Letting Go


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

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

My son sent me this verse this morning….

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

Romans 8:38-39

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

 

When I’m On My Knees

 

In the darkest corner, or on the raging sea

when everything looks bleak,

I find You

when I’m on my knees.

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

and that I can always find You

when I’m on my knees

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

that I mostly find the answers

when I’m on my knees.

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

may I always remember

to thank You when I’m on my knees!

d.reed

2019

 

 

 

 

 

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

Chris Pickens, Carrier Of God’s Word


 Bible (2)

CHRIS PICKENS

His words are stored inside our hearts,

His life has been a work of art.

He’s planted seeds and grown new vines,

And he’s done God’s work all this time.

His eyes reach out and touch my soul,

his body is no longer whole,

this disease has come to take control,

to snuff the flame and take it’s toll.

But, life still lives inside of him,

the light dances, it won’t grow dim!

He still has lessons we must learn.

The fire continues still, to burn!

His mind is wise and he is there,

and hosts a heart, we’ve found so rare.

the numbers climb of those he’s touched,

the ones he’s taught, the ones he’s loved.

We can’t repay all that he’s done,

though if you are one of the ones,

and you are here now reading this,

Please reach out and help our friend Chris.

Diane Reed 2015

When I first met Chris, he had a Bible in his hands and that was always his trademark. He was and has always been the carrier of God’s word. Planting seeds and reaching out to anyone he felt led to approach. I am glad he felt led to our little store, because he changed things up in our lives as soon as he walked through the door!

I have said time and time before that I will never believe that pain and suffering and illness come from God! Or that bad things happen to punish us. I truly believe that God is not sitting up there choosing who to inflict with what. We live in a fallen world and that is just part of the deal. People suffer and die. They have financial successes and failures. Sure, some have brought on their own form of suffering through bad life or business choices or even health choices. But things like babies dying and ALS and meaningless accidents just don’t make sense and probably never will. Though I believe God allows opportunity in every instance and I have known people who have used their pain for God’s glory and Chris IS one of them!!

I will never forget sitting in a pre-marital counseling class when I was 21 with my on the fence non-believing husband to be. Our pastor at the time, Wayne Frase, shared with us something that even I never knew… that his baby son had died earlier in his own marriage. He was sharing the story to teach us that sometimes heart wrenching, life changing events that can come up in marriage, can either break it or make it stronger, and in that moment, I KNOW that a seed was planted in my soon to be first husband’s heart that would later lead to his own decision to accept Jesus as his Savior. At the time though, he was so confused at how this Godly man kept his faith, and yet very intrigued by his faith in God. Later, when my dad who we ALL loved died suddenly of a heart attack, my husband finally made the choice to believe after watching my mom’s strength through losing my dad and all the other little seeds that were planted along the way. Seeds like Chris has planted all throughout his lifetime!

I guess what I am trying to say is bad things happen to good people daily and it is how they handle them that can be used for God’s glory. And that life is not fair. And the formula has never been that bad things only happen to bad people and good things only happen to good people. If that were the case, Chris Pickens would be living on top of a hill in a mansion without infliction! But the fact is that he’s not. He is in need of our support. I have written about my friend before.  (Through Papered Windows) https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/through-the-paper-windows/

But as this horrible disease progresses, my heart was pricked to share again.

One of my best friends, Michele, (Chris’s wife) has been her husband’s caregiver now for about 70 hours a week or more. Chris is totally paralyzed. He can no longer talk and with the occasional flick of one wrist, he is totally dependent. I have never seen Michele complain and she is always smiling. She is now in desperate need of funds to be able to hire capable caregivers to take care of her loving husband and take some of the load off of her. Another friend has set up a fund-raising site for him.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/caring-for-chris/288756 

Also Michele sells Shaklee. We all use cleaning products and need vitamins along with so many other things I never knew they sold that I use everyday!! Please take a look at the millions of things that she sells (on the handy link below) and instead of going to the store,why not support Michele and become a regular customer?! (she is even offering free shipping!) It doesn’t matter where you live within the United States. Why not just decide to order everything you would have gone and bought at a store, through her? And the products truly are so much better than any you might find on the shelves AND…. reasonably priced! If we all did it, we could turn their lives around financially by just supporting their business! Please click on the site below for information there! http://www.healthysteps.myshaklee.com

Michele Pickens

LifeQuest Health

Natural Products Supplier and Nutrition Consultant
714.536.6555 Cell 805.423.2064

lifequesthealth@aol.com

Improving the lives of everyone we touch

If you know Chris and Michele, you have probably read this all the way through because they have touched your life. I remember our friendship when Chris was the one who approached us, invited us to church and embraced our family. Even when they had to move back to Southern California to be closer to family and doctors, I’d hear stories about how he’d take his little scooter to town and witness to many, many people who came to the Lord just by Chris being Chris and sharing God’s Word.

