Don’t Fear Who You Were, Know Who You Are

He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.   Isaiah 25:8

The red rocking chairs slowly appear out from under the shadow of night. I sip my coffee, feet tucked under the pile of pillows on the coach, as sunlight peeks into the window and crawls across the floor towards me. The hum of the fan for “white noise” is now just noise as it’s sound drowns out the melodies of the birds singing, “Good morning!”

366 days ago Eric and I were going to say,”We do!” did and now we are here. Oh, what a journey! Had we both known what we know now, we might have done things a little differently, but maybe not.

What we are learning is when we opened OUR fairytale, instead of crisp new pages on which to write, two very different rough drafts were wasting pages. We had to cross out and/or erase the expectations of our individual story lines. This endeavor takes energy, time and ultimately, healing. Thankfully, we have agreed to both release our pens, giving them to the Author of time past, present and yet to be. We figure His story has a far better chance at making our novel a Best Seller than either of our pathetic story lines.

One hot topic affecting our subject matter is who we WERE. “I do” doesn’t mean “I never did…” and we are finding that there are memories and fears that past mistakes are hidden somewhere in future pages. We live in anticipation of beginning a new chapter and the flaw of a previous poor choice will be staring at us once again: Different book, same content.

This is not who Heavenly Dad says we are. He said

Micah 17:19 “You (God) will have ·mercy [compassion] on us again; you will conquer our sins. You will ·throw away [hurl; cast] all our sins into the ·deepest part [depths] of the sea.”

Hebrews 8:12 “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

If He doesn’t remember what we did wrong than who are we in His eyes?

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

Have Eric and I fully embraced that we are not who we once were? Have we acknowledged His power to put to death (like it cannot be resurrected because it’s dead-dead) our old selves and the freedom to live without fear of slipping backwards? Absolutely…not, but the more time we spend with Him, often begging Him to take these burdens/fears from us, He teaches us. We cannot expect Him to pry these issues out of our hands. He wants us to willingly release and give them to Him, knowing that we walk in the freedom that He already died for. The power was and is in His blood.

We need to stop fearing who we were and recognize who we now are: His children that He loved enough to die for so we could be changed and free. Will we accept His gift of forgiveness and freedom?

Will you?

Here’s an afterthought: if He can and does forgive and forget our mistakes… Why is it so hard to forgive and forget ourselves?

Until next time: Blessings!

Clisthby Goes on Strike

Joshua 24:15 “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household,we will serve the Lord.”

“The light is on but only a trickle is coming out.” “Do you think it needs more vinegar?”
“My eyes are burning, and it took forever for that vinegar to go through…what are your thoughts?”
“Why do you think the red light is still on, ‘clean’?”

The night I wrote that last blog, “Clisthby and the Buffet Versus Carry-in,” Clisthby we went on strike. We had noticed a new red light that we’ve never seen before. We ignored it for about two days, and then I read it to say “clean.” I thought, “No problem, I’ll do it on the weekend.” Yeah, that didn’t happen.

Every other coffee maker I’ve had, I’d just run vinegar through to eat away the calcium buildup that accumulates in the tubes. Clisthby’s situation, however, was more along the lines of a true butler, with a heart condition. The vinegar angioplasty results were unsuccessful. A second opinion (other than a little red light) with a more aggressive approach was needed.

Eric and I dug in. First things first: we removed every loose part aka pot and removable filter holder. Pulling Clisthby out, we opened his back, fully exposing his innards. It was then we noticed a thin line of coffee grounds running along the line of the watermark above the storage tank. WHAT!?!?

At that moment I had an “Ah, ha!” moment. Clisthby has a stopping mechanism which allows me to pull the pot out from under the filter before he’s actually done brewing. That is a dream come true for those of us who bleed coffee, are a pint low and need a transfusion ASAP. A tiny spring and stopper is one of the most ingenious inventions EVER in the book of coffee connoisseurs.

