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

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In My Doubt…


 

It has been a while since I have felt that feeling of “having to” write. I am not sure what it is. You know, that thought that gets you out of bed in the middle of the night? The one that you can’t go back to sleep until you write it down and then find yourself still writing way past dawn? Well, it hasn’t happened for a while now. But this morning I was reading a comment from a post I posted today on this day in 2013 (5 years ago!)  and it inspired me to come in here and try to write something.

I’ve had a rather sucky time lately. Just really sad. I try to snap out of it but I have all of these questions running through my head. Maybe it is because when my mom died recently, I don’t think I really grieved. I’m not sure I know how to anymore. When my dad died, I cried for weeks. And then as other loved ones followed,  it all just made me feel, I don’t know. Numb. Maybe because my dad died of a heart attack, I wasn’t prepared and all of the others were sick and it was a relief to have them not struggle in pain anymore. But numb about covers it. I haven’t really been able to really cry for a long time. Even when we lost our store in the 2003 earthquake, I never really cried.

And then the recent California fires happened. It was all so devastating. After losing our store, I never look at devastation like that in the same way. Your world just stops, while life goes on around you. People are still joking and shopping and eating out, when you don’t know what your next step will be.  I know the feeling all too well. And then in Montecito, the people who didn’t lose their houses in the fire, lost them in the mudslides.

My poor husband just sat there one morning as I had a total meltdown and let me have it. Maybe I just needed to cry for all of the things that I hadn’t cried for when I should have. And just used this latest sad thing as my melting pot. But I began almost hysterically questioning  him why God didn’t stop the fires, or why He didn’t make it rain when the fires were happening, or why He made it rain so hard when it did rain?!! All metaphoric because there really is no good answer.

Though, I remember a day when we stood in the middle of the street, looking at the devastation on the block where our store once stood minutes earlier with Christmas trees twinkling in the window and customers packed inside just the day before, while my daughter clung to me sobbing asking “Why God made this happen?” I don’t remember my answer, but she does. She said that I said, “He saved us. He didn’t make it happen.” He did save us. Though the two women in the store next to us both lost their lives. It still is a mystery to me. Why not us? Why did they have to die?

I guess I will never know His ways until I can ask Him. But it scares me that I even have these questions. It’s not the kind of thing that people admit. You know… doubting. So I have asked God to speak to me. And it has kind of been amazing. So many things have come up about why bad things happen to good people. To children, and little innocent babies, and slowly I am hearing Him. Not really understanding, but I know He uses us even in our doubt to be a blessing to others and Glorify Him.

I know, I know, all of the right things to say… We live in a broken world. Bad things happen. Period. He could stop those things from happening, and He does. Sometimes. I know, because He has answered a lot of my prayers.  God does not want us to be His puppets.  Why create something that does not have any choice but to love you? That is not love. Love is a choice. He wants us to choose Him. He showed us love by sending His only son to die for us so that we can live with Him forever. This place is just temporary. So temporary. We are just renting these earth dwelling things called bodies. I AM actually understanding that more and more as so many of my loved ones have left this earth.

When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. He cried. Even though He knew that He was going to bring him back, Jesus wept because He could feel the family’s pain. I think that tells us a lot. Though Jesus could have been there to save him so Lazarus wouldn’t die, He wasn’t. Perhaps to give us this message today. Jesus cares what we are going through. Illness, death, devastation. Lets face it… life is hard. Divorce, accidents, catastrophes, financial struggles, relationship disappointments, they all matter to Him. But this world is our school. A place of lessons, some really hard ones sometimes.

The other day, I was telling a friend about my meltdown. And she said she knew of my faith and she was glad I was questioning things. I am still not sure what she meant. But I felt really bothered by it. And felt that I was not representing God in the way that I felt I should. And then I realized that I have always felt that I have never represented Him in the way that I should. And hopefully will never feel that I have arrived. I may never be the believer that I want to be. The one who gets to hear “Well done good and faithful servant.” Though that is my biggest prayer. And still… Everyday I  feel the need to fall down on my face and worship Him. To understand that He loves me so much that when I ask for Him to speak to me He does. I may never understand why He can’t just heal every sick and crippled body,  and give every homeless person a home, and make every mean person kind. So that this world would have no more wars or natural disasters. But I do believe that someday we will live in a world like that for eternity.

I loved when Jesus said  to Thomas, You are blessed because you can see Me. But blessed are the ones who don’t see Me and still believe.

So I guess I will just be sad sometimes. I will still cry when people I love die or when people I don’t know suffer. And I won’t understand a lot of it. And  I may have a few questions from time to time but that is okay. Maybe it’s good to let others see that we all have times of doubt. It’s just about trusting that all things work together for those that love God. And not letting the stupid devil dig up in doubt what  I have planted in faith!

God puzzle piece

 

 

 

 

Like Blowing Bubbles


big bubble

It’s been a while since I’ve written and even longer since I’ve worked on “my book.”  It’s funny. Once, I couldn’t “not” write. Now, I am not in a major writing block but I don’t want to just write to write. I have fleeting moments when I want to share something but if I don’t move on it right away, it kind of goes away like blowing bubbles… they are there floating around and then POP! Maybe it is because my study is out there with my art studio now. I have to walk outside, unlock a door and turn on a light and warm the place up before I can begin, where once I just walked to my office inside the house. Or… Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and my ideas in my head don’t last as long. Smile.

But in the time I’ve been away from my blog, I have a few things that have happened in life that I would like to share if you would care to pull up a chair for a while and chat with me…

In dreams… I’ve learned that you have to believe in yourself. and you have to become fearless in doing it. Even when you feel you are wasting time, or doubts crowd in so you can’t see the whole picture, you have to realize that dreaming is a form of planning and that nothing worth while ever just happens. Hard work and persistence is the only way you reach your goals. You must run toward your dreams as if you were on fire! And believe that you are never too old to set another goal and another, to reach that ultimate place that you want to be. The trick is… to realize that there is no expiration date on your dream. It is terrifying at times, when reality gets in the way and you have to make the choice to stay stuck in your comfort zone or go for it.

In relationships I’ve learned that love is a funny thing.  It isn’t just about that “all wrapped up in a butterflies in your stomach, over the top Ferris Wheel, falling in love kind of feeling. It is leaning on each other in the good and the bad times. Growing older but still seeing the beauty in staying. It’s still having a few fights but not wanting to pack your bags every time you do. It’s caring about each other with unselfish fortitude and doing things the other wants to do and giving freedom without guilt trips when they want to go do something without you. It is supporting their dreams and getting behind ourselves. And realizing that a supportive spouse is about as HOT as it can gets! And it is wanting to be together while sometimes doing nothing at all. And it is appreciating things in each other that you may have missed along the way. Things that have always been right at the core of why you’ve stayed.

I’ve learned that our kids are small for such a short time. That in the blink of an eye, they will be adults with thoughts and opinions of their own. That we have a tiny window to insert the values that we want them to carry with them. That they learn by not our words, but by our actions. Not by what we tell them, but what we show them. And in the end, it is their choice what to take with them and how well we packed those metaphoric suitcases for them.

I’ve learned that life is short. Time is fleeting. Love is more than a feeling. And only we can choose who we want to be. God has given us all free choice. In believing in HIM and believing in ourselves. I know people in my life who have given up on both. And I have learned through all my choices… never to give up on God or myself or the people I love and that everything is worth it in the end.

Now if you’ll excuse me… I’ve gotta get back to work!

my-studio

(My new art studio/study my hubby made for me!)

abcgarage saws

My garage workshop my husband also set up for me!

abc scarecrows at reminisce

(A start…. My Welcome Folk… Porch Dolls)

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!