The last time I visited, Chris could no longer take those rides to town and was in a wheel chair full time, by then, but those eyes and that heart still were strong. He is in there, still believing and loving God.  If he has touched your life or if you don’t know him and his story has just touched you… Please pray for them and then if you will,  reach out to him (them) in any way that you possibly can and thank you!!!! And along with just clicking LIKE (which I always appreciate!) How about stopping a minute and looking at Michele’s Shaklee site and perhaps sharing this post on your facebook page or send the link on email to your praying friends and any other site of theirs that you think might help!

And again…

THANK YOU!!!!!

micheld and chris

Chris and Michele before ALS hit hard

We are the Authors of our stories!


diary writing

A blank page has always inspired me. I remember as a young girl, receiving a new diary with a key and a lock. I remember the feeling of anticipation and hope. It was as if someone gave me the power of my own destiny. And metaphorically speaking, we each are given that. I feel a little sad that we have gone so electronic and our world has become so “techie” because I still feel that there is something special about opening up an empty book filled with blank pages and writing about our aspirations there. I guess you could do that with the blank page on a Word Document on a computer and even make a file and title it “My Diary” or “My Journal” but there is still just something about seeing your own handwriting and how it changes as your life does.

diary gram's

I have found journals from my past and it has been a gift to go back and read where I once was. And hopefully to see how far I have come. When my grandma died, the only thing that I wanted was her diary. It was this green little leather bound five year kind, that she kept when she was 16 through meeting my grandpa and ending with having my mom!

journals

One of my standard gifts has always been empty books. Especially to young people. I’ve told my kids that their lives are like empty books and every day they write a new page. It is up to them how their stories turn out. We are the authors of our stories. And I’ve encouraged those in their twenties that seem to be stuck, to go out and WRITE their stories. I can name three off of the top of my head that had their cosmetology licenses or a degree and stayed stuck making minimum wage because they were comfortable where they were. I nagged them to take that last exam that would give them wings to fly from the nest. And watching them soar, made me think…

choice quot3e

I finally had to admit that I’ve kind of been stuck myself, thinking that it was too late for me. Feeling very comfortable in how well I knew my job, I didn’t want to have to go out and re-learn something. Heck, I don’t even like to read instructions or have to learn a new game. Talk about being stuck. I felt that my pages had all been written on. And that I was too old to begin again. And I was feeling very beaten down as I battled the storm. Finally realizing that I was NOT alone! God and me had this one!

lighthouse

Though the wind hadn’t just gone out of my sail, it had been SUCKED out! I began to realize that I could make my own wind! I was the author of my story and it was NOT over! And so with a lot of prayer, I forged the storm and moved on!

suitcasess

I kind of feel as if I have begun writing in a new empty book as I begin my new job. I am the author. The job has been created just for me! It is a new venture for my company and I am pretty sure that everyone is rooting for me. I love my team and the people I work with. And I intend to write a BEST SELLER! How about you? I’d love to hear about your “COME BACK” stories!

strength quote

Happy NEW Year Everyone! Happy NEW story, happy new life! God bless you all!

In the end it is all about the lessons


The other day, I was talking to someone closer to my age about how scary it is that life seems to be dashing by. Yesterday, I was planning a summer get away and now POOF it is almost Christmas. I brought up a point I made in a past post…

https://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/unfolding-prayer-requests/

                                                                                     About how good God is, and about how when you really look back at the important stuff, it all worked out in the end. I had a prayer tin when I was a young wife and mother and faithfully put prayers in it. I found it years later, and every single one was answered in some way. Perhaps, not the way I’d envisioned. But they ALL actually were answered.

Later that day, a young girl that I was talking to, shared with me how she was heart-broken about the ending of a relationship and I told her my prayer tin story and how things that seem so important now, really won’t in four or five years. Of course four or five years to her is a lifetime, or at least a quarter of her young life, and I’m not sure if she believed me, but…. It made me think. Age is not such a curse. Good things come with experience. Hopefully wisdom is a biggy.

In my life, I have had a few hard lessons. And it’s funny, because NOW, all these lessons that I refer to have seemed to have collectively gathered at one time. EVERY day, I have had quite a few of those light bulb moments recently. And I guess you could call it wisdom. In writing my book, I have re-written the ending at least a dozen times. I do know that since I typed that first word of the first page, I have lived a lifetime in my heart. The poem below is not where I am today. It is just part of my story, a chapter in my book. I am so glad that I have lived past that time in my life. I am so glad that God answers prayers and that life goes on, and that we are forgiven of our indiscretions. In the end, I guess it is all about the lessons.

door little girl peeking out black and white

In the corners of my mind,

 behind the closed doors of my heart,

I struggle with the melody,

 that keeps us far apart.

couple on the dock

Loyalties and passion,

twirl inside my head,

memories of the past play there,

 like a story I once read.

smelling the books girl

Heartache is the tune that plays

 in the background of my soul,

charging for my sins,

 like a gate keepers constant toll.