A few weeks back coffee grounds made their way over the top of the paper insert and wedged the stopper closed. When I didn’t hear the dribbling of magic juice ten minutes after Clisthby set to work, I went investigating. The coffee was trapped in the filter compartment with no where to go. Finally, it overflowed the filter and poured, with grounds, into the storage tank. I stopped it immediately and ran him over to the sink for a cleansing session, complete with scrub brush. I thought I had gotten it all. Obviously I was wrong.

Eric and I hosed Clisthby out again, to no avail. The red light remained on and the water dripped, almost painfully, from the nozzle. We were frustrated. Light Bulb! Eric has a bright idea. We scavenged for the longest straw in the house. Pouring more water into the reservoir, Eric blew air, along with grounds, from the tank to the filter.

Yay! Another thorough rinse aaaaand…drip, drip, drip—Whaaaat?!? Now MY heart hurt! Poor Clisthby! It took nearly 50 years to find him and coffee pot CPR was not working. Sweet and sad memories of morning sleep in’s were running though my mind as I was loosing our virtual butler.

Eric, determined to revive Clisthby, began sucking and spitting the poisonous coffee grounds from Clisthby’s veins (ok, so that might be a tad dramatic). I was bouncing up and down sporting an “ewwww” face but thanking him profusely through clenched teeth of revulsion.

Another thorough cleaning aaaaand dribbled, dribble, STREAM! Eric had resuscitated Clisthby! Hip, hip hooooray!

I was laughing when I told Eric that Clisthby’s timing was perfect since I just mentioned a raise. It was when I mentioned Clisthby’s strike when Heavenly Dad struck my heart.

Clisthby had been working in his own power, like any other coffee maker, doing what he was supposed to do, when he was supposed to do it. Tiny grounds, that he had dealt with for years,
built up over time. The reduction of flow was so inconsequential we didn’t even notice until it was too late and stopped his progress all together.

I thought of my own walk with Heavenly Dad. How many times do I let little sins go, little “white” lies to help someone “in the long run,” or texting/Facebooking/anything phone related when I’m supposed to be spending time or doing something else? How long am I going to let those flow through me, building up a wall between me and Heavenly Dad? One day I wake up and complain,”He’s so far away! It’s like my prayers bounce off the ceiling! Where is He? Where did he go?”

Could it be that those little sins stopped up the flow of the Holy Spirit flowing through me? They cut off the nudging of what the next right thing to do is. Whatever I was doing WITH and THROUGH God’s power (like the water tank) became full of me and not Him. The blessing stopped along with my energy and strength from run on “me power” verses “God power.”

I remembered that the “me” is the one with the tiny white sins, the ones that backed up and poisoned the tank: anything I used to do in God’s power.

I was convicted. Like the second opinion, last resort to resurrect Clisthby, there was only way to get the “go” back in the “flow.” I need to get rid of all the loose ends and expose the issues, whatever they are. In the light (the Bible) I can see what is the core/heart issue. It may take a lot of work, be very uncomfortable (even an eeeewy face or two-or more) but the end result will be the Holy Spirit flowing freely once again. With Him comes clarity, peace, energy, wisdom, and power.

Maybe Clisthby was supposed to be teaching me a lesson this week. Wait, could that mean that Clisthby is actually on God’s payroll and not mine? Hmmmm

Until next time: blessings!

Clisthby and the Buffet Verses Carry-in

Joshua 24:15 “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household,we will serve the Lord.”

The shadow of Mother’s Day 2020 lingers as the alarm sounds at 2:30 am this Monday morning. Eric pops up much quicker than I and quiets the unnamed voice resounding from his phone alarm. The smell of the fresh brew tickles my nose, enticing me to make the bed quickly and stumble my way to the kitchen for a cup of Clisthby’s brew. Did I tell you of our “butler?”

I don’t know if you remember but years ago I told you how Arch and I would wake up and jokingly call “Clisthby” to make coffee because neither one of us wanted to get up. One of us would then get it started and then drag ourselves back to bed until it was finished brewing. Eventually, when the our theme,”Do for the other before they can do for you,” went into effect, one of us would awake a bit early. When the other was stirred by the heavenly scent and asked,”Did you make coffee?” The answer was: Clisthby.