 

 

Repairing The Keys


path in the woods

I’ve realized that the paths we take, may not always be the ones we envisioned. They may be charted out for reasons we don’t understand right away. In my journey, I’ve discovered that it is not about the job, nor definitely  the title, and it may not have anything to do with what you feel you bring to the table or what your talents are. You may just have to “be there” because God wants you right where He has you. It has taken me a long time to realize that. And to know the difference. Am I trusting HIM? Or am I just stuck? Even in writing, I catch myself thinking one or two words ahead and am constanly having to back space. It is not even just a mispelled word. I have actually observed that when I back space, it is because I have written words that I am thinking of, ahead of my current thought. And it has caused me to reflect on how I’ve lived my life.

door little girl peeking out black and white

I’ve gone through many doors in my lifetime, and have been PUSHED through a few! Recently that has really been the case for me.

typerwriter keys

It was as if some of the keys on my keyboard were stuck and I couldn’t really finish the story. I’d just typed around the broken keys.  NOW, the keys have all been repaired and I have been freed! I see the path before me and though it wraps around many hills and valleys, I am writing this story! It is not finished! I must stay on the path and continue the journey to the end! Even if it’s not really the one, I would have written into my own story. Sometimes I just need to let God do the editing!

 typewriter keys2

In my lifetime, I have realized it is not about the power of others, it is about the power that you define as yours. I’ve met some very brave people in my lifetime and I have met a few cowards. It has all been a measuring stick for me. WHO I have become and am becoming. Do we ever stop becoming who we were meant to be? I don’t think so. No, I really don’t. You only must believe.

woman leaving

“How can I get there?” Asked Dorothy. “You must walk. It is a long journey, through a country that is sometimes pleasant and sometimes dark and terrible. However, I will use all the magic I know of, to keep you from harm.”                      The Wizard of Oz

 

 yellow brick roato Oz

 

His Plan


writing just hand view

As I reflect upon this journey that I am on, certain things have been triggered that  I must share. In going back through journals and memories and even in just writing this blog…  I really wish I could have grasped all this  at a much younger age. It might have saved me a lot of pain along the way if I’d “gotten” this stuff much earlier!

But so far I have learned…

That God probably (most likely – oh okay…. He DOES!!! )  has a plan for all of us and a lot of us miss it by being impatient and forging ahead without HIM a lot of the time. Forgetting to bring HIM along on our journey.  Just like the Garden of Eden, when He gave us the gift of life, His plan was perfect. We were the ones that  messed that up and thought we needed more. I mean now how did that work out for us? You’d think that we would have gotten the very first lesson He taught us now wouldn’t you? But we are hard headed. At least I am and slow learners and so we have had to deal with the fall out.

adam and eve

God does not see the sin nor pain that hits us the second we breathe our first breath. He only sees the beauty of our potential and His plan. It is our own nature that feels greedy and angry and wanting more. If only we could keep that plan of His in tact. But we live in a fallen world with sin and pain and grief and there has been only ONE human being who has lived it perfectly and that is Jesus. Though, that doesn’t mean that we can’t strive to imitate His life the best that we can. And I think in the end, when all is said and done, that is “The Plan.”

I’ve learned that every day I have the choice to see the glass half full or half empty, to pray and believe in answered prayers or to doubt and give up. I have learned that I can get angry and take my ball and go home or stay and try to be a team player for the sake of the bigger picture. I have learned that not everyone may see my full potential and may pass over me several times in way of promotions or rejection letters, job offers or in my own  personal relationships.  And that I  can consider it all and stay offended and stuck because of it or I can be true to myself and realize that they are the ones losing out and continue to shine and move on. And that God’s plan may be better in the end anyway!

I have learned that not everyone has the same story and to be sensitive to where someone else has comes from, to not judge as quickly but to find out their story and have compassion. I mean didn’t Jesus teach that over and over again? We need to drop those stones and learn the art of loving for once and for all and maybe in the act, we might just learn our own lessons.

I have learned that you have to let things go or you will drive yourself crazy. It takes more energy hating than it ever does just moving on! Whether it is people who  you know or strangers that randomly choose you to cut off in traffic, it just is not worth ruining your day over when they have probably forgotten about their own offense shortly after they did it. I am robbing myself of joy by staying mad.

I have learned that it is better to keep your mouth shut than to gossip or to listen to gossip. When someone is talking about everyone else constantly, I pretty much have to accept the fact that they are also probably talking about me as well. And it just feels better to say nothing, rather than worry about my words being repeated.

I have learned that the bad times make you grow and the good times are the rewards for getting through the bad times. That there is always joy in the morning and that every time I have found myself on my knees, I have received a bigger blessing even amidst the pain. Because God’s voice does not return void.

I have learned that every mistake I have ever made, every wrong choice and even my worst sin, can have a redeeming message that I can learn from. And that God is a God of Second Chances.

And finally, I have learned that the lesson is all about trying to bring God’s plan to life for our lives. When we smile at a random stranger or  love the unlovable, when we forgive an unforgivable wrong, we are finally “getting” it.

Heaven may seem far away but it is actually very close and we can have it in our life daily if we are constantly on our knees remembering to seek His plan first.

praying woman b&w

“The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” –Psalm 121:7-8 Listen to chapter Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

 

I don’t have to just sit there and be a jar of rice!


three jars of rice

My daughter has been telling me about this thing called The Rice Experiment. A Scientist took 3 jars of rice and for one month, he said to the first one, “thank you” and to the second one he said “you are an idiot or I hate you.” And the last one was just ignored.  Watch the link below to see what happened. It is pretty incredible. The result is that the one that was told “thank you” grew fragrant and flourished while the others grew bacteria etc. The video is only about a minute long and is worth the time you take to watch it.

rice pictures from top

 

Lately, I have been in a horrible funk. I have pretty much felt like the other two jars of rice. I am not sure what is going on. I do believe that outside energy does have a lot to do with our lives. The negative people that we give power to, and the power we give away is within our control. I have come to the conclusion that we don’t just have to sit there and allow someone to come along and ruin our day and create fungus in our lives. Too many times I have allowed the negativity of others to take over.

suspicious

I believe that it is a conscious choice to love ourselves and embrace our positive-ness and all the fragrance that comes with it. We don’t have to wait for someone to come along and spew the expected or unexpected words we have grown accustomed to that catch us off guard and throw us off kilter. We need to find the love. It is there just as much as the hate. They actually sit next to each other all day long. It is up to us who we give the power to.

happy looking at

TODAY I know that I am loved. By God and by me and that is ENOUGH!

 

 happy smile

http://karmajello.com/mind-spirit/philosophy/masaru-emoto-rice-emotions-experiment-video.html#_

 

My Aha Moment


I just needed to share this with you guys. It sounds kind of silly now as I try to explain why I was brought to tears by this funny little incident, but maybe it is one of those times where you just  had to be there… but I wanted to try because it was such a special moment. Seems that I keep getting reminders from God a lot lately.

 Jesus hem

I was in a hurry yesterday for no known reason. It was my day off so I’m not sure what was up or why I was so up tight.  I was just annoyed at everything. Stuff at work, at home… nothing at all and stuff I was trying to deal with, without going too crazy. I mean something was really bugging me that I couldn’t put my finger on, and even today I’m not sure why I was so impatient.  I’d run to the store to pick something up and was trying to get out of the parking lot and get home.

As I waited, I absent mindedly waved a family on in the cross walk, though they actually already stepped out. The parents were in deep conversation and didn’t even acknowledge me but for some reason I glanced at the little boy and saw that he was staring right into my face smiling and without missing a beat, caught my eyes and waved. Nodding to me as he mouthed “thank you” as he walked by. I smiled back and that little old soul  who couldn’t have been  much older that three and a half, changed my whole perspective and  every cell in my soul.

little boy

I can’t explain it but it was like connecting with God. As if He slowed me down and gave me a reminder what it really IS all about. My Aha moments usually involve someone homeless or sick but this little boy looked well loved and obviously well raised. But it made me remember how God told us that He’d use the children to be HIS messengers and to lead us.  I had to stop and thank God for that little guy who brought a message to me on a day when I needed a reminder that it’s all about love and connecting and being grateful for even the smallest things.

 

God’s messages don’t need stamps they are sent with smiles!

Diane Reed

Unfolding Prayer Requests


valleys

The thing is, that no matter how low you go, the great thing about valleys is that there will always be…      Well, not valleys.

