Letting Go


Yesterday, a friend stopped me to ask how I was. She will never know how much it meant to me that she stopped her day to ask. She’d posted something on her Facebook page that we’d discussed earlier that week. It really helped me put things in perspective. It was about the verse; “Be still and know that I am God” and how the original root of “Be Still” doesn’t actually mean be quiet, but let go! Which we both agreed is hard for us.

“Letting Go” means a lot of things to me. My control over everything out of control. My prayer requests, and my anger. Believe it or not I am a grudge holder. I know, I know, doesn’t seem possible right? THAT my friends is a rhetorical question. I mean, I am being sarcastic but I really do hold on to almost everything! And it’s exhausting. That is why letting go would be such a relief! I haven’t claimed any real New Year resolutions for 2019 yet. But I do believe that REALLY “letting go” would be a good start for me. To let go of any plans I may have, and to really believe that God’s GOT this! And that He’s working things out according to HIS will! Which sometimes is hard to understand at the time.

My son sent me this verse this morning….

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39

First off, to have my son sending me Bible Verses IS a miracle in its self. But TODAY especially I needed this one! I am in kind of a Spiritual Warfare right now. And I need the Armor of something much more powerful than me. Funny, I asked God to let me know He heard me. He is so faithful if we stop to really listen and  yes…. let go!

 

When I’m On My Knees

 

In the darkest corner, or on the raging sea

when everything looks bleak,

I find You

when I’m on my knees.

No matter where I am, I know where You will be

and that I can always find You

when I’m on my knees

I don’t mind all the lessons that forever are reminding me

that I mostly find the answers

when I’m on my knees.

And when the dark has lifted and You’ve answered all my pleas

may I always remember

to thank You when I’m on my knees!

d.reed

2019

 

 

 

 

 

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The Proverbial Bottom – “Just believe”


There comes a time in everyone’s life where we each have a day of reckoning. Much more than an “AHA” moment, more like a series of lessons that all come together at once. Similar to those mountain top highs that we experience at a High School youth camp when we are touched by a certain speaker’s message or just the praise songs sung around a campfire. Promising to God and ourselves the magnificent change we are about to make, really believing that we can make those changes…. That is, until we come down off of that mountain to face the real world. And are hit by “life.” When we are younger, it may be peer pressure, school, home life, whatever pushes our buttons that help us fail at being that person we really want to be. And yet as adults with decades behind us, we have a clearer picture and are more aware of our daily mistakes. Though we try to live right, have faith, be patient and kind, love our neighbors, our family, even our enemies until something happens that tests that faith and we  hit that bend in the road or the proverbial bottom of where we end up in a crisis, when we feel as if we have failed.

The older we get, more “stuff” gets in the way. And we feel more of an urgency to take account of our lives. But in a more surface matters of the heart kind of way. Believing that it is genuine but still becoming easily discouraged or offended. And not remembering that down on your knees kind of faith. Until that is, we start losing loved ones, or dealing with health issues, or financial crisis, relationship issues,  or whatever will send you to that proverbial “bottom” of where we hit when we feel helpless…. It is only then when we stop and take a good look at everything in a way that we haven’t for a while, maybe even not since that High School Camp experience.

I’ve had several crisis in my life. And have tried to renew my faith each time. But looking back, in a very primary kind of way. Though I genuinely meant it each time and was going through a kind of information gathering process. I don’t really believe that I understood this thing we call faith as much as I feel I do now. (And am still learning about it.) Through deaths and divorce, illnesses, financial stuff and getting on my knees kind of catostrophes. Everytime, making promises and praying for answers and receiving those answers but not continuing that walk of faith in the good times as well. NOW, realizing that even as I failed to follow through, I needed to go through those times of not following through, to land where I am now and to know that I need to keep getting down on my knees,  going in my prayer closet and giving it all to HIM daily. Not just when I need something but also to thank Him for His answers.

Recently a friend of my husband’s died and at the Memorial they gave away a book called Proof of Heaven, written by Eben Alexander M.D.  a Scientist and Brain Surgeon who got sick, and had a near death experience that he didn’t believe in as a Scientist and Surgeon beforehand. I highly recommend the book!  The one thing that really poked my heart was where he shared the (3) feelings of heaven that impacted him most… He said that he felt this overwhelming feeling of… (1) Love, (2) no fear, and (3) that he could do no wrong. The last one hit me the most and I was overcome by something inside of me that is so hard to explain. The realization that everything the Bible teaches us is about forgiveness and non judgement hit me with such a powerful impact it made me cry. I never really truly understood just how much I have felt like a failure in my life. To feel as if I could do no wrong would simply be heaven for me.

