Friday, February 28, 2014

solace in the silence ...

Last summer I signed up with Tyndale Publishing's rewards program [here], and within just an hour of answering surveys and signing up for newsletters, I had earned enough points to "purchase" this Bible.

It has been the best meditation for me each morning to read the day's passages from the Old and New Testaments as well as Psalms and Proverbs.

Reading the entire Bible has always been a goal of mine, and with this structured daily reading, I will have accomplished that by the end of July this year.

Whether you are new to the Bible, or someone who has studied it extensively, I have to say that I've thoroughly enjoyed my journey so far with this daily reading program.

It has truly given me solace in the silence ...

5 minutes: choose ...

Choose what is important today
GO:

I didn't choose the word for today, but it is a word that has been heavy on my heart this week.

Choose.

Choose before your choices choose for you.

Choose this life ... or that life.

Choose what you want ... before everything you have is gone.

Choose who you are ... before your choices make you something you don't want to be.

It seems like letting your choices choose for you is sometimes the easy way out ... but in reality, it takes away your choice.  Like the song ... if you don't choose to stand for yourself ... you fall for anything.

Choose life.  Choose love.  Choose to live right ... live clean ... live strong.

Choose ... before you lose.

STOP


Thursday, February 27, 2014

darkness ...

daylight fades
and the cold sets in
robins take to the trees
keeping close to stay warm
night brings
emptiness and darkness, a
silent aching in my
soul


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

inspiring ...

Join us for a cup...
Hello You,

Thank you for inspiring me.  Yes, really.  It is you, reader, who inspires me to write.  I know we may not have met yet, but just knowing that I am not alone in these struggles gives me the courage to get up and write.

Some mornings it is the orange glow of a sunrise on a dew laden spider web, glistening as I walk my dog that inspires me to write.

Some mornings it is the sound of rain on the skylight and aluminum roofing over my serenity deck that inspires me to write.

It is the sight of a bald eagle sitting high in a magnolia tree, watching over me as I walk ... or the soft sway of Spanish moss from the old oak trees.

It is the whispers in the waves as they hit the beach ... or the sound of a glacier cracking and calving in an Alaskan lake.

It is life that inspires me.  Clinging to it, fighting for it, and celebrating each day.

"Those who live at the ends of the earth
stand in awe of your wonders.
From where the sun rises to where it sets,
you inspire shouts of joy."
~ Psalm 65:8 NLT ~ 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

shoes ...

I noticed the other day that my favorite pair of cold weather shoes have almost had the soles walked off of them.   They were made in the U.S.A. by Sebago, and it looks like they have expanded worldwide.

I tried to figure out just how old my Sebagos were ... and was a little on the amazed side.  I think I bought them in late 2007 or early 2008, which would make them about seven years old now.  Real leather uppers.  Just getting that soft, worn look and feel.  I need a shoe with a wide width, which always makes it hard to shop for women's shoes, and found these online.  I paid about $80 for them, which is the most I have EVER spent on a pair of shoes.

I have loved them to pieces.  Literally, apparently.  My Sebagos have just been so comfortable that even wearing them for 12-14 hours a day when I work overtime, my feet don't ache at night and my heel spurs have become almost painless.  I can certainly tell the days when I'm wearing other shoes or going barefoot.  I could almost sleep in these.

Unfortunately, they no longer make this style, or very many wide width shoes for women, so I'm on the hunt again for a pair of comfortable cold weather shoes.  I'm not really an Imelda Marcos kind of shoe shopper, so when I find a pair that I love and that is comfortable ... I wear it exclusively.

I've certainly gotten my money's worth out of them.  A pair of Danskin tennis shoes I bought at Wal-Mart last July have already cracked both of the soles and leak water into my socks whenever I walk Trooper on the beach or in the rain.

[and in case you are wondering ... this has not been a "paid endorsement" or a sponsored post.  I'm just amazed at how well my Sebago shoes have held up with all that I've put them through in the past seven years.  I believe in sharing the joy, and when I find a product or service that I believe in ... I'll be more than happy to promote them.]