I think that my problem is that I have always looked for the mountain top high. My best friend and I were having a conversation today and she shared a little story about how when she was a little girl she remembers when she made a conscious effort to not expect more. It was a sad story (maybe another post)  but we ended up laughing, deciding that;

Expecting less out of life may save us from disappointment but it would be sad to go through life  only to find that your only joy may be…  not being disappointed because you expecteded less.

gifts place settings

When I was in my twenties a friend gave a few of us prayer tins as a party favor at a luncheon she threw for our friend’s birthday. Each one had blank cards inside waiting for our prayers. Her only instructions were not to open them until all the blank cards had been filled out and placed in the tin for three years. That little tin was packed away in-between the three year waiting period during a move in a box with journals and other personal books. Life went on and I lived it as a young mother in a struggling marriage. The tin had been filled and forgotten.

prayer box

Years later I found it again and I sat  in my cozy little home, one rainy afternoon as I emptied out the little tin onto the floor and began unfolding  dozens of prayer requests that I’d written to my Lord in quiet desperation.

folded notes

Remembering the time in my life when I’d written them all, believing each time that I inserted a new one that some how it was magically reaching Heaven from my pen to God’s eyes. And you know what I discovered? Every single one had been answered. Maybe not the way that I’d envisioned it but in a way that had been good for me and made my life better.

prayer request tin box

Folded Prayers

Oh Little Prayer tin

  forgotten in a box

holding all my pleas,

 I thought that you were lost

attic treasures

I recall the times when

I fed you every prayer

sometimes wondering

if ANYONE would care

You hold a special message

I needed to see today

That God answers if you ask

regardless of the way

HE hears our heart felt prayers

lonely window

and listens to our pleas

whether we are standing

or we are on our knees

praying on knees

He sees the folded prayer requests

folded in a tin

long after we have written them

and sent them up to HIM

HE is at work answering

long after our request

All inside a little tin I found

my faith had passed the test.

Diane Reed

2013©

Seriously, it is kind of a pretty neat exercise. Keep a prayer journal or start a prayer tin, and then look back a few years later and see how many of your requests were answered. It is really amazing how God really does hear us and how we always are so surprised to see how faithful HE truly is!!!!!

Who Am I?


stairs swirling

What is failure? Everything about the word stings. I think in the end, it is like everything else, a choice. We look at the glass as half full or half empty. We look at failure as rejection or opportunities to try again. In my life I have recently been on a downhill spiral. I have allowed myself to shut down. My life was interrupted in a way that I could  never have predicted at a time in my life when I needed a change. I reacted in a way I never could have imagined and only now am beginning to recover. Trying to understand the notion of who I am. I mean really Who Am I?

Sam I am

Have you ever felt crazy? I am not sure what crazy is. Perhaps it is carrying around a version of someone else inside your body. You function, you exist, you let this thing called a body carry you around and yet you don’t connect with it or anyone around it. You just kind of fake it. I think in a way, that has happened to me twice in my lifetime. The first time I think I was unaware what was happening and the second, well it just blindsided me.

split mirror

I was raised in a home which had its own issues but for the most part it was a loving and good one. When I started dating, I was pretty innocent. I didn’t have a lot of experience and I got involved in a pretty abusive relationship. A little physically, but most of it was emotionally, and the damage was so great then that  it has impacted me all these years later, I have carried the damage with me, trying to deny it. I have struggled with different issues all of my life stemming back to those days. Though, I’d really thought that I was past it all.  But something happened recently that made me wonder if I’d been faking everything about who I’d convinced myself that I was.

alice quote

 

Where I was reasonable, I was foolish, where I was truthful, I was shady, where I was faithful, I was non-committal. I craved a “soft place to fall” and looked for it in all the wrong places. My final stand was that it was MY TURN and I was going to make me happy “finally”. I started losing weight and taking care of the body that was carrying me around whoever I was. But I was in this fog of instant gratification. And for a while, I can’t deny it. I liked the feeling.

But there is this place in all of us… the part of the “me” that we know that we are. The place that brings tears to our eyes if we stay there too long. Where we feel love and pain and we are REAL and I am not sure if that is where home is or our heart or soul. A place where we still can get healthy and feel good about ourselves for the right reasons. A place that is the keeper of our heart. And for some of us… that place may be hard to find. We may have lost the key but yet…   I know that is where God is always waiting. And somehow I always manage to find my way back there.  And you know what? He still remembers me. Even though I think that “this time” I may have fallen out of HIS grace. He still remembers and loves me anyway.  It is not about being crazy, or failure or guilt. HE is that soft place. When I ask; “Who am I?” He replies You are my lamb.

Jesus saving the lamb

Still My Lamb

I couldn’t stand the world’s pain

and so I ran away

like the lone lamb from the flock,

I was the one who strayed.

I fell from grace still clinging,

hanging to life’s limb

as the Hand Of Life came down,

the one, that belonged to HIM

He left the nintey nine

to come and set me free

I didn’t understand why

He’d do that just for me

I asked Him “Why My Lord?

You don’t know who I am.”

He said, “Oh my child yes I do,

you are still my lamb.”

Diane Reed

2014©

Jesus and Lamb

Through The Papered Windows


paper over windows

When we were in the process of  opening up our store Rose In The Woods This nice man with kind eyes started stopping in pretty regularly just to chat. He began showing up even when there was still paper on the windows and we were still setting up. I remember him peeking in one day, he seemed so interested so I invited him in.

peeking through windows

Even though it was pretty much more of a female type store, he said he was sure his wife would love it. I remember him being one of our first customers, buying his wife some little mice figurines.

store

When he was getting his wallet out he mentioned his hands. I don’t think that at that point, that I would have ever noticed them, if he hadn’t pointed them out but he shared that he had been diagnosed with Lou Gherig’s Disease a few years earlier. He also shared how his wife Michele, was  helping to counteract it’s onset by being pro-active with her own research in nutrition and vitamins along with their strong faith in God. We began talking about where he attended church and I remember thinking that I wouldn’t mind going where he went.

micheld and chris

He told me that his name was Chris Pickens and I couldn’t explain it then, but as I look back now, I know he was planting seeds. There was just something different about him. It was as if I’d gone to church and been refreshed each time he visited. He would share a little something more about his life and his walk with God everytime we met and I was hooked without even realizing it.  Once my husband had been behind the counter at his desk working while I’d been talking. I knew he was trying to get a print order out but I was annoyed that he had not gotten up to meet Chris.

frustrated man behind desk

knew he’d like him.  And later told him that next time I wanted him to get up to meet him when he came in if he happened to be sitting at his desk. I also mentioned that if we ever went to church again, I wouldn’t mind going to his. Which I think perked up my husband’s interest because at that point in my life,  he was definitely more interested in finding a church than I was, because I was so busy getting the gift side of the store set up. But Chris told me that they had a great youth group at his church and since we both benefited from youth groups growing up, we wanted our daughter to experience it.

I’d met my husband at his church when a friend of mine invited me and my kids to hers when I was going through a divorce. But when we’d moved to our town where we currently lived, we just never got around to finding one. But we’d recently talked about wanting to find a good youth group for our daughter who’d just gone into Junior High. So the next time he came in, I encouraged my husband to get up and  meet Chris. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to meet him, it just had never been a good time. They hit it off right away. Just as I thought that they would! And that next Sunday, we all showed up for church and it turned out to be the one that my parents had sent my daughter and her cousin to snow camp from the year before, so she knew some people and felt right at home.

A few weeks later, we were invited to a friend’s 40th  surprise birthday party who we’d met at that church and we sat at Chris and Michele’s table and never looked back! We became fast friends. And Chris and my husband became the best of friends and so did Michele and I. They are those kind of friends that you feel you have known forever  and through them we met Art and Pam! Two more best of the best! The guys went to Promise Keepers weekends together several times over the years and served together  as leaders of the church. Until Michele and Chris moved to Southern California to be closer to family and medical facilities for Chris’s condition and Pam and Art later followed to help care for Chris, I was spoiled by being able to just pick up the phone and know that we could get together on a whim. I have a joke about the friends that I especially let into my heart… they eventually always move away! But I understand. And I am in awe of the friendship that the four of them have and that is why they are all my friends too.

art and pam

And  as I look back at our friendship and how it evolved, it amazes me… that we still question and prod God… begging Him to do this and that… not realizng that HE really DOES have it all planned out… all of these Divine appointments… if like Chris… we just listen and look through those paper windows when HE tells us to!!!!

lighthouse

 

Now I know that his life is just naturally Chris’s own mission field. He is like a lighthouse in this world. Regardless of his own storms he has always faithfully served His Lord!  Some of us may choose to go to third world countries, some may do it from the pulpit and some may do it one seed at a time…touching lives as we go! That goes for all four of my friends that I mentioned here! They have all been on their own mission fields! I love you guys and MISS YOU!

jim art and chris

Good Friends!!!!! (Because one listening heart kept peeking through those papered windows!)

 wizard of oz heart quote

*SIDE NOTE:

Please pray for my friends… for Chris and his healing for Michele and her strength and for Pam and Art as they support Chris and Michele and now for Pam as she has recently learned that cancer has returned yet again. We know God is a God of miracles and that He has answered our prayers before! Please join us as we pray for this wonderful couple. I am a firm believer in this verse:

“Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:18-20 RSV)

Thank you!