Eric brought the real Clisthby into my life, a coffee pot with a timer, ahhhhhhhh. Now neither of us has to get up earlier than the other as long as we don’t accidentally give Clisthby the day off by not setting him (always a sad day) we have fresh coffee within moments of opening our eyes. Again: ahhhhhhhh, mornings may not always be good but they sure are a heck of a lot better!

Clisthby was playing at the top of his game this morning as he was set for 2:20 am. He had the coffee ready as I drug myself to the kitchen without speaking to Eric, just a quick touch on the way to say a nonverbal “good morning.” Words come after coffee.

Are you wondering why a 2:30 am wake up call when Eric’s time to leave for work is 6:00 am? Great question. Tricky answer.

Eric and my one year Anniversary is coming up—hard to believe. We have struggled to find balance. When we don’t do something physical nearly every day our almost 50 year old bodies get stiff and ache. Keeping moving has to be somewhat of a priority to serve the King.

Speaking of the King, aka, Jesus King of kings, Lord of lords, the great I Am, the Word, the Beginning and the End, He is the “bestest” part of my day (spending time with Eric and Willow are close second and thirds), brings me to the early mornings.

Can you imagine not having a stomach? You would just eat, eat and eat and never be full. That’s kind of the way I feel about scripture. I read and journal as I’m reading. If I allow myself enough time, I can pause, and really dwell on a particular passage or verse. I think about it, pray about it, and let it marinate for a while. I can then write down my thoughts and how it applies to my life, or at least a situation that I’m currently finding myself. LISTENING to Heavenly Dad and discerning what He is saying specifically to me, THAT takes time.

I don’t like to be rushed. I don’t like to have the pressure of a daily schedule. I don’t like to have a dual focus. When I’m in the word I want to be “in The Word.“ After I’m feeling as full as I can, for the moment, I’d like to spend time to pray. I don’t want that to be rushed either. Sometimes it’s just a prayer of thanks and praise. Other times something that Eric is going through is burdening me, so the entire time is spent praying through a situation for him. Nearly every day our kids are bathed in prayer, Willow too, of course. Often my heart goes out for the people with whom I have come in contact. Most days I have family members that come to mind. Again, this takes time.

Eric and I have been working on a schedule for nearly a year, struggling to find one that works. In January we took a training on time management. It was a Dani Johnson training and she said to put God first and everything else will fall in place. She said He will expand our time.

Since January we have been trying to give our Heavenly Father the first of our days. What that looks like is getting up very, very early. Let’s hit the pause button: I can’t express the healing that has begun to take place.

Sunday church: every Sunday I used to go to church to get “God meat” to last the week. Some Sundays it was a buffet and I would pick a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and a whole bunch of one particular thing. Throughout the week I would chew on it, pray a bit on it, go to sleep and wake up to do the same the next day. By Saturday I was anxiously awaiting Sunday for my next hearty meal. Things are different now.

Eric and I are attending a new church, one we’ve chosen together. This church is quite different as it is no longer a Buffet. It expects everyone to be in the Word and bring whatever you have been learning or what has been challenging you to the table for all to partake. It’s no longer a buffet, it’s a carry-in. If you’re not cooking at home, many go hungry/are not challenged. They take the verse:

“Proverbs 28:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.“ very seriously. We are all on a journey, so there’s no judgment at their table. The cool thing is someone at this church just might have a seasoning of clarity I had missed or forgotten in the dish I had prepared (a thought or nugget I had gleaned in my time with Heavenly Dad).

They are challenging us to take the book knowledge to home. If all that we’re learning in The Book isn’t reflected in our actions toward each other and those around us, it’s hitting the brain but missing the heart.

Getting up seriously early isn’t easy. It’s made us both look at what is truly important. TV shows that were entertainment have gone by the wayside. We have learned that card games can be played in a pretty short period of time when it’s just two people and are much more interactive. Almost every moment now has a purpose. That also makes weekends extra sweet.

