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

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The Most Distressed


I don’t often post a series except of course in posting my chapters 1-9 from my unpublished book’s rough draft…  So this is unusual for me to do a two parter but I just was so inspired by the message I received yesterday while picking grapes at our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

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

grapes raisins

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

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

the one that ‘s weathered and withstood the test.

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

that someday makes the better wine.

RAIN

Oh Lord, I’ve finally begun to see

the message today, you had for me.

I may not always understand the pain

but growth is found beneath the rain.

grapes distressed

inside the storm as we hang on..

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

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

They are God’s reserve…

HIS finest wine!

wine glass

Diane Reed

’13

The Bucket Dumper


grape young girl picking

Today was an amazing day. I got to hang out with great friends in their vineyard and be part of their harvest! They invited us to help pick their grapes and it was an awesome experience.

larry baldwin1

The group of people that gathered this morning happily worked like a fine oiled machine. We each got a bucket to fill, a glove and pruning shears. And though I missed church (which I have been doing a lot lately, another blog for another time…. ) I kind of had my own service all within my own few rows of grapes.

grapes bucket

I am kind of competitive, even with myself. So I had fun seeing how fast I could fill a bucket and how many I could fill. The only thing was that the fuller the bucket got, the further down the row I got and the place to dump the grapes was all the way back up the row.

grapez

So after a few dumps, I jokingly made a comment that we needed a bucket dumper who went around and took our filled buckets in exchange for an empty one. Low and behold someone took on that task.

larry baldwin

Of course “me” the lover of a good metaphor is not going to let this one pass. So, I started relating the bucket dumper to what God does for us… He provides us with a bountiful harvest and takes the fruits of our labors and lessens our load with His grace. The job of the bucket dumper is not a glorified one.

 grapes bucket being emptied

I’ve always loved it when I get to  cook a great meal and someone will come in behind me as I go and wash the dishes.

They are the ones without the glory and yet most appreciated by not only the chef and the winemaker but everyone not having to do that job..

So… whether it is a  meal or a bottle of wine, it is not in just the end result but all that goes on behind the scenes. It’s all about the entire process and sometimes, it’s not just about how many buckets that “I” fill but it is more about being grateful for  the dish washers and the bucket dumpers that help create the magic!

wine bottle

Sometime it’s not about how full the bucket is, but what’s in the heart of the one who fills it.

                                                                         Diane Reed ’13

Being Strong


Brenden and Chad Muslemen

It’s not about muscles that make people think we’re strong,

it’s not about the faults of other’s that makes you the one not wrong,

it’s not about the things we do so that others see them too,

It’s more in our transparency that gives us each  a better view.

 boy looking out window

It’s when I’ve seen the strongest man bend down upon his knees

to wipe the tears from a child’s eyes as he listens to his pleas,

it’s when he stops to hold a stranger’s door even when he’s in a hurry

or calls his wife each time he’s late, knowing that she might be worried.

upset

It’s when he brings her flowers home for really no reason at all,

flowers

it’s when he’s kneeling in prayer that makes him seem so tall.

kneeling man at sunset

All these things show more strength than any winner of a fight,

for strength is in the example of always trying to do what’s right.

Someday we’ll all look back and see things from a different point of view

we’ll see the things we did and the things we wished we didn’t do,

little crying boy

we’ll wonder why we were stubborn and just couldn’t let things go,

we’ll each learn different things about ourselves we wish that we had known.

Jesus looking back

We all will someday end up at the same place of awakening

where we each  meet our Maker, at a time when our heart is breaking,

where we fall upon our knees, realizing where we did it wrong,

and in that moment of weakness it is then we’ll be most strong.

Diane Reed

2013

mans praying hands

What’s next?


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

I view it much more differently.

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

baby in a hand

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

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

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

Wedding Jim and I with Jenny who caught the bouqet!

 

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

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

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

Stowes

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

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

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

bubbly pic

The world is full of debris that attaches to my soul

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

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

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

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

Forgetting about the kindness and the look upon HIS face

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

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

Diane Reed

2013

Kennedy Moments


kennedy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Like Romeo And Juliet


Disclaimer:

This poem is for my book that I am working on (all fiction don’t worry!)

 Pieces of the Circle

letters with ribbon

True love can’t be forgotten

though years have hid it’s flame~

Lost love held inside of me

without shelter or a name

ring

 Finding me in my despair,

weary from the pain

so ready for young love

to be restored for me again

woman at the mirror

We hesitated in mid air

like a note sung by a singer~

The scent of love we used to know

somehow made us stop and linger~

couple on a hill

Did we understand the cost

of choosing to stay or close the door?

Did we deserve to take our turn

and even ask for more?

holding hands at sunset

The love inside of me grew until

I thought that I would burst

I feared  that what I held dear,

by my loved ones would be cursed

goodbye hug

The past has met the present

like waves upon the sand~

The foundation was never ready

for us to step on or to stand

walking on the beach

We were caught inside a love story

with all the tragedy and pain

No one would ever accept our love

or allow it to remain,

young girl running away from yelling boyfriend

like Romeo and Juliet,

like Elizabeth and Browning.

Our love was like a soaring sea

as we struggled to keep from drowning.

past lovers quote

God became our rescuer,

The One who calms the seas.