Diane Reed                                                                                                                                                                                                                              © 2014

Empty Nesters Unite! As we watch our baby birds graduate and learn to let go!


 

This is the time of year…

empty birds nest

We are trying not to count the days. We know it is coming up. We are trying to be happy. And yet it is extremely hard.  This is bascially a re-share      that I posted  before my blog was very well known. I thought that I would reshare it as some of you are approaching that time in your life as you watch your babies graduate and wonder where the time has flown off to. It is hard to believe that the boy in this story is going to be 34 tomorrow! I just had to stop today to say….. Happy Birthday Chadly! Your mom loves you!

I remember when my son left home. It was his Senior Year. It was a crazy time for us to move and yet it happened. I remember always shaking my head when I’d hear stories of parents uprooting their kids from their last years of High School and yet we found ourselves in that same position. I was not ready. He was not ready. And yet it is a choice I made and will always look back and wonder about. In the end, he moved in with his dad. I am glad because his dad is gone now and it was a great bonding time for them that my son will always cherish. And yet as a mom who was pretty over protective all of his young life, I had to let go, knowing for the most part, that the supervision would not be identical. In fact, it was pretty non existent. I am pretty sure all curfews flew out the window along with my baby bird!

I remember once my son calling me and telling me that one of his dad’s room mate’s had brought home Jack In The Box for everyone but him. I am sure there was food in the house and he was not going to starve and that there may have been a good reason for leaving him out… mainly his attitude which has always been a bit challenging… Smile… But I can’t imagine his father partaking in the food while our son sat watching. Though I “get” that I was not privy to the full picture. As a mother missing her baby you can imagine my heart. So I began sending care packages.

care package

Sure I could have sent money and saved the shipping, but I found joy in choosing his favorite things and “knowing” he’d be fed. I don’t doubt that my ex was supplying the basic needs but not the hugs from his mom and so I sent those packages pretty regularly. Until I was asked not to.

One day I got a phone call asking me to “stop” (sending the packages) by my ex. He said, “Diane, you are not helping.” I will never forget how hard it was. I understood that my son was actually 18 by that time, had a job and was living rent free so just had to pay for his gas and food. My ex had moved out of his parent’s house his senior year, and  I know that he just wanted our son to grow up and learn about life the way he had to. It was a love thing. He wasn’t trying to be mean. But it was hard for him to understand my “mother’s heart” and that the thought of my baby being cold or sad or going hungry for even just one minute was hard for me. Okay well maybe I wasn’t that bad but  I did want to confront him about that Jack In The Box incident but I didn’t want to betray my son. And I wanted to tell my son that it was his dad who was making me stop sending the care packages but I could not betray his dad.

box open

It seemed as if everytime I turned around that year, I’d see a little boy that reminded me of my son. I missed him so much. But I knew that he wasn’t that little boy anymore. He was all grown up and I needed to let go.

Chad's first day of school

 

I guess I actually was glad that his dad taught him the hard lessons that I couldn’t.

I’ve shared this poem before here but it is one that I wrote right before my first baby bird tumbled out of my nest… This one is for all the moms having to let go this year as their baby birds fly off to school or where ever it might be. I understand and feel for you all. And I am here to tell you that you will survive! My son did! He has his own business and a beautiful family. Letting go isn’t always easy, nor is letting our baby birds fall out of the sky sometimes… but if we let them… experience the highs and the lows… someday they will learn to soar and that is enough hope for me. (This poem is also for the young moms who can’t wait for school to start and need a little reminder…  of just how FAST it all flies by!)

SON

 Seems like only  yesterday I held you in my arms

Oh how you swept me away with all your baby charms.

The days just flew by quickly, soon you began to talk

and then a little later, you began to walk….

“Mommy will you cross me? I want to go and play.”

Oh those words ring sweetly, now seem like yesterday.

The years have swiftly passed,

don’t know where they’ve all gone,

And when you cross the street now,

 you don’t need to call your mom.

It has happened right in front of me, before my very eyes…

packed away, your faded jeans, one of every size…

Teddy bears and old match box cars,

all packed with loving care,

boxes son

baseball cards and folded notes of secrets that you shared.

I sit amongst the boxes recalling our memories all alone

and realize that baby, once in my arms,

 is now fully grown~

boxes

And silently I wonder through a mixture of joy and tears…

Did I truly show how much I loved you

through  those tender years?

Sometimes it’s hard when you’re the mom

to make your child understand

just how VERY  proud she is when he becomes a man!