I believe that when we hit bottom, we are supposed to learn from those times. To rise up stronger than before. God has put people in my life with examples of strength that humble me. And make me count my blessings. To think that I don’t have it “so bad” and yet I wonder, why are they so strong as they continue to be a servant without complaining? And somehow I think that as I go through each trial, I am just beginning to learn how to fall on my knees, on my face and just believe. Isn’t that what we are called to do? Why haven’t I gotten that yet? Though mountain top highs are great memories of times when we felt as if we could almost touch the hem of our Lord, there is something about reaching a point in our life where we have to stop snatching back those prayers we  lay at HIS feet, and truly get down on our face where we are closer to the hem and just humbly believe that He is in charge and let Him be. Only then will we feel what it truly feels to be free.

 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, “for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor fasake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

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

I’m So Glad I Didn’t Give Up


Things I might say to my future self…

“I am so glad that I didn’t give up!”

I no longer look out a window as I write this. I am inside my brand new cozy art/writing studio that my husband lovingly built for me after we moved here and has since made new, and recently moved me back into.

my-studio

When our daughter was in the third grade we had an opportunity to move and so feeling that raising her in the country might be amazing, we packed up all of our things  and moved four hours away from all of our friends, my son (a biggie) 😦 who opted to stay, and my business and all of my art shows and resources. Though we brought all of the show displays and art stuff, planning to reboot a new customer base, it just wasn’t the same.

show-display

I ended up traveling back and forth to do my shows and for a while it worked. And then we opened up our little shop; Rose In The Woods, which if you follow me, you know our story about losing it. (If not, you can find the story here:) https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2012/09/23/a-thing-of-beauty-in-an-unexpectd-place/

But that is not what I wanted to focus on today. It is just that today, I sit here determined to not let anything stop me. To somehow let all of those times when I felt slammed up against a dead end, not discourage me, but to encourage me. Because… I am still here believing in that same dream.

Years ago, when my neighbor took a little painting I’d painted for her as a birthday gift, to her corporate building where she worked, and came back with forty orders for me. I believed that God answered my prayer about finding a way to stay home with my kids and work for myself. Which I was pretty successful doing, for a couple of decades.

Today, I can’t help but feel a little frustrated. I have read hundreds of very helpful tips and tutorials and I am still not reaching a very big audience. I realize that this is barely week two since I re-opened my Etsy shop and that my art needs to be updated (which I am in the process of working on) and that today there are so many more talented people out there toting their own wares. Some that were not even born when I began and that those little artists  are way more techie than I am!

But then I have to go back. Back, back, back. To my VERY first art show. It was  THE ONE to get into and there was a waiting list. I started praying that somehow I’d make the cut. I knew it was slim to no chance that I’d get into it that year, and I still had no idea what I was doing. But someone dropped out at the last minute and wahlah! for some reason “I” got in! I was not in the greatest spot and I was outside and it was FREEEZZZING and I only made a few hundred dollars that weekend, but I took the opportunity to walk around and study the booths that were packed with “buying” customers and took notes! The next year at that same show, (I had a better booth inside) I made One Thousand Dollars the first hour! Keeping in mind that this was in the late eighties and that was BIG money at the time. During that year in-between, I’d added dolls to my line and started making a line of actual kid-sized ones. As the show opened, a lady who lived in an amazing near-by neighborhood known for their elaborate Christmas decorations  called “Sleepy Hollow” bought all of my elves that morning.

sleepy-hollow

(Her house won the award that year)

I can’t say that I was THAT successful, every show after that, but it made me realize what I could do with a lot of preparation and understanding the market. Now, I feel as if I am kind of starting at the begining again, and I just need to research like I did for that first show. My kids, my husband and my friends have been great cheerleaders. Though, somehow I need to reach that customer base I was so spoiled having for so many  years . I’ve been wandering through the Etsy shops that have thousands of sales to see what they are doing right, that I am not. I know that I need better photos and to keep educating  and challenging myself technically. (Which is probably my biggest road block.)

I welcome all my reader friends to wander through my shop below & I welcome any feedback as well!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/DianesDesignsbyDiane?ref=hdr_shop_menu

I am not sure what is in my future, but someday I pray that my future self says: “I am so glad I didn’t give up!”

May I never forget that on my best day I still need God just as desperately as I did on my worst day! believe-defined

 

 

 

“It’s Okay Sir, There’s No One In That Car”


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Anyone who has followed my blog knows this story… but sometimes I just need to remind myself of all my blessings. So please bear with me as I remember.