The One who knows all of our tomorrows,

and what they all will be.

Jesus loves me and you

And so we rest in HIM

and put us in His care

And when we I look for true love…

I know I’ll  find Him there.

Diane Reed

2013

*Note* This poem is stored here for future use in my book. (Previous chapters can be found here in this blog.*)

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

Rain Check Please


raincheck

We live in a world of microwaves and instant dinners. From the time that I was ten years old we had easy bake ovens

easy bake oven

and creeple peeple machines that baked a cake mix with water or heated up plastic in ten minutes or less. Giving you a little rubber toy or a pretty much; less than edible dessert. But it was all in the “magic” of the minute.

creeple people

Tonight when we go to sleep, we all basically expect to wake up tomorrow. The old saying about ….. “We make plans as God laughs” has always made me smile and yet makes God sound as if He is up there flicking us off the map one by one. And that is not how He operates. We live in a fallen world. And the state of the world is our doing, not His.  Who knows why some of us will be affected by Obama’s new tax on the rich and some of us were praying for the unemployment benefits to be extended? (By the way that was a rhetorical question, not getting political this morning here.)

finger map

The point is, that we all our dealt our own hand. Some of us have disabilities or illnesses, some are born healthy and screw up our bodies due to overeating or smoking or drinking or taking drugs. Some walk out the door and get hit by a bus. Some are born into poverty but somehow come out of it as a bigger success than the ones who were born into wealth and don’t know how to make a living.

God gives us all talents. Whatever our situation is we can do something to glorify Him daily. I was thinking about the books that I fill with gibberish and mourning. Yes even I, the one who pretty much is an open book in all my shame and glory have things I would not want my family or friends to read. They are my pathetic cries to myself, my prayer journals to God, my processing the thoughts in my head. But am I guaranteed that when I walk out the door that I will return to them, the things I wish to hide? Will I be proud of the life I leave behind? Whether today or thirty years from now?

jogger

My dad walked out the door for a Saturday morning jog at 51 never to return. In all of his brief cases and papers, his bills and credit cards, his life seemed in order. He always told me what to do if something happened, where to go, what to find. I remember searching for something more. Not just his insurance papers. I wanted to know more about who he was. Not really bad stuff, just things that would tell me more about what was in his heart. He was a vice president at Mattel Toys and then at his CSC for many years. He had just changed jobs. He was a professor at Pepperdine and taught Computer Science classes as a hobby. I wish I had known him  as a teacher in the same way that all of the hundreds of students who came to his funeral did.

funeral

We plan for our retirement and we expect to grow old. But what if we knew otherwise? What would we do differently? I have met a few people who know that unless a miracle happens, they don’t have a lot of time left on this earth, and they are the people who live life to the fullest. Maybe not physically, but they are some of the most spiritually active people I know!

sunrise morning beautiful

They appreciate the sunrise and sunset and they seem to have a better understanding of God and His word and they have a relationship with Him that I envy, though I know I too could have. The only difference is that they know they are dying. But don’t we all to some extent?  They live like this is their last day and yet they appreciate every minute of it and treat it like a gift when it’s not. Shouldn’t we all live like that? Appreciating that yesterday was not our last and not assuming that today won’t be?? I bet a lot of us would be smiling more and a lot more kinder to one another if we actually took that approach.

lady yelling cartoon

The other day, I heard a lady who rather loudly was complaining about an item that the store I was in, was out of. She was frustrated because she had made a special trip to come and pick it up when she saw it in the paper on sale. No matter how the employee tried to explain it, she was not going to be satisfied. She finally huffed out of the store with a rain check in her hand as we all sympathetically looked at the poor employee who had just been blasted for something totally out of his control. It made me think. Sometimes we treat God like that. Demanding a raincheck for what we think is due us. We don’t like the life we are dealt so we snatch up our raincheck and storm off to live life as one huge hot mess. And what is our guarantee? We don’t get a second chance here. (I am sorry, I don’t believe in reincarnation. My theory is get it right the first time.) We feel that we have missed out and expect God to do something about it. We sit there and wait and wait. Well honey, I am done waiting and expecting and being huffy about it all. Because it really is ugly to watch. I was glad I was there to watch that woman’s little tantrum. I wonder, what do I look like to God?

God sees poem

I know what I am doing when I can’t seem to find the joy in the morning, only living in the past and being too afraid to feel the love again. But do I want my loved ones to find joy in the messages I leave behind or dark pitiful ramblings? I am not sure if any of you who have begun following this blog can relate but as we embrace the new year I will use this post to officially try to embrace every minute. To not just atutomatically expect health or wealth or life but to appreciate it! And next time when you take a rain check for whatever it happens to be… a date to do something later or that thing at the store that is sold out, remember to appreciate when you get to cash it in but don’t always expect it. Because  though we live in a world of instant breakfast and wanting it all NOW…     It’s not always about immediate satisfaction. In fact it isn’t all about us at all. I am glad I got to see that woman stomp away with her raincheck clutched in her tight little angry fist. It made me realize one thing….

coupons

I know that I don’t want to end up with just a drawer full of rainchecks. Do you?

praising God3

Colossians 3:17

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

  Psalm 136:1

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.

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.

 

 

The Love Template


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What I know for sure is:

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

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

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

Pedestal Sitters


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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