We savor watching a movie together and choose each one carefully. We often make fun food to make it even better and complete the experience. But there’s more!

Our everyday conversations are more about things we are learning verses our comparing differences in belief. We are getting better about embracing our Individual journeys instead of judging the other’s path. We have a ways to go but the difference from before to where we are now has both of us checking on Clisthby’s schedule.

I guess to sum it up, Eric and I are finally taking our pledge to God and each other, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Out of just the words stage and made it a reality.

Maybe Clisthby needs a raise.

Until next time: Blessings!

Gearing Up—Thank You, Grace

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
I’m putting my miner’s hat on and headed on in to mine for gems. I’ll savor any nuggets of TRUTH I find today! I’m clicking on the light in my helmet of salvation, gonna buckle up with truth around my waist, putting on my body armor of righteousness, and have my boots of readiness on, also carrying my shield in case there is falling rocks or flaming arrows in the workplace, and toting the sword of the spirit so I’m protected. Dare not work naked today! (Ephesians 6:10-20) Grab your garb today, too!

This, my dear friends, was a text to me from Grace. After reading that don’t you feel like donning your armor, grabbing your spelunking gear and rushing out the door? Do you feel equipped to face everything and ANYTHING the world hurls at you? Are you ready to harvest mountains of diamonds, rubies and gold nuggets of wisdom? I did and DO each time I read that text.

I would say that’s who I want to be like when I grow up, but we aren’t far apart in age. Like Grace, I want my everyday words to encourage, challenge and uplift each person to whom I hit, “send.” Each text I desire to be as if Jesus’ crazy awesome love was spilling through their inbox like an electronic current. Sparks of energy and light I want to send to the receiver to illuminate whatever darkness in which they find themselves.

More than being an encouragement, I don’t want to pass along the fears of this world. I refuse to infect others with useless anxiety by reflecting any negative words or texts, even if from “reliable sources.”

Philippians 4:8, NIV: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

This is who I want to be. I’m not there yet, but each moment I have the opportunity take a step closer to my “ideal me.” I have to either consider quickly or dwell on what this world serves up in and on the radio, internet, or TV. I then have seconds before that information affects and/or changes my mind, mood, or outlook—seconds! I have to choose what and to whom I listen to carefully because Proverbs 23:7a says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” What I allow in is what comes out—and that’s not always pretty. I’d best get quicker on the “considering” and even faster to “think about such things:” anything that is excellent or praiseworthy.

What’s on your mind(and maybe lingering) that you should be letting go to get closer to your ideal YOU?

Until next time: Blessings!

My “Grand” Adventure

Matthew 19:14 “but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’”

The radio hums in the background and the lights are dimmed low. Max and Dash were confused and made their voices heard over feelings of upheaval but have settled and are comfortable. The house is in peaceful rest. Quiet even breaths emanate from my lap as I rock back and forth, back and forth.

A glossy sheen peeks through slits of the sleepy eyes of the wee one in my arms. I softly sing, ”Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak but He is strong.” The slits close as my red velvet antique chair creaks to the melody. “Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so,” creak, creak.

Monday morning my granddaughter arrived, dark and early, along with a new adventure. My grand, Miss Willow, will be hanging out with Grammy for an hour or two each morning. I will then take her to the lovely young woman who has chosen to care for this precious bundle during the day. This is truly a dream come true: to be able to see my daughter and granddaughter every day (an added bonus would be Kristian).

I have been praying for Willow since before she was born. To have this blessed miracle in my arms brings tears of unworthiness for my Heavenly Father, Creator, Redeemer and Healer. I look at Willow’s perfect face and see Kristan’s chin and Archie’s nose, but when I look at her resting face I see my beloved Taylor over twenty-five years ago. I well again.

As I rock I ponder Naomi in the Bible. She voiced her feelings of being dealt with bitterly. When she held her grandchild her perception had changed. She then viewed Heavenly Dad as the Restorer of life. So do I. God is good.