Diane Reed

1997

teddy in box

(Time flies! The one I wrote this  this poem for now has a family of his own!)

Brenden and Chad Muslemen

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!!!!!

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©

 

What I know for sure!


Hey Everyone!

Happy New Year!

I must apologize for being away for so long. Rather than writing a

“Gone Fishing” or “On Vacation” post to at least let you know I wasn’t here…       I kept thinking I’d be back sooner than I was… and figured that you’d figure out that I was not here all on your own! 😉

Christmas Typewriter

 I mean, I never even wished you guys Merry Christmas!  I really can’t believe that I haven’t been here for almost a month. I never even thought that it was possible for me to stay away this long! Though I have kept up with some of the posts you guys have posted… I really wasn’t that great at doing that either!

woman writing at keyboard

But… I am back! And So now… what to say? I have to admit that I almost forgot how to post… it took me a few tries before I found the NEW POST key! Arghh… getting old sucks! You forget those familiar places and how to do things…. This has been my first REAL vacation in over eight years! And it has been nice not having to go to work everyday…. But I did miss my friends there and so I do look forward to seeing them!

typewriter on wooden desk

Sooo now as I dust off the old keys I wonder… what to write…. besides my first poem of 2014 (at the end) I wanted to make a different kind of comeback for this one post… not just numbering off all of my new year’s resolutions… though I do have em….

Or….

To tell you how much I appreciate all of you guys for reading and following me. I truly feel as if I have made some special friends here and have grown to love you all. Rather than write my ususal Happy New Year Post (though I do wish you all an amazing one!)  I wanted to come back in a way that reflects what I’ve learned this past year. My mother in law (the Psychologist by profession) just shared with me that we never stop learning. And our new knowledge is like tiny drops of water.

water drops1

As the master of metaphors I loved that one! And may all of our cups spill over in the coming year!

water overflowing

But as we shared… the one thing that I think stood out more than anything was the gift she gave me when she told me…”You are not crazy Diane.” Okay, so by now you may be saying… “She HAS to say that Diane, she is your mother in law!” But seriously, sometimes I do feel a bit crazy or at least as a writer, I drive myself crazy over thinking stuff.

stressed woman

But I feel that by her saying that to me… a light bulb kind of clicked on, almost as if I have kind of been given permission to feel the way I feel about things. Disappointed, frustrated, sad, confused… all are okay and probably pretty relevant for what happened to make me feel the way I did in the different circumstances that come to mind, and that I am writing about…  But I guess in the end, it is how we react to it all. By now we have heard it said in so many amazing ways: … It is not what is happening to us but our attitude in how we handle it.

quote about attitude

This year I know now… that being right is not as important as being kind. And that letting things go may be healthier for me in the end than shoving my rights to be right down the other person’s metaphorical throat. I have learned that people surprise you in both good and bad ways.

quote about not taking things personal

I have learned that money can make people feel and do things that are despicable and generous all in your own family.  And that your own children can disappoint you and make you proud on so many different levels but a parent’s love never changes. At least in  my heart I know that to be true. And that babies can take everything negative and turn it all into joy just like magic!

Sophia and her plug

I have learned that listening more than talking will always get you much further on the path of understanding and that being slow to say what you want to say is just about as important as being slow to react to anger. Just as I have learned that saying less is just an overall better choice all around. I have learned that life will throw you all kinds of curve balls but that faith is like a seasoned mit, the leather gets worn in the right places and we learn to catch the foul balls with ease as well as some great home run catches!

baseball glove

I guess in the end, I have learned that I can’t do it alone. That I need to let go and to give God the wheel. For without Him steering it is like sliding on ice.

Jesus steering

Happy New Year my friends! May this NEW year be filled with kindness and quiet reflections, home runs and peaceful and meaningful talks filled with more listening and a safe trip through the next year with God’s hands always on the wheel!

Jesus at the wheel

Giving Back The Wheel

Lord, thank you for the year behind me and the things that I have learned,

for the lessons you have taught me where my path took a different turn.

Thank you for staying by me, when I forgot to invite you along,

and for loving me during the times where I know that I was wrong.

This year I know is no different, and it is just another day…

But, we somehow all feel as if we can just blot last year away…

An opportunity of fresh starts and a way to begin again,

erasing last years mistakes, like a story that has reached the end.

We turn the calendar’s page and embrace the new hope  we all feel

as we metaphorically step aside, and give you back the wheel!

Diane Reed

2014!

 

God saying

Happy New Year to all of my special friends that find themselves here today! May this be a year of allowing God to steer your path!

                                                                    Diane

Through The Gate


sunrise golden clouds

The sun splashed across the morning sky

as I woke up early and opened my eyes.