 

Road Kill


deer crossing sign

Coming from the city, we have emotional stop your day reactions when we see a dog or cat lying dead on the side of the road. But here in the country it is an everyday occurrence and  almost expected to see what we have callously dubbed  “road kill.” It is not unusual to see a deer or a squirrel or other creature having met their fate via the grill of one car or another.

deer crossing

 

The other day I even saw a wild pig laying lifelessly along the side of my scenic drive to work! I have to admit that I still have not gotten used to it. And it makes me feel a little empty inside as I realize how precious life is and how fast it can get snatched away.

road kill

We may have more sense than to dart out in front of an oncoming car. And it makes me wonder what logic is behind their decision to cross the road right when one is barreling around a corner. But if that didnt’ happen, how would I write about my metaphor of the day? Now I don’t like to liken us to “road kill” but I can relate in a way. I see those headlights “of life” coming and think that they are lighting my way, when in reality they are my sign to proceed with caution. How many times do we go looking for signs to only see the ones that we really want to see and overlook the ones that God gives us as He lays out blazing flares warning us to proceed with caution?

praying bible

Just like an animal darting out into the path of an oncoming car, we sometimes just close our eyes and leap. We don’t look both ways or proceed with caution, we don’t arm ourselves with daily prayer or stop and ask for God’s direction. We get caught up in trying to get our needs met as quickly as possible and in the process miss the message.

In my life, I’ve discovered that patience is a virtue. And what is virtue? It is: goodness, righteousness, morality, integrity, dignity, rectitude, honor, decency, respectability, nobility, principles and ethics. In Christianity the seventh highest order of the nine fold celestial hierarchy. Worth waiting for don’t you think? Beats darting across the road blindly and becoming “road kill.”

caution signs God

Oh Lord please take this day

and slow me down to see,

all the ways you try to

communicate with me.

Stop me at the corner

when I am running late,

 slow me down to hear YOU,

when you tell me just to wait.

For I’ve finally begun to see,

that I get in my own way…

After giving it to you,

and then taking back my  day!

Diane Reed

2014©

 

The Most Distressed


I don’t often post a series except of course in posting my chapters 1-9 from my unpublished book’s rough draft…  So this is unusual for me to do a two parter but I just was so inspired by the message I received yesterday while picking grapes at our friend’s vineyard, that I had to just add this today….

In the course of yesterday while I was picking grapes at my friend’s Harvest Day Vineyard Grape Picking Party… I was told to avoid the clusters where there were over 50% “raisins” (shriveled grapes).

grapes raisins

However, later as we were chatting over wine and good food, I learned different lessons of the art of winemaking and one of them was that the stressed grapes make the better wine. (Not to be confused with the raisins!)

It’s in the fruit that is the most distressed,

the one that ‘s weathered and withstood the test.

it’s the fruit that’s clung onto the vine

that someday makes the better wine.

RAIN

Oh Lord, I’ve finally begun to see

the message today, you had for me.

I may not always understand the pain

but growth is found beneath the rain.

grapes distressed

inside the storm as we hang on..

It’s in those times that have made us strong.

For those who’ve held on longest to the vine…

They are God’s reserve…

HIS finest wine!

wine glass

Diane Reed

’13

Oh My Soul


The Joy of The Lord

The mystery of our souls and the way that they are formed

makes me wander back to a place, long before I was born

healing waters

I imagine heaven and God preparing me for earth

big bubble

and how I must have played up there long before my birth

bubbly pic

It’s makes me kind of sad that we forget it all so fast

the memory of how we started and why it couldn’t last

closed curtains little girl

It must be in the lessons and the things we’ve yet to know

the ones that we hang on to and the ones that we let go

floor crying girl

My soul has always been there, though sometimes I feel it more

soul

through the darkest times and the times it’s been restored

water raining in a stream

Carrying me through trials and when  I felt most alone

Jesus answers prayer

floating upon the memory of the promise to return home.

praising Jesus in the clouds

Diane Reed

2013

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff… and is it really all small stuff?


I follow a blog by a fellow blogger and follower of my blog named Dyan, that challenges us to find  things to be grateful for in life. She is faithful in her commitment to write a daily word of encouragement and it has become an easy read. Today’s seemed to trigger a memory for me. It made me STOP and really see what I have been doing for over a decade… I realized that I am afraid to just let go and be grateful. To live in the moment to not worry about yesterday or tomorrow to just be grateful for something as simple as the ability to enjoy jam on my toast in the morning. I know it sounds funny… but some of you GET me so well…  I know you’ll understand.

Here is an excerpt from her post today:

It may be small, like the peach jam on your toast in the morning, pretty flowers that you pass on a walk – or it can be big, like a job opportunity we are presented with.  But if we are watching for things to be grateful for through our days, we will find them.  Living gratefully, purposely taking time to be grateful every day will bring us more things to be grateful for.  That is a great reason to keep a gratitude list every day.

To read the whole thing… here it is:

http://dyandiamond.net/2013/09/03/why-be-grateful/

Well over ten years ago, I remember picking up an article in the waiting room of a medical office where I had my yearly exam. It was an excerpt from the book…”Don’t sweat the small stuff… And it’s all small stuff” We’ve all heard about it since. But it was new to me then. As a child, I always worried. I have since realized I’d become a co-dependent at an early age and always seemed to be waiting for something bad to happen.

I remember really reading every word and deciding that I was going to stop and smell the flowers just as I was called in for my turn… I remember light heartedly changing into the paper gown and waiting for the doctor. We made the usual small talk and then the expression on his face changed. It got more serious. He’d found a lump in my throat. It was strange… I never felt it……….  I think at that moment the whole thing about not sweating the small stuff was extracted from my memory.

For the next few weeks, appointments for surgeons and ultra sounds all filled the parts of my brain that was going to not sweat anything. I’ve always tried to protect my kids from my problems but somehow my daughter found out and demanded to know what was going on and then promptly prayed for me. It was a sweet simple prayer but ever since she was little, when she prayed she believed that God really heard her and kind of just expected Him to take care of everything. (If only we all could have that childlike faith!) After an ultra sound and a surgeon not finding anything at his exam it all seemed to have been a mistake or had it? Perhaps there had been something there and God heard the prayers of a child…my sweet daughter.
I just know that as I read Dyan’s blog today… it triggered a memory. I think at that moment in the Doctor’s office… I’d decided to truly not sweat the small stuff and then in the next moment… I’d been hit by a Mack Truck… not small stuff by any sense of the imagination. I am not sure what happened… maybe it was a mistake… maybe even the devil… but I think I was afraid to not sweat the small stuff ever again…. I think that I have been sweating it ever since… trying to be grateful… but always with one eye cocked over my shoulder… All I know is that this little reminder pricked a memory about never trusting anyone or anything with the free abandonment of thinking it is all small stuff because it can change at any moment. I guess that since then… I’ve always waited for the other shoe to fall. Nor have I ever completely relaxed since.

I know that life isn’t necessarily without catastrophe. Since that day… I’ve experienced illness of loved ones, earthquakes, and even death. But I have also experienced answered  prayer, good health and the miracle of birth.  I know it’s not all small stuff. But this little daily reminder, this once a day dose of being grateful really made me take a look at where I stopped appreciating the moment and began trying to deny it’s existence. I’ve been seriously robbed by the joy of relaxing in my gratitude. Like a thief in the night it was snatched from me. Today is a new day and I am just grateful to be sitting here knowing it. And I am grateful for all of God’s Vessels who come into my life with messages as way of their blogs. Perhaps this one might remind you to not sweat the small stuff and though it might not all be small stuff… to recognize when it is and to trust God with the rest! Have a grateful day!