Matthew 19:14 “but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’”

The verse today is a reminder that crap happens in life. I cannot focus on that. I might miss the opportunity to teach this precious new beginning in my arms about the love, strong, compassionate, forgiving, merciful Creator who designed her perfectly with love and purpose. “Do not hinder them… .”

She has been created to do great things with a passionate heart. I sit in awe of this tiny miracle and wait with baited breath to watch as He unwraps the many gifts strategically tucked into my bundle of grace, mercy and joy. That is the Grand Adventure!

Thank you for walking this journey with me.

As the teeny blue eyes peek open comes the realization: Heavenly Dad loved me so much He placed special and important people in my life. They changed me. Those from the past I carry with me and are reflected in my mannerisms and the way I treat others. The present is made up of mercy, grace and hope. Thank you Eric, his family, Archie’s family, my family, Grace and my Awesome kids. Finally, Heavenly Dad loves me and I trust Him that the best is yet to come.

Until next time: Blessings!

It Wasn’t Enough

1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Hmmmmmm, the fan hums, as it was accidentally left on, for the sake of sleepy white noise. One “Click!” and it’s silent. I meander to the kitchen to refill my tipsy mug. The bottom cracked and fell off two or three years ago and went missing on a snowy day at Heartfelt. With the melting snow of spring brought the reunification of more-than-a-slightly warped base and coffee mug. Eric does not share my love for this 8 or so year old thermal mug. On more than one occasion he has fallen victim to it’s tumultuous antics. He drinks and WEARS coffee quite well, as proven on several occasions.

Since I finished my coffee time with Heavenly dad about an hour ago, I have been pondering that last verse in 1 Corinthians 13. I know I’ve dissected the entire chapter but feel overwhelmed when I think of putting them all together.”Heavenly Dad, Can you please show me what YOU say love is?” Ask and ye shall receive! (Matthew 7:7)

One of my favorite passages of scripture EVER is in Act 17:11. Paul commends the church for not just listening to the words HE says but checking them/searching the scriptures to make sure he was right! I’ll bet most (hopefully) pastors would say the same thing. When I asked Heavenly Dad what love is, more than one chapter, He gave me TONS of info. I had to break it down in bullet points for me to understand so that’s the way I’m writing. I’m also going to “Pull a Paul” and include the scriptures at the bottom for you to double check my thought process. If you see anything I missed, PLEASE, let me know. This journey we are on together.

What is Love, from my Heavenly Dad:

-Love is a command

-from God

-since, if you love you know God, I’d assume if we don’t love we don’t know God. Am I reading that right?

-God gave the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of love: His only Son, part of Himself, for us to have the opportunity to be with Him in heaven. He loved US that much.

-Love is forgiving: covers a multitude of sins (keep that one earnestly)

-Dad reiterates my previous thought: if we don’t love, we don’t know Him

-Real love has no fear, it casts out fear. Fear has to do with punishment. If you are afraid in a relationship, the love is not perfect.

-The fruit of the Spirit, part of God is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

-Again: if we don’t love, we don’t know God AND God is love which means our love relationship SHOULD contain all that fun stuff from the previous point

-Love other people as much as you love yourself. There is no commandment greater than this one.

-A true friend will always love you (frenemies don’t count). Your kinfolk are the ones we often fight with (let’s just look at them as “friends,” shall we?).

-There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God…except ourselves(notice, that one’s not in there).

-His love quiets us. I think of that as when we are anxious, He can give us a peace that passes understanding.

-Real love cannot be quenched. If anyone is willing to sell love, it isn’t love at all.

-If you truly love the way God wants us to love, people will see that you are one of His kids, meaning we are part of Him and He is part of us.

I have a long way to go but at least I can clearly see my goals. Does that help you? Check it out for yourself:

1 John 4:7 “
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”

John 3:16 “
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

1 Peter 4:8 “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly since love covers a multitude of sins.”

1 John 4:20 “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

1 John 4:8 “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

Mark 12:31 “The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

Romans 8:35-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.“

Song of Solomon 8:7 “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.”

John 13:35 “By this all people will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.”

Until next time: Blessings

Who Are You?