I jumped out of bed and slowly yawned

as I looked out the window to greet the dawn.

window opening

Nothing had changed in the night before;

I had the same problems I couldn’t ignore.

bills

But something inside of me couldn’t give up,

it nudged me and pushed me till I finally got up!

alarm clock 2

Yesterday I decided to just stay in bed,

as angry voices screamed in my head.

holding hands over ears

it was easier to just give in to their  call,

but then…yesterday, nothing got done at all!

sleeping in

So I decided today to not let them win!

I’d take control and give it to HIM!

Jesus in the garden

It’s all in the choices  we ultimately make.

To walk through the garden, or stay stuck at it’s gate!

gate

Diane Reed

2013

It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect.   

 Psalm 18:32

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

Empty Nests… Letting the first one go…


This is the time of year…

empty birds nest

We are trying not to count the days. We know it is coming up. We are trying to be happy. And yet it is extremely hard.

I remember when my son left home. It was his Senior Year. It was a crazy time for us to move and yet it happened. I remember always shaking my head when I’d hear stories of parents uprooting their kids from their last years of High School and yet we found ourselves in that same position. I was not ready. He was not ready. And yet it is a choice I made and will always look back and wonder about. In the end, he moved in with his dad. I am glad because his dad is gone now and it was a great bonding time for them that my son will always cherish. And yet as a mom who was pretty over protective all of his young life, I had to let go, knowing for the most part, that the supervision would not be identical. In fact, it was pretty non existent. I am pretty sure all curfews flew out the window along with my baby bird!

I remember once my son calling me and telling me that one of his dad’s room mate’s had brought home Jack In The Box for everyone but him. I am sure there was food in the house and he was not going to starve and that there may have been a good reason for leaving him out… mainly his attitude which has always been a bit challenging… Smile… But I can’t imagine his father partaking in the food while our son sat watching. Though I “get” that I was not privy to the full picture. As a mother missing her baby you can imagine my heart. So I began sending care packages.

care package

Sure I could have sent money and saved the shipping, but I found joy in choosing his favorite things and “knowing” he’d be fed. I don’t doubt that my ex was supplying the basic needs but not the hugs from his mom and so I sent those packages pretty regularly. Until I was asked not to.

One day I got a phone call asking me to “stop” (sending the packages) by my ex. He said, “Diane, you are not helping.” I will never forget how hard it was. I understood that my son was actually 18 by that time, had a job and was living rent free so just had to pay for his gas and food. My ex had moved out of his parent’s house his senior year, and  I know that he just wanted our son to grow up and learn about life the way he had to. It was a love thing. He wasn’t trying to be mean. But it was hard for him to understand my “mother’s heart” and that the thought of my baby being cold or sad or going hungry for even just one minute was hard for me. Okay well maybe I wasn’t that bad but  I did want to confront him about that Jack In The Box incident but I didn’t want to betray my son. And I wanted to tell my son that it was his dad who was making me stop sending the care packages but I could not betray his dad.

box open

It seemed as if everytime I turned around that year, I’d see a little boy that reminded me of my son. I missed him so much. But I knew that he wasn’t that little boy anymore. He was all grown up and I needed to let go.

Chad's first day of school

 

I guess I actually was glad that his dad taught him the hard lessons that I couldn’t.

I’ve shared this poem before here but it is one that I wrote right before my first baby bird tumbled out of my nest… This one is for all the moms having to let go this year as their baby birds fly off to school or where ever it might be. I understand and feel for you all. And I am here to tell you that you will survive! My son did! He has his own business and a beautiful family. Letting go isn’t always easy, nor is letting our baby birds fall out of the sky sometimes… but if we let them… experience the highs and the lows… someday they will learn to soar and that is enough hope for me. (This poem is also for the young moms who can’t wait for school to start and need a little reminder…  of just how FAST it all flies by!)

SON

 Seems like only  yesterday I held you in my arms

Oh how you swept me away with all your baby charms.

The days just flew by quickly, soon you began to talk

and then a little later, you began to walk….

“Mommy will you cross me? I want to go and play.”

Oh those words ring sweetly, now seem like yesterday.

The years have swiftly passed,

don’t know where they’ve all gone,

And when you cross the street now,

 you don’t need to call your mom.

It has happened right in front of me, before my very eyes…

packed away, your faded jeans, one of every size…

Teddy bears and old match box cars,

all packed with loving care,

boxes son

baseball cards and folded notes of secrets that you shared.

I sit amongst the boxes recalling our memories all alone

and realize that baby, once in my arms,

 is now fully grown~

boxes

And silently I wonder through a mixture of joy and tears…

Did I truly show how much I loved you

through  those tender years?

Sometimes it’s hard when you’re the mom

to make your child understand

just how VERY  proud she is when he becomes a man!