Sunday, February 23, 2014

thunderstorms ...

the day starts with a rolling sound of thunder,
hitting the skylight, the rain sounds like God typing on my heart.
Image Source: WeHeartIt
under the covers I stretch and think of what the day will hold.
new opportunities to learn and grow ... to
delve into His word and let it fill
every crack, every wound ... to heal me.
reaching for my husband's hand, I feel
strengthened by his love ... His love.
together we have
overcome so much ... with His love.
restored ... redeemed ... rejoicing
my heartbeat types out a response to His
salvation ... thank you for your grace and mercies

Friday, February 21, 2014

5 minutes: small

Five Minute Friday
GO:

She was small on the day she was born.  Helpless and dependent upon her father in whose hands she slept.
...
Her hand was small in his.  She clung to him as she tried to keep up with his steps, her small feet running to match his large steps, wanting so much to follow in his footsteps.
...
She felt the comforting touch of her husband's hand on the small of her back as she sighed in frustration.  She felt helpless and didn't know which way to turn.  She thought of what her Father would tell her, and sighed again.  She wanted so much to follow in His footsteps.
...
She felt small in His hands, knowing that she was safe, feeling His comfort.

STOP

"Dear, dear Corinthians, I can't tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you’re living them in a small way. I'm speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. 
Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!"
~ 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 MSG ~

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

bringing joy ...

Share a cup?
Good morning you ...

Thank you again for stopping by to share a cup of coffee.  These weekly chats have really helped me to refocus my day ... and my week.

They bring me joy.

I know that some days it just seems so hard to find even a tiny bit of joy.  Trust me.  Been there.  Doing that.  Worrying about finances ... family ... jobs ... bills ... my health ... his health ... a parent's health.  Anxiety about whether or not something is going to turn out right ... or wrong.  Will I get the job I interviewed for yesterday?  Will I get the job I'll interview for tomorrow?

Joy stealers, they just seem to suck the happy right out of you.  Emotional vampires even walk the daylight hours.  As if the stress of our own lives wasn't enough to rob us of joy, I'm sure you know of some whose own drama sneaks in ... creeps in ... to your life to take your joy away.

Fight back.  Break out the garlic and sunshine.  Sprinkle some of the holy living water on them ... give them some joy.

"Light-seeds are planted in the souls of God’s people,
Joy-seeds are planted in good heart-soil."
~ Psalm 97:11 MSG ~

Find your joy, even if it is in the smallest of things ... a wildflower on the side of the road ... bird song on a cloudy day ... a child's laughter ... the hug of a loved one.  Find it, cling to it, let it fill you up and expand within you.  Wear it like armor ... wield it like a weapon ... let it shine from you to diminsh the darkness around you and in others.
Image Source: WeHeartIt.com



Sunday, February 16, 2014

sunday

slept late
under mounds of comforter, dog and cat
nestled into the warmth of his body
daylight peeking between the curtains
another day comes and goes
yesterday a distant dream

Saturday, February 15, 2014

love is ...

love is ....
not always pretty ... or kind ... or patient
sometimes it is proud ... and boastful ... and envious ... and sometimes it is selfish

love does not come with a clear definition

it can be [this] or [this]
or even something we don't even think we can relate to because

love is

one of those things that no one person can define or describe or box in or explain  ...

and no matter what it is for you ... love is what you cling to in the darkness

"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love."
~ 1 Corinthians 13 MSG ~

when I grow up ...

I love listening to Wally on Way-FM in the mornings.  His was the radio program that gave me hope in 2012 when I had lost almost all that I had.

I'm at another crossroads in my life where I am wanting to make some changes ... yet not sure how to get there from here.

The other morning, Wally and his band of merry makers on the radio station took a Buzzfeed Career Quiz [click here to take it too!].  For grins, I took it also ... twice because on some of the questions, I would have  chosen more than one answer if I'd been able to.

The results I got were surprising ... because they are careers I would like to be able to transition to full time.
At the same time ... they were not surprising at all because I think I've always known that this is who I am.
Now to figure out how to get back to myself ...

Friday, February 14, 2014

5 minutes: garden

Five Minute Friday GO:

gardens come in all shapes and memories ...

Holland tulip mazes
wild dogwood trees in the Appalachian mountains
wildflowers on California hillsides
Austrian and European castles
daisies on the side of the road
dainty roses bushes
azaleas ...

and love

of all the gardens I enjoy, it is that last one I enjoy the most today.