This morning as I was getting ready for work, I was feeling a little sorry for myself, having recently been laid off, but still trying to finish out my “time” when it dawned on me what anniversary it was, and how thirteen years ago today, I was bustling around our little store, turning on the Christmas music and the fireplace. Making hot apple cider and setting out cookies.

My daughter and I had just pulled up in front of our little gift store, Rose In The Woods, to “open” as we waited for our employee Caroline to relieve  us long enough to go Christmas shopping.

All month long I’d hear our customers say… “This is my last gift I have to buy!” and I’d panic, because I hadn’t bought anything yet, besides the gold watch I’d ordered for my husband and just picked up from Pan Jewelers, a local merchant in our building , a few days earlier.

As we pulled up, my daughter Brooke asked to wait in the car but I coaxed her into helping me open, promising that with her help, we’d get out of there sooner to go shop! Just as the Fed Ex guy showed up with a back order of quilts, Caroline, our employee walked in the door as Brooke implored,”No mom pleeease don’t open that box!”  knowing that normally, I took the time to open each quilt and hang them on a fat dowel to display. I decided to compromise saying that she could just price them in their zippered plastic packages and was about to find a basket to put them in when the phone rang and my husband was calling from across the street where he’d recently moved his printing business in order for us both to have more room. Asking if Brooke could run over and  pick up a mug for a customer who was scheduled to pick it up that morning.

We both rolled our eyes as if to say “we are never going to get out of here” as Brooke ran across the street. And another customer walked in. I’d just found a basket for the quilts when we heard a loud bang and all of a sudden our painted wooden floor began to buckle and roll as the room began to shake for what seemed like several minutes. I can’t say why, but I directed everybody to get in the back of the store and as they did, the roof caved in, right where my baby would have been placing that basket filled with quilts.

Not knowing, that when our roof caved in, it had also slid off of the building onto the cars below, including our car that Brooke had asked to wait in! I ran outside to find my baby still holding the mug, crying in her Dad’s arms as they surveyed the crunched building that used to hold Rose In The Woods. Not yet knowing about the two women killed right next door, I ran to them. As we stood huddled in the middle of Park Street that day, we watched as heroes began pulling the bricks from things.  I  suddenly noticed as they started removing bricks from my car. So I ran over, and choking back a sob I tapped on the shoulder of one of the firefighters and said…”It’s okay sir, there’s no one in that car.”

Just Me


 

 

I’ve always loved this picture! I have the print hanging in my livingroom. And so I share it here, as it inspires my post today…

There is another me… somewhere deep down inside of me. Someone who finds the words to write, but can’t always live up to them. She is the one who can’t stop the tears when she hears a song that reminds her of the ONE who never lets go… She is the one who is ashamed of every moment that she has failed HIM and the one who believes that HE will forgive her. She is the one who believes in the promises that she makes to HIM. And the one who is down on her knees again and again trying to get it right.

And then there is the me, stubborn and bitter, selfish and cruel and resentful of all the things in life that make it so hard to live up to the one inside who tries to be overwhelmed by grace. She is the one who remembers every wrong done to her, every word in every fight, every moment from years and years and years ago. The mistakes made by my parents, past friendships let go, broken relationships, loves gone wrong. Past pains, recent pains, I store them all up and store them in a place that keeps me stuck.

But the one inside, the one who knows better, the one constantly on her knees, prays for the me, the one who can’t forgive, the one who has built the walls, and tries to find me in whatever stuck place I am. She climbs the wall and reaches to help me over. I stand and I hesitantly take her hand but I am still weak, I can’t make it over with all my burdens and so she tells me to let go and I can’t. I become stuck. But she still keeps holding on and I begin to let go and get stronger and finally she pulls me over. And we are there together on the other side!

The other side is better… Not free from pain or life’s burdens but closer to the ONE who never lets go. And free from the past and the burdens that I have kept with me. Suddenly I am lighter and happier and able to live without the burden of always carrying everything with me. Today I decide to live in just today. And now I am on the other side, on my knees. And somehow it has become just me.

Someone who breathed in her babies and knew she should memorize the moments, kissed the boo boos and told them about Jesus and prays for all their dreams. She is the one whose heart broke when she lost the babies she did, and the dreams she had for them… She is the same one who believed in the vows that she breathed on the days she said them, the one who has made a thousand mistakes and will make a thousand more but she is all of me in one, the other me, the me on my knees.

 

Throwback Thursday… from my archives, before you knew me! I am starting to go back into where I was a few years ago and re-work some of the old thoughts I had. It is revealing to see how God really does answer prayer!