Sophia's smile

A baby smiles and I see a glimpse of heaven.

A flower grows from a crack in the cement.

daisey through cement

A stranger holds the door open…

holding door

Are these messages possibly Heaven sent?

A garden’s fragrance, a butterflies wings

little girl in the garden

A sunrise inside the warmth of dawn

sunrise golden clouds

A child’s laughter, a friend’s simple note

laughing

when you thought you couldn’t go on…

A slice of toast with some special jam

toast and jam

warm socks on a cold morning

warm socks by tea

Ahhh such is the joy in feeling grateful

that appears in my heart without warning.

girl running

Diane Reed

2013

What’s next?


big bubble Some people can smoke Lucky Strikes for their entire life and live to be ninety, while others can take all kinds of vitamins and eat a healthy diet, exercise daily, go to their annual check ups and then die before forty. And when children are involved, well, I want to cry out “Why?!” I know we live in a fallen world. I know, I know, I know! But it’s not fair. How fast do we all change the channel when we see a commercial for funding the cancer hospitals as they use bald little babies to inspire giving.  I have given before to help of course but also as if to buy insurance. Though I know in my head that God is not counting who gives and saying “Okay not her kids.”  Just to move on to someone else’s who have not given.

I view it much more differently.

I have always imagined God’s face as He releases our souls almost like blowing bubbles from heaven. It is filled with Love and Kindness and His eyes are filled with Hope and expectation much like a parent sending their offspring out into the world. He only is expecting the best for us. There is no awareness of grief or sin or tragedies in HIS presence, for He is on the other side, handing us over, giving us a chance at life. The side He is on can’t be described in human terms really, though I guess, we call it heaven. Everything is pure there. Even the hope that the life that we are passing through to… will have opportunities and chances at all the best possibilities the world offers.

baby in a hand

I truly feel that the instant we pass through that Heavenly Veil He is truly gifting us new life with all of His love. He does not send us out to hurt us. But it is different. Our world here. Much different than the heaven we came from. I am not saying that he is not aware of the state of the world. I am just saying that HIS hope for us is pure.  I picture our souls hitting this side and in a second, our bubble is covered with debris and dirt. Sticking to us as soon as we hit the air.

I am offended when people talk about God but can’t give Him a name other than “Universe” perhaps they don’t want to commit or maybe even offend those who don’t believe in something other than “air” and  gravity.  As for me, I  believe that God is my Creator. I am not ashamed to say it nor to defend His right to be recognized. He is not the author of pain or illness or sin. He had a better plan for us. We were the ones that screwed that one up. I look at my own life and realize that many of my own choices have put me in some of  the less than positive  places that I’ve been or am right now. I also see that sometimes when I am in pain, (though I don’t believe that God causes any of it…) He will use it for me to draw closer to Him.

A wise young woman who I knew as a little girl, not too long ago…… (seems like just a moment~ she caught my bouquet!)

Wedding Jim and I with Jenny who caught the bouqet!

 

lost her sister in a car accident she was also in…( when they were in college) wrote:

What’s important is what we do NEXT!!!!

That was powerful for me! Just that one sentence made me think hard. She now is married with a family of her own… and recently  posted a picture of her family now with her parents (my sweet friends who inspire me with their spirit daily!) sitting near her sister’s grave and wrote:          “Of course we know~ she’s not here!” She may never know the impact that had on me. No long paragraphs… just the hope of what was next for all of us who believe. Her sister is there now! And that is her hope. Such an amazing message…

Stowes

I have decided to embrace her quote…..  “What’s important… is what we do next!!”

To not constantly look back in regret or mourn what was, to not be the victim, standing knee deep in our own trials, mistakes or problems but to move forward in whatever situation we are in. I have lost loved ones, dealt with illness and basically found debris stuck all over my bubble over and over again… but I have also watched bubbles soar high! And I know my soul is capable of soaring! Maybe not without a little debris, but it is my goal to live the kind of life God intended me to have when He gave it to me!

We may never know why bad things happen to good people. But I believe with all my heart that God does want the best for us. Today I am going to find the best, next! I am going to walk right into it and believe! God is good. He wants the best for us. But that is not always part of the deal while we are here. I remember when my store crumbled around me and my daughter asked “Why us?” Why did God allow this?” And she said that without missing a beat, that I replied “He didn’t cause this, He saved us.” I don’t remember that conversation or how my faith came so naturally back then and I wonder now… how to get that back. I have been so angry lately. So critical. And kind of stuck in a place wondering… Why? Instead, today, I am going to ask: “What’s next?”

bubbly pic

The world is full of debris that attaches to my soul

sucked into it’s pit, in the darkness of it’s hole-

Fighting to survive in a place where sin has found a name

We’ve confused the way it’s fallen  and WHO it is we blame

We ignore the love that’s brought us here, falling into place

Forgetting about the kindness and the look upon HIS face

There is a war in each of us, struggling with love and hate

to remember where we’ve come from before it is too late!

Diane Reed

2013

Kennedy Moments


kennedy

I remember when I was in first grade and President Kennedy got shot. Our teacher walked into our classroom crying and told us what had happened. It is a memory I will never forget. Hence; “Kennedy Moment” is a caption that those of us who remember that day can understand clearly. Though I sometimes have wondered if the younger population  truly understands exactly where the term came from. Since that day, there have been other iconic moments  such as when the space shuttle exploded or the day 911 came to mean something different to a whole population than it had just the day before. And it has made me reflect on the moments in life that were my own Kennedy Moments.

When someone dies, when a baby is born, a fight, a celebration…we remember those moments in our lives when our own worlds changed forever. The choices we make in the moments we live. What is important. What really is not. We realize those moments as treasures and tragedies. But in embracing it all, as you live… you realize what truly matters and what just doesn’t. The relationships you let slip away, the ones you fight to maintain. It is all a series of lessons.

My daughter and I had the greatest converstaion yesterday about the past, present and future. She capsulized it by saying “The future really never exists except in our minds.” In essence she was sharing with me that our tomorrows are still in our imaginations. The events we plan may or may not ever happen or at least not the way we imagine them to. I am here to say that from the time I was very young. The future in my mind never really happened (in most instances) the way I imagined it back then when it was still just my future. Some of it happened better and some of it rolled out like a run away train that I had no control over but in the end the message here is to embrace today.

I remember the first time someone asked me to marry them, the first time I ever made love, our first fight, our last fight…

I remember breaking up with that person and thinking my life was over.

I remember meeting someone new,  our wedding day… looking out down on my husband to be waiting for me and the feeling I felt as if it were just yesterday.

I remember lying in the hospital after becoming a mom for the first time. The feeling of joy I’d never experienced before, imagining my life as a mom and trying to imagine his future.

I remember all the pain that came after that. Trying to survive being married to someone who probably should never have married anyone.

I remember finding out that I was going to have another baby and wondering if I could love another as much as my son. having my daughter and knowing in an instant that God gives us all the love we need and more.

I remember my husband crying tears of joy when she was born and wondering if she would be the miracle we needed to keep our family together. Imagining all the hopes and dreams I had, still yet to come…when life was still unwritten for us all…

I remember certain “first days of school” for both my kids… and many of their firsts… first steps… first words… why did I want to rush it all?

I remember crying with my first husband as we held each other in front of the paralegal’s office we shared after deciding together to (ammicably)  draw up our own divorce papers as all the dreams we’d once shared seemed to stop dancing through my head in one big fat Kennedy Moment.

I remember meeting my current husband and cautiously beginning to believe in happy endings again… but never really ever again in the same way. And the Kennedy Moment when I finally let go and knew that I loved him.

Today I think that as I look back at all my Kennedy moments…. the deaths and births, the iconic conversations and the forgotten ones… I understand more today than ever before that “TODAY” is all we have. Tomorrow is a gift God will decide if we get or not. So take today, this moment, this second and LIVE IT!!!!

Last night as my daughter and I had our conversation, I learned so much in our sharing and at that moment of inspiration… I realized that if  THIS IS AS GOOD AS IT GETS…. it is awesome!!!!