STOP

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Exodus 4:13

But Moses said, “O Lord, I ask of You, send some other person.”
~ Exodus 4:13 NLV ~

Why me?
Sometimes when we are faced with a difficult task,
or a painful choice,
we wish we could push it off on someone else.

Why me?
But sometimes the only answer to that is ...
Why not you?

Challenges make us stronger.
Trials make us harder to beat down the next time we face them.
We learn.
We grow.
We become all that we are created to be.

Pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zones,
our boxes,
and our boundaries is sometimes the only way
we learn that the answer to that question
is really ...

Because I believe in you.
Image Source

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

no matter what happens ...

Join us for a cup of love...
"No matter what happens ... you're going to be okay because ..."

I can't count the number of times that I've heard those words from someone I've looked up to ... or reached out to ... or the number of times I've longed to hear them from someone who isn't here anymore.

Last night I was talking with a neighbor about the whirlwind I feel my life has become in the last several years, especially how I have been feeling lately, and I told her that I wished I could just talk to my dad ... or my uncle ... for some guidance.

My father passed in 2006, and his identical twin brother ~ my uncle ~ in 2011.  Both of them would have those words of wisdom that always made me know that no matter what happens, I'm going to be okay because ... they were there to set me straight.  To be that sounding board I needed.  The voice of reason.

But the truth of it all is this ... even without them here to talk to anymore ... it is that no matter what happens, I'm going to be okay because my Father will always be there.  He will never leave or forsake me.  Even when I'm lost and alone ... He is near and all I have to do is reach up ... look up ... and rest in His calm.

At times lately it has felt like no matter what happened, I was not going to be okay ... but when I stop to rest in His word, to calm my mind and step back into His presence ... I realize that no matter what happens, I am going to be okay.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Rough day?

Won't you join us?
Hello You,

     Come sit and have a cry for a bit with me.  It has been a rough week for me, and I know the hard part isn't over yet.  What's that?  You too?  Wow.  Is it a full moon or something?

     I know you don't want to hear that it will get better ... believe me ... I don't want to hear it either.  Right now this pain feels so thick around me I feel like I'm wrapped in a million down comforters.

     It's hard you know.  Realizing that the life you thought you had isn't the life you are going to have anymore.  It doesn't really matter what the reasons are ... it's just one of those rude awakenings that hits you right between the eyes and you think, wow ... where did that come from?

     And you want to still be able to forgive because you still want to make it go back to the way it was before ... only in truth, that whole seventy times seven thing can sometimes break us more than we want to admit.  At some point we realize on that seventy-first time of opening our arms in love and forgiveness that we have just become someones enabler.  It is at that moment when the heart breaks and there is nothing that can be said or done to heal that moment.  It will never go back to what it was before, because ... the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result each time.  And believe me ... I've been pretty insane lately.

"At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?”
Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven."
~ Matthew 18:21-22 MSG ~

     But the flip side of that is this ... that seventieth time ... or that seventy-first time ... or that seventy-second time might be the time that someone's heart heals and there is hope and knowing that it will never go back to what it was before because the insanity is finally broken.

     How do you know when that moment will come, and how do you decide when you've had enough?  I don't have the answer for that.  All I know is that God never gives us more than we can handle because He is with us always.

"No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it."
~ 1 Corinthians 10:13 MSG ~

     So what can I say that will make you feel better?  I guess just the things that I would want to hear myself right now.

     Each day, you will wake up to a new dawn and a new chance to make it a better day.

     Each night, you will go to sleep knowing that even if it wasn't a better day "that" day ... you will have another chance in the morning.

     Each day, you will get up and do the things that make you feel somewhat normal again, even if it is just crying into your coffee for five minutes less than you did the day before.

     Each day, there will be the opportunity to look at where you were ... where you are ... and see in the distance just a tiny bit closer, where you want to be.

     Each day there will be one thing that makes you realize that it was a good day.  It might not feel like a better day, but it will be a good day.  It could be something as simple as a cardinal in the snow, or a rainbow in the clouds, or the realization that you've gotten through an entire hour without crying ... or thinking of him and how much you miss his touch.

     Well ... maybe that last one will take a little longer.  But it will come.

     It will come.

     It will.