Diane Reed

1997

teddy in box

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

My Strength


baby smile

I have been working a lot lately, so when I come home, I just kind of zonk out and recently have not been writing too much. But I had to share this one that came to me the other day while I was at work (of course ~ since I’m always there!)

Have you ever been in a funk and totally zoned out? Perhaps standing in a line at a register waiting to be checked out, and a baby catches your eye and smiles at you? In a split second, you are transported to a place of innocent joy between you and that smiling baby. You smile back only to receive an even bigger smile. At that moment, nothing else matters, not bills, being late for an important date, or even what has you really worried. It is as if God Himself, reached down to hug you. The innocent exchange reminds you of bigger things. Maybe even a glimpse of a speck of what heaven will be like. Nothing but innocent joy.

0413011039 hot tubrohss

The other day I was ouside at work. Even though I work in a beautiful piece of God’s country where squirrels scamper just inches away and birds sing to me as I do my job, I feel a bit like Cinderella having to clean out the chimney, (in my case tubs) waiting for my Prince to rescue me.

river oaks hot springs spa20121207_125633 hot tubs

cinderella mopping

(after all of my work… they look like this…)

hot tub

hot tub2

I have to climb up and down hills all day long, and under hot tubs that might have snakes and spiders where I have to go. And I have to admit that I don’t always stop to smell the flowers as I head under each tub.

tired maid

snake20130315_154425 hot tubsspider web

I asked God to give me something profound as I walked around the other day in a particular funk. And I amost heard His voice as He gave me:

“The joy of the Lord is my strength”. 

Wow!! It was such an intense and fast answer that it brought quick tears to my eyes. I asked for more and was given the vision of how I love to make people laugh. Particularly  people who I respect, like my dad or a person that I place a little above myself. And I realized that laughter translates into joy and giving joy is empowering. Hence; maybe the same goes for the meaning of  strength in the verse God gave to me? I pondered a bit more. (Funny how if you stay focused, God will talk to you as long as you talk back and sometimes even when you don’t!)  I realized that desiring to give God JOY is my strength. When I know that I know that I know that my heart is only wanting to make God “laugh” or make Him proud or happy, I am as strong as Samson!

I have been feeling blue lately and disappointed by people. From the time I was young I’ve had a habit of looking up to people; Teachers, Politicians,  men and women of God. And ultimately have discovered that they are all human. And unfortunately, all eventually succumb to pride and prejudice in their own ways. And maybe that is a good thing. Because when I start to admire someone too much, I usually am disappointed. I have just begun to learn that it is not fair to them. No one is ever going to not disappoint me. No one but God that is. And so my focus should be finding my strength in His joy!

A black cloud followed me

as I walked out my  front door.

Grumbling, I got in my car

 thinking I couldn’t take much more!

The day seemed to move slowly

and it lasted way too long,

counting the hours, I wondered

what else could possibly go wrong?

Suddenly I realized

I hadn’t started out in prayer.

Nor invited YOU my Lord

to follow me anywhere…

And so I stopped everything

as I bowed my head to pray,

finally inviting You

into what was left of my long day.

Funny how the traffic didn’t seem

to bother me anymore,

and when I stopped to pick up groceries

a stanger held my door.

And  I knew you’d heard my prayer

after standing in line a while,

when  that baby caught my eye

and gave me the biggest smile!

happy baby in grocery cart

That’s when I knew YOU gave to me,

a sample of YOUR grace,

and showed me that the Joy of the Lord

truly is my strength!

Diane Reed

2013

The Joy of The Lord

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

Happy 25th Birthday To My Brookie Baby!


Brookie's shower

Can it be twenty five years ago that you came into this world,

My sweet little blue eyed precious baby girl?

You captured my heart from the moment we met!

The first time I held you… well, I will never forget.

Brookie Baby pointing

You overwhelmed me with love at the very start

and through the years you have captured my heart

You have made me laugh and entertained us from the beginning

With you in our lives we were constantly grinning

Brookie Baby snorting

You’ve taken on life with all of your might

When you take on a project you fight the good fight

You finish it through to the very end

And then you get up to do it all over again

Brookie played till she dropped!

You have a way of holding our hearts in the palm of your  hand

And when you believe in something, you take a firm stand

Your beauty has been evident from the very start

But what I am most proud of… is what’s in your heart!

photos 006

As a mama I could count all the things you have done,

counting to a thousand naming them each, one by one~

but it’s not just your talents  or the way that you shine,

even though I’m constantly  boasting;   the fact that you’re mine…

img216

It’s inside your heart and the faith that we share,

it’s the way that your joy makes you cry when you care~

It’s your kindness and love that you have towards others,

That makes me so proud that I am your mother!