HE Is Our Everything!


woman praying in church

His GRACE is like a healing salve

His light shines on my path

path in the woods

His help is like a gentle knock

My heart the door he taps

Jesus at the door

His forgiveness is like a new day

letting go of sorrow

hands reaching

Giving hope to new dreams

to greet each new tomorrow

water raining in a stream

His peace is like a constant stream

That never will run dry

healing waters

His love is like a golden pail

to catch the tears I’ve cried

Jesus waiting for in heaven

In life we’re always striving

to chase our latest dream

when we only need to stop and see

HE is our everything!

Diane Reed

2013

praising Jesus in the clouds

Saying Goodbye to Best Friends…


When I was a little girl you became my second mom

I’d spend the night at your house and we’d talk till well past dawn

Your daughters were my best friends I was friends with them all

but later in life, when we grew up, it was “you” who I’d call…

Oh Lucy, how I dreaded the call I got today. So many memories flood my heart as I write this. You were always my soft place to fall, my advisor, my confidant, my constant. So consistent in my life. Always just a phone call away. Opening up your home for me to live with you guys when I was younger and then for visits whenever I could get away. I grew to love you like my own family. I smile as I think about our late night chats as Bob would call down “Lucille!” And you would tell him you’d be right up and then two hours would have passed as you stayed to chat some more. I loved your stories. Some of them were life changing for me. Some molded my life in ways that made me into who I am today.

When you found the Lord, you were so on fire. And that fire never went out. I could come for a visit or pick up the phone and you were just as in love with your Lord as you were on the first day you really found HIM. Even our last phone call was all about HIM. And I am so confident that in my own selfish sadness (please bear with me while I catch my breath realizing that you won’t be here for me anymore) I know you are so happy, free from pain in your wonderful Savior’s arms. But in the meantime I need to adjust knowing that I won’t ever hear again your wonderful voice and the joy you always seemed to have in it when you would hear it was me on the other end….

I’d hear…. “Oh helloooo baby, or Diane-eeee or Darling” You always made me feel that you were soooo happy to hear from me in a way I don’t think anyone ever has before. And I’ll miss that.

I am so glad that I got to bring my baby for a visit a couple of years ago. She remembered visiting you as a little girl but it had been too long. It was quite an adventure getting to your wonderful *mansion* in the dark up on the hill in Fallbrook…. *funny the memories little kids have*… I remember as you were building it and going with you to pick out wallpapers for ALL those  bathrooms and the tile for the pool. I will always cherish memories of that wonderful house you made into a home. It looked so much the same as I remember the last time we visited… another constant in my life.       Sooo much more than just that house, you were the one who never changed. And on the way home from our visit Brookie said; “Thank you Mama for making me go with you. I love her too.”

Oh Lucy, what am I going to do without you as my soft place to fall? You have left quite a legacy in your path… so many lives you have touched. You will be missed. But you are home now. Heaven must be so wonderful for you. So many people who you have touched, waiting in line to greet and thank you! Save a place for me! I love you!

 LUCY

Click on the song below to understand WHO Lucy has been in this lifetime to me!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6j_YpZQi-I4

In The Broken Pieces


praying man in pew with bible

Broken by the world, surprised by their angry words

I stand before you Lord, so tired in this world.

Weary and battered, by those I once called “my friends”

please take these broken pieces I now  hold within my hands…

praying bible

You find me on my knees as I begin to ask

Just how much longer you think that I can last…

praying man at sunset

And then I realize YOU’RE  the one who truly knows

the sting in the world’s curses and it’s flailing blows,

and so  I begin to let go, laying everything at your feet

Falling on my face, I know you see the real me.

Jesus answers prayer

As I realize it’s all just a speck in time

and it’s really about the piece of YOU that I leave behind!!!

Jesus' face in the clouds

Soooo Lord~

Jesus comforting man

Guide me as I talk, let your words be ones I choose

For YOU know today this mountain must be moved.

mountain

As I form the sentences let them come from YOU…

Filled with strength and grace and only what is true.

praying man with hand lifted

As I walk in faith, let me find YOU in every choice

And as I seek your will today, let them hear YOUR voice.

Jesus at a business meeting

Take these broken pieces Lord, for they don’t belong to me!

Remind me that in their “brokeness” YOU have the victory!

mustard seed

Diane Reed

2013

A Little More


poverty3

Perspective is such a great thing to consider! But it is all relative.
I am blessed. Though we lost a prospering store in 2003, we were  given the “opportunity” to be able to open up a restaurant shortly after that. Well,  That was a joke. Due to a very mismatched partnership (don’t get me started!!!) We lost the last of our nest egg and were like 20 year olds starting all over again from the beginning. We went about getting “REAL” jobs and until last year when my husband was laid off, we were sitting pretty fat and happy without missing much of a beat except that I had to work for someone else which is something I promised myself that I would never do again. Though… I have gone back on my word with myself on many occasions lately so what the heck~

Most recently, my husband has been working with his dad on a project that has been a lifelong one they began many years ago when they used to work together. Since being laid off last year, my husband has stepped on board again and it looks as if things are going to take off for them. It is an amazing environmental  project which basically takes toxic waste or waste in general, ( it can be plastic, wood, tires, you name it) and turns it into bio char for farming or energy, etc.   I BELIVE in what they are doing, and with so much interest in the environment recently, it has gotten a lot of positive recognition. I  know that in God’s timing it will all come together. But in the meantime, we are living on my paycheck and his unemployment. It has defintely been an awakening. This month, we have come to the end of the line. I have managed to pay all of our bills on time, for all of this time. But next month is going to be tricky. We are going to have to start picking and choosing bills to pay.

For the first time in years, since the earthquake, I am living  in a place of genuine faith. God has answered recent prayers about health and other personal things and so I know HE is a God of miracles! I have watched other fellow bloggers live their lives in faith and I know it can be done. But I can’t say that I have always been such a good sport about all of this. It is all relative, but if you don’t have it… money becomes more important. And yet I keep trying to tell myself it is character building. Though all you prayer warriors out there, I would appreciate prayer! And I thank you ahead of time because I know I will blogging about a miracle soon!

So anyway, as I was wallowing in my own problems, I read today’s post from my sweet friend whose blog name is : free penny press:

http://freepennypress.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/live-below-the-line-year-2/

poverty2

Talk about perspective! I thought it was a wonderful reminder that it is not all about me! Feeding ourselves on $1.50 a day…. it made me think! I get so caught up in “needing” always wanting a miracle… and usually getting many. God is good and so generous. He always come through in the end, even when I ask for more.

Oh Lord,I’ve found myself

on a pretty selfish path,

forgetting to be grateful

for everything I have~

praising by ocean

Making my prayer time,

all about me and what I need~

Losing my perspective,

consumed by my own greed~

sad woman3

Today… I want to thank you

for the GRACE you’ve given me!

Not seeing my flaws

that I know you might have seen.

swan

May I be reminded

just what I’m asking for

when I forget and come to You

asking for a little more.

Diane Reed 2013

poverty

This Is The Day The Lord Has Made


sunrise 1 pink sky

“Sunrise”

As the day open’s it’s eyes…

sunrise pink clouds

painted skies

fill my heart~

country sunrise

God’s canvas

splashed with pink,

praising God3

His work of art

is my day’s start!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Diane Reed

I woke up to a beautiful sky filled with pink cotton candy and my entire heart softened. I opened the blinds and sat there in awe as I watched the miracle of the morning welcome a new day and knew that God had orchestrated that very minute and me sitting there, possibly hoping that I would realize he was there with me. At that moment I just had to STOP my life with a screech! And wonder WHAT AM I THINKING? I often forget to thank God for what I do have. I just tumble into a long list I am asking HIM to give or solve for me. How would a friend feel if we did that to them? I have decided that I need to connect with God more. I feel that  in a way, a sunrise is God’s text to us and that HIS intentions for us, was always to have  a Garden of Eden.

Garden of Eden

He never intended us to have illness or relationship issues, His plan for us was not to go brankrupt or lose jobs. We interrupted God’s plan and let that snake of a devil worm his way into our world. Well, I say enough! It is time we took back! what has always been rightfully ours!

 We have God on our side! He is BIGGER than anthing we could ever be afraid of!

snake biting shoe

 We need to fight for what He intended us to have!

Are we going to let a little snake steal our joy today?!

 I say NO… I am not…

What do you say?

It is your choice.

This is the day the Lord has made photo

Thank you Lord for this day. May I bless you in all that I do today.