I Corinthians 13:12 “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

“It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring. He went to bed, bumped his head and didn’t wake up until the morning.” It IS raining but Eric is NOT old and as far as I know he hasn’t bumped his head. He woke up hours ago, so I think that would qualify as middle of the night, not the morning. It’s fun, none the less, to remember things from our youth.

I remember laying on the floor, on my back, across from one of my siblings. We would press our feet against each other and go back-and-forth, back-and-forth, back-and-forth, like climbing stairs and sing this chant. Why? I have no idea. It was just a rainy day activity to entertain wee ones.

We didn’t worry about what we were going to wear. It was enough of a challenge to figure out how to get the shirts over our heads and the right arm in the right sleeve. There was no worry at night as to IF there was going to be breakfast. When we awoke, hot oatmeal or cereal was always available. As we got older, my mom’s special breakfast bars or muffins along with a vanilla milkshake (she said it was the same same as a glass of milk only all of us would drink it—LOVED her reasoning!!!) would be ready to grab before running out the door to the bus.

There was little thought or concern about what we were going to do, when we were going to do it or with whom. We got up, went to school, came home after an hour on the bus and did homework. One of the most unusual things happened next, my mom’s rule: we had to have devotions before the TV came on. Honestly, not a lot of the words lept from the page to my heart. It was more a matter of, “how fast can I read and get through this?” Admittedly, one part of that regiment stuck: God is the priority. I would thank her times a million, if I could, because I know I never did while she was living.

“For now we see in a mirror dimly,” When I was a child running to and fro, I would look in the mirror and it didn’t matter about the lighting. A quick glance while running a chunky yellow pocket comb through my hair and I was out the door.

 “but then face to face.” As a teenager, the mirror at home was a daily frenemy. I’d swear I walked out of the house with every hair in place and pimple popped. The fluorescent lighting of the girl’s bathroom at school told a different tale. In THAT reflection I would see a cyclone headed girl with eighty-four whiteheads (more than a slight exaggeration) staring at me. Who was that person looking back at me in the mirror, I wondered.

Life takes turns, as it always does. Middle school began in Indiana but was completed in Pennsylvania. High school was an adventure starting in Pennsylvania then veering to Indiana with an added sub map for a homeschool route. This path helped the excursion to Virginia and then the expedition to Minnesota with night school. The destination for completing and receiving the illusive high school diploma came to fruition back in Virginia! The answer to “Who am I, really?” became more of a quest than question.

“Now I know in part;” I had suspicions of who I was, but one has to acclimate to the culture in which they are immersed. The positive was the varied experiences in different states. These opened doors that would have remained unseen. Often we develop tunnel vision as we embrace and accept a “normal” way of life. One person’s “normal,” however, is another person’s “weird.” If not for many displacements, I might have set limits of involvement in an effort to be accepted or impress the individuals surrounding me.

“then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” Everyone goes through some sort of self awareness. It was important to me that Taylor didn’t have to struggle to see hidden doors of opportunity or possible interests. We wanted as much information/many tools in her toolbox as possible for her to assemble and produce her identity.

Taylor was raised with God being #1 and she knew He created and instilled loves and passions within her. It our our job, as parents, to open the door and shine the light on the path He laid before her.

She tried or played nearly every sport we could find, participated in drama’s and sang in choirs on stage. She played clarinet and participated, successfully, in marching band. We fostered so she was an only, youngest, middle and eldest child. We hand made Christmas cards and candy, annually, to give away and volunteered at the Depot, a local non-profit. As if she wasn’t well-rounded enough, she lived in two houses that were repossessions. Her best Christmas present EVER was a bedroom door! She now values the little things.

Some activities she enjoyed, others she did not. When it came to fostering, no one really speaks of the affects on/to the bio child. She was hit, bit, pinched, spit on, stolen from, and punched in the stomach. She learned to love, celebrate, win, lose, deal with disappointment, heartache, and grief. We consider her well rounded.

