bag.
Grateful to realize that I am worthy of better.
An incredible sunset marking the last day of the month...
matched by an equally beautiful sunrise marking the first day of the month.
Grateful to be able to see both of them.
Finding a church home where I know I will have friends, faith, and growth.
Grateful for all that God has blessed me with.