The Love Template


When I was nine, I wanted to write a novel. When I was twenty, I thought I was ready. I thought I knew it all. Now I am twice the age and I am sure I know even less than I thought I did, over three decades ago. I have always loved the concept of, what I know for sure…. Because the statement alone does not profess expertise of a certain subject, it only explores what I think I know about it as it relates to me.

Take love for instance. If I could go back and rewind my life and insert wisdom in different periods of it, how would I live it differently? What would I tell the younger version of me? Would I have listened? I wonder. How funny it would be if this older version of ourselves could pop in during different crisis in our life and tell us what to do. Would we even listen? I guess, maybe once we realized it was really ourselves, someone who had lived through the messes we got ourselves into and had the wisdom of hind sight, we might, I mean who argues with themselves? Well, cough, choke and sputter. I think I do, every day of my life. I reason with me every day. I berate myself for the insane choices I have made at times and want to ask myself; “Really?” in regard to half the dumb moves I have made over the years and very recently as well.

And yet, I wonder, what have I learned? I question myself all the time. Do I have good advice for myself, let alone anyone else? Do my mistakes and the lessons I have learned from them, hold any value in helping others not make the same mistakes? If I had to say what I really know for sure what would I say?

My advice right this minute is to be true to you. I am not sure that I can truly say that I have done that. But I know that I am working on it. I wish I knew then what I do now. My heart is full as I am filled with regrets. I wish that I would have been stronger and listened to my heart. I am angry now with the adults in my life that pushed their own agendas on me. I understand that they only wanted the best for me. I really do. And yet, it was their version of the best. I was not brave enough then to ask them….”And how is your version of the BEST working out for you?” Because from where I stood… my response would be “not great!” All I know now is listening to them was not being true to me, to what I wanted. It was not just me being young and not wanting to hear what they had to say, it was actually not always the right advice. Just that simple.  Just like today, my kids have to learn for themselves what is right for them. I can’t push my own agenda on them. What might be perfectly right for me, may not be for them. I can share my lessons and hopefully they will have less hard ones by what I share but we all need to learn by our own choices. God gave us that right. It was His idea. We get free choices. Sometimes I wish that He would just tell me what to do but in His wisdom, He gives us all a template, it is our choice how close we stay inside the lines of it.

I  guess it sounds kind of vague when I say that I wasn’t really allowed to love the people I loved, I was pushed and nudged and berated. And I stupidly listened to all the white noise, the voices that criticized me, as my heart was screaming to be heard. All of my life, I have let others tell me what to do. I never really ever relied on where my own heart led me or my gut instincts. I have felt things with my heart and then second guessed myself, asking others what they thought. Now I wonder why did I care so much what others thought, I mean really why? I can’t believe that I put so much weight on everyone else’s opinion but mine.

It started as far back as I can remember. I was told that I should forgive, I was told to look the other way. And then I was told to not forgive, to run as fast as I could, to shut doors, and move on. I fooled myself into thinking that shutting doors was empowering, and giving second chances was forgiving. I put up with things far too long in the name of forgiveness and not wanting to be called a quitter. I stayed in situations that I never should have and yet the time finally came when I was not just hurting me, I was hurting the ones I brought along in my crazy making and I had to save them.

My childhood was filled with uncertainty. I was always worried. I was in such a hurry to grow up so that I could control my own destiny. Mistake number one! Who in this world ever controls their own destiny? And if I was controlling mine, I was sure making a mess of it. And if my template was what I learned growing up, that was mistake #2.

The first time I fell in love, I fell hard. And I think that I have been trying to survive that love ever since. It was intense and new and exciting and terribly, terribly damaging. The abuse that I endured was not so much physical though there was some pushing and shoving and yeah a little more than that, but it was so much more than that. It was so emotionally challenging that I constantly felt as if I were at the bottom trying to reach the surface in order to come up for air.

Everyone had their opinions about that one and I finally succumbed. Between the abuse and people’s well meaning counsel I conceded. We were engaged by that time, so it didn’t mean just a break up, it meant relinquishing a dream we had built together. When it was over, I thought I had died. And I definitely thought that I wouldn’t survive the pain. But when I finally was able to let go, I felt what I thought was empowerment. As I look back, I realize that I was mistaken, what I thought was strength, when the pain seemed to subside, was more like just being numb to it. Now I think it was just part of my heart dying.

Next, there were a handful of guys who I dated, some I remember more than the other, but for the most part, the emotional pull was not there. Maybe I was just not going there again. Falling in love had once been all I ever wanted and now it was something my heart seemed to avoid. Love meant pain I conceded.

Until, I met the boy, a boy who rocked my world, different than all the others. He was quiet and yet, a leader among his friends. He commanded respect without demanding it. He was so different than anyone I had ever known and for some odd reason he loved me back. All his friends were blown away and told me so this boy could have any girl he wanted. Everyone thought he would be the last of the friends to marry. And yet he ended up becoming my husband.  He was tan with broad shoulders and very distinct features. He looked a lot like Michael Landon with a little John Wayne mixed in and he took my breath away for years. But it wasn’t just about looks with him. He was special. He had this wonderful heart that I got to see. He had views and opinions and yet he didn’t push them down your throat. He only offered them if you asked. He was perfect in my eyes and I was thrilled that somehow he had chosen me. He would walk into a room years after we were married and I would feel giddy. I loved him so much.

But what do they say? If you grow up with an alcoholic parent, you are destined to marry an alcoholic. That made me so angry when I heard that because I heard that after I had married him. This wonderful boy had one flaw, his very own pain, not to mention the little gene in his genetic makeup that caused addiction. I couldn’t believe that I had found myself in the very place I had run from. I was worrying about him coming home okay and driving drunk. I was worried about his health and safety, not to mention his job that he had worked so hard to grow in.  And I was the total textbook codependent. An enabler, trying to re-fix what had been wrong in my childhood. This time, I thought I was going to make it work. I think I tried with all my heart until I almost lost it, my heart that is. Finally I realized that I could not save him. But I could save me and I could save my kids and so I did.

Where my dad was not a raging alcoholic, my husband was. I had bitten the head off of the proverbial chocolate bunny and I was in really, really deep. There were a few times that I almost left and my mom talked me out of it. Some of my well meaning friends from church persuaded me to try, guilting me into it by reminding me about all the things I already knew about vows and loyalty and forgiveness. But this time I had my kids to think about. And it was only getting worse. I finally pulled the plug. We had tried before and he was stubborn. He was not budging and so I took my kids and walked away before it was too late. . But I always wondered if it was too late. The guilt I still carry because of my divorce is excruciating. I have read verse after verse in the Bible trying to get some relief at no avail. Intelectually, I realize that God would not have wanted me to stay in the situation that I was in and that all I need to do is put everything at the foot of the cross. I know that and have and do daily, I know, I know once is enough, but I will always second guess myself and wonder “if just perhaps,” I might have left but not been so quick to divorce, if things might have turned out differently. Like they say, hind sight is 20/20. We see things much more clearly after the fact. Yet,  in a way, I don’t. I used to be so sure that leaving was always the right answer. Abandond ship, take no prisoners, sink or swim, every man for himself. And yet with all the tools we have now days, I am not sure that not exausting all the tools is not an option before sealing the deal? It has been a thought I have wondered about since finally relenting and recently going to therapy myself. If nothing else, it has brought up a lot of questions I have begun to ask myself.

I was so in love with my husband and yet year after year, the things I had to deal with helped chip away at that love until it almost went away. I had to wonder if I had ever really been in love or if I had just loved the fantasy. My first husband was a man’s man. His friends came first. I know he loved me but he loved himself more. Years later when he was dying, he asked for me to forgive him. And now, especially after experiencing a good therapist, I have wondered if things had been different, if we had found a Therapist like I have now,  if we could have survived without divorce?

The thing is I was always so concerned about what others thought and yet was so stubborn. It was a crazy making dance I would do. Now I realize that I just wanted their support but not necesarrily their approval.  But at the time, approval seemed so huge. Now I know that it’s not what your mom or your friends or anyone else thinks. It has got to be between you and God. Even though I know I prayed and took it to God or thought I did,  I don’t really think I knew how back then. When my marriage fell apart, it was surreal, I felt as if I was in slow motion. I felt in labor again, the pain was inexplicable. The unfathomable had happened. Like the first break up, though now we owned a house and had kids together. It was so much more than a dream. It was a life, my life, dying. A nightmare except I could never go to sleep to escape.