Brookie and Jas

And so as I sift  through the memories today,

trying to wish you Happy Birthday in “our” own little way~

I marvel at it all, for I know, in the end,

Twenty five years ago, I made my very own Best Friend!

IMAG0507

Happy Birthday Brookie Baby!

Yore Mama Loves You!!!!

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Hey, Brookie,

I just wanted to thank you for being my kid, my hero, my advisor and my very best friend.

You inspire me. You make me want to be better. I am so proud of your accomplishments!

Today, I just have to stop and breathe and realize that God protected you on that day of the earthquake so many years ago, (can it be almost ten?)  as

angels gathered around the place where you stood as our store was crunched  along with the car where you asked to wait in.

We can’t not believe! He has great things in store for you! I BELIEVE that you are going to change the world! Perhaps just one by one in the people

near you or in a much bigger way than we can even imagine. It was so hard to let you go, five years ago when you left our little town to go find your

dream. But you are doing it! Just like that little girl who I would find asleep ON her pile of toys…. you do everything with a ghusto! And I can’t wait to

see what you do next!

May God bless your life and may this year bring answered prayers and dreams come true.

I love you my sweet girl and very best friend~

Happy Birthday!

Mama

.

Say… “It’s Going To Be Okay”


The war ” inside”

has me dancing in this bubble

bubble under the falls

as if walking along the ocean’s ebb

walking in the sand

and floating over a sea of trouble

stormy sea

I find solace inside my head

wrapped inside your arms~

In a place so safe and warm

far from  earthly harms~

And yet I know

eventually,

I will have to go

to face my life

to make the choice~

 to learn to listen

to the  voice~

 As you wrap your words around me

and I hear you say….

in words

that that takes my breath away…

“Don’t worry

No,

don’t worry,

Oh my child,

don’t worry~

Jesus hugging

it’s going to be okay”.

Diane Reed ’13

Little Jewel


I wanted to come on and thank my blogging friends and followers and wish YOU all a wonderful and thankful day… maybe by writing something profound…. but I have to admit by the time I got here, once the dishes were washed

and all had gone as successful as possible with about four different families, extended and such, all connected by marriage or somehow~ all under the SAME roof….with the usual eggshell walking and  family dynamic tensions~     In the end… I felt blessed and yet pretty weary for the wear (having to have worked Wednesday and then knowing that I was back to work for another 8 hours bright and early tomorrow) I have to admit, I didn’t feel too inspired…

 And so thought I would just share something I had already written. Sooo, I was going      through some of my old poems and songs, and I found this one. It made me realize that I sometimes forget that I am nothing without Calvary. And so as we go around the room and rattle off what we are thankful for…. I am glad I am not so tired to remember the gift that Jesus gave us…. our everlasting life….on a hill far away, on an old rugged cross. And even when I am grouchy or fail to be exactly the person I wish I could be, or don’t get it right… even when others see me as clueless because I don’t see their point of view in exactly the same way…  (can ya tell I had a taste of family dynamics along with a helping of cranberry sauce??! smile…)

“HE” sees me soooo differently, not because I am or deserve it… or did anything special other than to simply believe… And for THAT~ I am so grateful!

HOW could I have ever felt uninspired??

About 25 years ago or so, I wrote this song with a friend. We really thought that we were going somewhere. Who knows where “somewhere” ever is? Today was Thanksgiving and I had 20 for the celebration. At first, I was overwhelmed but then I got into it. My daughter peeled 10 pounds of potatoes!  Later, when I realized that we had no center pieces, she actually gathered all the candles I had in the house, filled glasses with popcorn and went out and hunted down some pretty cool looking pinecones… and then for free… with what we had in the house, she made these beautiful  centerpieces that looked like they had been ordered!

My husband went and got tables and chairs…  my sister who is usually the first to leave, stayed and helped clean till the very end… everyone pitched in. I got up at 4AM and I am just checking in to say Happy Thanksgiving to all of you who I have met here that I am truly thankful for.  And the fact that I am so unworthy of all I have and yet HE blesses me anyway!

Here is the poem…

Little Jewel

Just a pebble in my own life

scarred and scratched upon the sand

but then you found me worthy

it’s still hard to understand

You refined the roughened edges

brought a glow for all to see

and yet you used my broken life

Jesus, all in spite of me

Chorus: I can hear you softly saying Little Jewel shine for Me Little Jewel shine for me

So unworthy in my own eyes

still uncut within your hands

like a jewel amidst the pebbles

hidden in the rocky sand

So unworthy in my own life till you died and set me free so you died for just a pebble made a jewel on Calvary!

(repeat chorus)

Words by Diane Griffin ’85 Music by Linda Hurst

When I’m On My Knees


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJwDxWddgSk&feature=related

Click on and then listen to the above words

and that…….

is where I am today. On my knees. Literally. In the course of my life I have discovered that there really is power when I am on my knees, on my face, in my most rawest form. I feel the heart of Mary at the foot of the cross, I feel like Eve when she realized she was naked in Eden, I feel the prayers of those crying out to the Lord in desperation and I feel me….