The above mentioned experiences created opportunities for self awareness. She blessed my socks off the other day when asked,”One thing your mother said…” and her response was: “Better or best?” When we made a decision it wasn’t based on right or wrong but,”Is this the better or best thing I can do for the situation?”

The bottom line is: Taylor is authentic. If you meet her, know that the person in front of you is the person she is behind closed doors. I truly believe God did an amazing work and I will always be in awe that He used me for such a perfect creation. She is fully known because she fully knows who she is. My prayer is that you do, too.

Until next time: Blessings!

Can I say,”It’s full Enough!”?

Years ago, six to be exact, Archie and I had a discussion that was so convicting it hit my Facebook page. It was one of those things that you write, get it off your chest and then you move on. Facebook however, doesn’t let those things die. “Your Memories“ pop up on a consistent basis. Often when I’d write something I would tag my kiddo in it. She now has this ability to catch the memories I’m blind to and draw attention to them.

This week was another set of memories I ignored and then I got a notification. Taylor shared my post. “What post?“ As I hadn’t posted anything for a few days. The post that she shared was me talking about tools and where God uses the difficulties in life. I gave examples, some of which were mine, others were struggles that I knew other people were dealing with. The difficulty with revisiting this post was that I had acquired another tool I had mentioned that wasn’t mine at the time. The tool was being a widow.

With that being said and the uncertainty of the future, a lump in my throat appeared. Another tool I mentioned was diabetes and my mom was diabetic. Now I’m wondering…?

When I look at this post, in my mind I picture a toolbox, red metal with a lot of the paint knocked off. There is rust in the corners and the latch is fastened but has no lock. I keep this mental toolbox beside my purse or in my car. I need to have it readily available and as a bonus I don’t have to worry about trying to keep another key straight (I have been accused of carrying a set of janitor’s keys).

As I mentally look at the toolbox, my first thought was, “That toolbox is full. I don’t want any more tools.” Though that sounds super selfish, and it probably is, but I’m just being honest. It’s the
guise of the “full plate. ” You know, when there are so many trials, you talk to God and you say, “My plate is full I can’t take anymore!” Instead, often it feels like God grabs you another, for “seconds.”

The crazy thing is, I have used each and everyone of those tools. Someone has had a need, and when I asked Heavenly Dad how I could possibly help, He lovingly reached into that battered toolbox, handing me the right tool at the right time to help. In that respect I can’t say, “enough tools!”. When I remember whose hand went in I realize, it’s not my toolbox…it’s His.

Here’s the memory:

Thoughts for today….
Yesterday Taylor Cook and I were discussing why negative things/physical aliments either happen or why God doesn’t heal everyone who asks.
Today @ lunch while chatting w/Arch the subject came up again. These were some of our thoughts…what are yours?

What if God came to you, like actually came to your door, and said He had something extremely important to talk about with you. He said there is this tool He has to reach those that are hurting, feel betrayed, are lost, or are hopeless. He shares His intense desire to comfort and give peace but He needs you.

Wow! God needs me! What could I possibly have that God could use? Why did He come to MY door? What could possibly make me that special?

God continues: He explains, this tool is vital to His work. People are hurting and He wants to comfort and encourage them with the use of this tool. You can see the pain in His face when He speaks of the discomfort in the world, but His brow softens and His face is peaceful as He shares the hope and reassurance the world is about to experience with your help and reliance on Him.

My heart palpitates! Help others in need? Give hope?!!!! Me?

He warns that there will be pain and sacrifice on my part. Change that….GREAT pain and sacrifice.

….what would you say?

The truth is the tool is unique to each one of use, what is yours?
Is your tool cancer? Can you relate to an unbeliever in a way that someone not going through it just couldn’t understand?

Is your tool sympathy? Have you grieved the loss of a child…a parent…a spouse…best friend? Can you cry with someone because you genuinely feel their pain?

Is your tool diabetes? Can you give encouragement to those that are just beginning this journey and express that God loves them just they way they are. Can you explain, with empathy, God has created them for a purpose and this disease is not a punishment, it’s a purpose?