No one ever taught me to fight. When I was growing up, I lived in this Polly Anna existence. I hardly ever saw my parents even argue and I don’t think they ever did. The handful of things I did manage to see, rocked my world and usually were related to my dad’s drinking but other than that. My mom seemed to just suck it up and take whatever my dad dished out. Don’t get me wrong. My dad was amazing but there was always this underlying piece that just didn’t fit.

I remember thinking as a young girl, I am never going to let anyone treat me like that. I am not sure why I thought that. I mean my dad really loved my mom and she adored him. There was just this perfect little world I lived in that almost teetered on the edge of abuse. Not physically, but in a much more ambiguous sense.

Now fast forward what seems like a thousand years and here I am, still struggling with another man, my wonderful husband who loves me. This time, I had learned, no alcoholics! So I did a one-eighty and found someone almost perfect. He loves the Lord, has never done drugs. He drinks a bit but I have never seen him drunk. In fact, he is always the designated driver for me! He came along when I was drowning. He was God sent, I am sure. He saved us. He loved us. Sure he has his faults but I have to wonder if they seem bigger to me because  of all the ones who came first. When is it his turn? Is my heart so numb that I forgot how to love the right way?

When I realized this it made me think. I know a woman who I prejudged. Not in the worst ways but it is something I don’t like about myself. The ones I usually don’t connect with at first, end up being lifelong friends. I know that about me and so I also know that my first knee jerk reaction toward someone isn’t always right on. After several casual conversations, we finally had a chance to really talk and I learned that she is slowly going blind. I mean at this point in my life, and considering my own weary eyesight, I guess we all are to some degree but she really is. She told me that she has chosen her profession to set herself up to be able to support herself since touch and not sight is the necessary tools she needs in her career choice. But no pun intended; this little piece of information made me see her in quite a different light.

That little ephiphanie has led me to a whole new platform, something I never considered before. Something I am very passionate about now. I think that the key is that everyone has a story. I wonder now if I had stayed with my first love and if we had gotten the necessary help, if it would have been different. I know now that he was dealing with his own childhood nightmares, much different than my own. My heart breaks for him as I have learned his story.  I wonder….what would have changed for us if someone had counseled us? An entirely differnt story might have played out for both of us. I do know that even though  it seemed like hell back in those days, I also look back now, at a lot of those days as “the good old days” and challenge anyone going through their own version of hell to not make such  hasty decisions. Because our first loves mold us in ways that never leave us. And if it is really true love, and really worth the work perhaps if you could get help, in the beginning, just perhaps you could not bring baggage to all the other places you end up that aren’t going to measure up to the good old days. And if nothing else, at least you will be satisfied that you tried. Because believe me, the baggage you bring from each relationship to the next becomes pretty heavy!

When I was struggling therapy used to be a dirty word. Oprah was not a household name and self help books told you to meet your love at the door naked, wrapped in cellophane. But when you were wondering where your husband was at 2 in the morning, that advice was about as helpful as telling me to jump off a bridge which was where I was headed when there was no one walking in the door for me to meet in celophane!

But today we have resources. We have counseling and mentors and churches that have much more to offer than they did when I was grasping at nothing but the white noise that bombarded me with the advice I didn’t ask for. In the end, hind sight is 20/20, you never know whether to really stay or go. I wish there was some life line that we could go to and really get God on the line and ask HIM what He would have us do. And in a way there is, He gives us prayer and the discernment to hear Him and yet it is a hard place to get to when you keep getting in the way of the answers. It takes patience and a listening spirit.

So what have I learned in the last three or so decades about love? I would say without a doubt that the Author of Love is God. Now that I am a parent, I understand the ultimate sacrifice of His love in giving His Son to us because He loved us so much and wanted us to SEE the Light. I mean if I know anything for sure, it is that God’s kind of love is the true template for all the others that come after;

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

What I know for sure is:

Love is patient, it puts up with a heck of a lot in it’s own name. It is kind, plain and simple, it is not mean.  Love does not want to see the other one hurt and avoids it at all costs. It is not jealous.  it is satisfied with just being loved back  It is not all puffed up and boastful, it does not brag and cares more about their loved one than themselves. They are proud of , and gives all the credit to the one receiving our love. They care more about the comfort of their loved one than themselves. Love does not lash out or belittle, it does not want to hurt back when their feelings are hurt and it is not easily offended. Love keeps no record of fights and arguments and wrongs we feel were committed against us. It remembers nothing negative. Love does not rejoice in sin or immortality. It is not malicious or violent. Love is honest and  celebrates the truth and everything about it. It protects and shelters the one they love, watching over and caring for without complaining.  Love puts aside it’s own wants and desires and puts the one they love ahead of themself. Love is loyal and true and can be trusted till the end of time because it never will fail or fall short. True love never gives up, it is forever.

And even though I am constantly working on it, and know that I will never measure up to this beautiful template of love we have been given. I am just happy that Love does not keep any record of my wrongs and the very good news is…. I can keep trying and I will because I am finally getting to know the Holy Spirit Who gives me HOPE to be better and love greater.

So I guess my advice would be to never give up. Sometimes it is not how you are loved but how you love that changes everything.

Pedestal Sitters


I am a work in progress. Though, I wish that I could say that I have” arrived” for once and for all! Sometimes I have to admit that I have asked myself, when will it be my turn to be a “pedestal sitter”? How I wish that I could be the mentor rather than always the one being mentored. But I guess we all have our places and someone has to be the  example for the works in progress to give hope to the ones still in progress. At times I have wondered if any of us really ever get there. I mean the ones who are examples, the ones who get to be the pedestal sitters. The ones we think have arrived. What are their struggles? If we really could see them the way their family sees them, would they fall off of the pedestals we put them on? What if we lived with our mentors? Our Pastors and politicians, our bosses and teachers, are they who they really seem to be? Well, the fact is, no one is perfect. Even if they tend to want to keep up appearances, facts are facts and pedestals usually always fall. And in turn the pedestal sitters are just as fragile as Humpty Dumpty.

I remember as a kid, my dad was a high profile businessman. Even when we would go to his company picnics, he seemed to command an unspoken kind of awe, whether professionally or at play, in the office or on the softball field. He was respected in ways I did not understand or appreciate as a child.

 I just saw the dad who would sit in his easy chair and drip something on his tee shirt as he ate and laugh at the “Mr. Murray” that I got to see and realize that even at a young age, I was privy to another side of my dad.

There are ghosts in my life. There I said it. I wrote and rewrote that sentence and there is no other way to say it. Some are more prevalent than others. But they are there. Like an old movie being rewound. Like a character from my past, walking around with me, whispering in my ear. No one else can see him but he is there. Always saying things that I imagine he would say. Is he my voice of reason or judgement? Is she my little child still inside of me clamoring to be set free? Perhaps he is my dad.

How I would love to have my wise old dad show up, when I needed his wisdom the most. And yet sometimes I forget that God IS there, like my dad in a way, always there, always, oh my, that is a thought I love and fear all at the same time. HE knows my every hair. Okay, that’s kind of comforting. But my every thought? That’s downright disturbing! I mean, I stub a toe or pinch a finger and a million words my mother would be horrified to know that I know, pop into my head. Not that I say out loud but they do come to mind more than I would like to admit at times when I am not at my best. And yes, my mother still remarks if she disapproves of me and I still feel a bit like a pre-teen. Do we ever stop being the child when our parents are around? No matter how old I am, I still have the urge to wait for my mom to look the other way before I salt my food.

God never turns His head. He is always there. Though I have treated Him like a vapor and placed Him in an abstract place in my heart and forget He is always watching. No lock will keep Him away and yet He doesn’t force his way in, he waits to be invited. He is the only ONE worthy of a pedestal and yet walks with the servants and finds me worthy at my worst, without a pedestal or a life free from sin. He finds me where I am and gives me a place far better than any pedestal a place of grace to rest and be restored.

For I will be merciful and gracious toward their sins and I will remember their deeds of unrighteousness no more.
Hebrews 8: 12

If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves, pray, seek, crave, and require of necessity My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7: 14

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Psalm 51: 10-12