Really listen to the words this time. I mean really close your eyes and soak Him in and maybe, get down on your knees and see what I mean….

On my knees I find God in His purest form. Funny though, I can find Him in my car two inches away from another bumper that He helped me AVOID or in the waiting room of a hospital waiting for a loved one,  He was there during a test at school, and after my heart was broken as a young girl and during my divorce or even in a silly moment of praying for a dumb parking place. HE is where ever I want Him to be. But when I am on my knees I feel that I am where He wants me.  Maybe because He knows that I will  find Him  in the deepest part of my soul and I wonder why I don’t come here more often, just to praise Him. Why is it always when I need Him?

 

Today I make a deal with me to go to my knees more often. It feels good. I love our time together. I have been so caught up in me that I have forgotten what coming home feels like. The prodigal daughter, it really does feel like a party as he welcomes me into his presence and I can rest in Him and know that He IS in control.

 

 

Mrs. Anderson


I am in a place in my life right now where I am just plain stuck. I have written about mid life crisis and empty nests until I am blue in the face! I know that I have to get over it. But it is kind of overwhelming when you think back at all the plans you had, all the dreams and the mystery of not knowing what your life held felt kind of like magic. Wondering who you would fall in love with, even how a kiss would feel, never experiencing making love or getting married, giving birth or moving into your own home and where it would be…  It was as if you had this empty book handed to you by God and you could write anything you wanted in it. It was a feeling of possibilities, of dreams come true. And now I sit with many volumes of filled pages. Feeling as if I have experienced it all.

It is overwhelming to think about it. The emtpy books that God has handed to the doctors with great cures and authors with life changing ideas and Oprahs and Presidents of this world who all had that same empty book opportunity and filled it with wonderful accomplishments. It makes me thumb through my own pages and sigh and wonder what I have accomplished. Why my books aren’t filled like that. Or even why I still have not written the book I have been finishing and wanted to write for over two years now.

I am in quite a selfish place right now. Stuff that I have been going through the last few years has sent me in a tail spin that has been hard to recover from.  If you put too much on my plate, I want to run. I don’t make the effort to be a great friend. I don’t normally volunteer or contribute a whole lot in my life right now. But at a weak moment I was asked to be a Team Kid leader. It is a little like a weekly Vacation Bible School. In the beginning the groups weren’t assigned. We all kind of just fell into place and in turn became a TEAM. Hence; the name, Team Kid. But we actually have become a little family.

Slowly we felt our way through the last several weeks, getting to know each other. I have the 4th and 5th graders. I really love that age. I remember that when I was around that age, I had mentors in my life that I remember to this day. Mrs. Anderson taught me about Jesus in such a way that made me listen. She kind of raised up my spiritual awareness a little higher, from being stuck comfortably in my childlike faith and challenged me tolook at it all in a more mature way and encouraged me to apply the stories we learned to my own life. With Mrs. Anderson she stretched us. She pricked our hearts. It wasn’t all about the  paper we got at the end with the cartoon version of the memory verse for the week.  It was different with her. And when I look back, I think that she was about my age now when she taught my 4th grade Sunday School Class. Now that I think think about it… When I said yes I would be a leader, I guess maybe  I wanted to give a little back and perhaps  try to be a Mrs. Anderson to my little team.

The other day, I was so tired, as other leaders were falling out of their commitments I have to admit I was a little  envious. But then one mom after another came up to tell me things that their kids had been saying about me and it surprised me. Maybe I could make a differnce. These little kids were at such a great age. Teetering on innocence still goofy kids and yet so moldable and wise with thoughts and ideas and profound thoughts all of their own. I realized what an awesome responsibility it was. To be able to be a smidigen of a Mrs. Anderson in their lives.

Last  night was Team Kid again. My coworker was late so I had to work past my time. I was running late getting to the church and already tired from an over 8 hour shift and not really looking forward to a late night. When I saw my (little family) kids. They had already gotten my Team Kid bucket and placed it on “our” team’s pew and saved me a seat. One little boy came running up to me and sighed a big sigh and said “Oh Good Coach Diane, you are HERE!”

Okay so how Good is God? I am thinking that I am doing something for these kids…  How silly. They are doing something a thousand times fold more for me! Making me feel that I am important.  And God used them as HIS little messengers to tell me so.

If you are feeling a little blue… doing something for someone else will change that in an instant!

What I have learned in all this? It really is not all about me and I still have pages to fill in that book I was handed years ago. I may not ever be Oprah or maybe not even Mrs. Anderson but I can be someone’s Coach Diane.

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.