Is your tool depression? WHAT? That CANNOT be a tool I yell…ever so reverently, of course…. . Yes, He explains. Can you teach and model complete dependency…moment, by moment, by sometimes agonizing moment, on Him? Can you can give the weight of the world to God and trust that He is big enough to carry it, even if that means giving it to Him over and over and over again?

Sometimes I feel so helpless in a world full of pain and suffering. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself because of my shortcomings and physical limitations.

What if….what if I took the focus off of me…? What if I looked for someone else who is at the beginning of a difficult journey that I just finished? What if I got up enough nerve to seek out someone who successfully completed a journey that has stopped me dead in my tracks.

What is my tool?

Until next time: Blessings!

Love and the Innocence of a Grandchild

1 Corinthians 13:11 “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.”

Tick, tick, tick, the kitchen gear clock mumbles. The rest of the house is silent except for sleeping Dash’s heavy breathing. I walk around the house shutting off lights as Eric pulls out of the driveway for work. A few scattered dishes left to do from breakfast and preparing lunch to-go and soon I will be joining the commuting community.

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What I Think I Know…?

“For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.” 1 Corinthians 13:9-10

Hmmmmm, clink, clink, hmmmmm, the dryer hums as it goes about it’s bi-daily task. The pitter patter of little fury paws following me echoes through the kitchen but screech to a halt as I make my way down the two stairs to the laundry room. Stairs for elderly pups have to be weighed carefully: “How much attention am I really going to get if I follow her down the stairs?” Smart bet, not a lot, if I’m doing laundry.

At the top of the stairs they stand, tails wagging uncontrollably, anxiously waiting for me to finish. When the chore is complete they do their cutesy mini-dachshund happy dance, 11 pounds each, busting a move. I laugh as I reach over and scratch their backs and their tummy’s hit the floor.

This morning I noticed Max’s raven cheeks are getting a snow-kissed glow thanks to father time’s aging fur color. My fury baby boy isn’t a baby any more and his once bright eyes now appear dimmer due to a milky haze. This reminds me that his cataracts are part of the stair equation and that makes me extra grateful for his energy level.

After a few guilty looks, I relent. Into the living room for a little mother furry sons cuddle time. Dash bounds up onto the sofa with little effort, but usually has to catch his breath after. The attack last year affected his lungs but forgot to tell his brain the limitations. Then Max, oh, sweet Max. The sofa is what cued us in to his need for a restricted diet. After several up to the plates, with his jumping ending in head slams, it was time to lighten his load. A month or two later he wound up, jumped and onto the couch he happily descended. He was happy and I was happy as it made my guilt for limiting his intake purposeful.

I was reading over the two verses today, and wasn’t sure what Heavenly Dad was talking to me about. When that happens I tend to get up and walk around, just kind of pondering on the truth that He is trying to reveal. I’m thick skulled. It was during my rounds, that my boys created this memory for me. Every moment…is a memory.

“I know impart” is chalked full of truth. I remember the answers I thought I had when I was a teenager, 20s, 30s, and even early 40s. I understand now I could never see the full picture. I viewed everything from the lens of life experience, which was limited at the time, and information found in books, magazines, and the internet.

“We prophesy in part:” I have learned prophesying is speaking what you know is going happen in the future. Without a shadow of a doubt I can say, “It is going to rain,” because it will—someday. Though I believe God gives some people the gift to say much more important and prophetic things, I’m just using rain as an easy example. The “in part” reminds me that future facts don’t always mean a full picture.

The rest of this passage, “but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away,” is the reassurance of when Jesus returns. He is the only “Perfect,” and at that time I will fully understand EVERYTHING!

I have this imaginary, “Box of questions to ask God,” someday. The box continues to get fuller but I try not to open or dwell on the contents of that box. ”Do I trust Him or don’t I?” rings through my head each time I have my hands on the lid to revisit a pain (and sometimes I fail).

This verse reminds me that “ but when the perfect comes,”every thing I need to know, will be revealed.

Next time I’m hoping Heavenly Dad and I talk about being a Grandma!!! So until then: Blessings!