It’s Not Just About the Powdered Sugar


powdered sugar box

I just want to share a silly little story with you. It really happened and I know would happen more if I’d ask more. But with a grateful and rather humored heart, I wanted to share my story with you today. When I was about nine I had a little orange patent leather purse. It had eight dollars in it and back in the late sixties, that was a lot of money for a little fourth grader. I tore the house apart looking for that little purse.

praying little girllll

Finally I remembered Mrs. Anderson, my Sunday School Teacher telling us that all we had to do was talk to God when we needed something and He would listen. So I shut my eyes and Prayed believing full well that He’d answer: “Dear Jesus” I prayed… “Pleeeease help me find my purse.” And for some reason I just happened to look out the window as soon as I opened my eyes and there in our  car, in the garage ,was my little orange purse sitting right in the rear window of our car.

Okay, so I have lived a few decades since then and I have come to the realization that the answers are’nt always that forthcoming. Or at least the answers that we think we are or aren’t recognizing.  But I know God heard my prayer and He was right there when I ran out to retrieve my prized possession and knew my heart as I marveled at just how specifically HE answered my prayer. And on that day, that prayer changed my faith.

orange purse1

In the years that followed. I have prayed for things and it is not always like magic for me. But because of that little orange purse memory, I don’t doubt that HE hears my every word. And that if we ask for specific answers, He is not above giving them. Now, I dont mean to minimize the important prayers, and believe me, I have needed to pray for life and death answers before. But recently I have been pretty out of touch with my walk with God and I needed a reminder that HE is always there, even when I don’t always feel Him. On this particular morning… I’d decided to make cinnaomon rolls for work and my name to fame is the cream cheese icing that goes on top.  I buy powdered sugar by the bag and usually have a small stock pile of bags in my cupboard.

powdred sugar bags

This particular morning, I had to be there early and when the cinnamon rolls were finally in the oven. I usually make the icing while the rolls are baking. So I opened my cupboard only to find not even one half of a bag anywhere to be found.  I am not sure what the big deal was, and why I was so invested in making them that particular morning. But I pulled everything on every  shelf in my cupboard apart and there definitely was absolutely NO powdered sugar in it, anywhere. As I closed the doors I was about to give up and that little orange purse popped into my mind and I almost laughed at myself but I prayed: “Dear Lord pleeease give me just one box of powdered sugar.” Now I told you that I normally buy bags and I don’t remember buying a box. But I opened the cupboard doors one more time and there was one sitting right out in front.

praying woman's hands

Magic? No way. It was my reminder that God hears EVERY prayer, no matter how small.  In fact, I’ve always thought it was a lack of respect to ask for things like parking places or other things that aren’t life and death when HE has much better things to do. But I think God wants us to be in conversation with HIM much more than we are, or at least than I am.  And I know that  it was that same God who found the importance in answering my prayer almost  fifty years ago that took the time on that morning not too long ago,  to find a silly box of powdered sugar for me. I truly think I needed a reminder, that I need to talk to God more about even the little things. This was a refresher connection, personally with HIM to remind me what a specific God we love! Because after all, it really never was just about the powdered sugar.

powderd sugar sugar

 

 

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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

An Unexpected Afternoon


Yesterday I spent an unexpected afternoon with an amazing woman.  A decade or so ago, it might have surprised me that we would be having these kinds of afternoons together. You see the woman I am talking about is my Mother In-law and I guess it took a while to really appreciate her amazingness. She is a Psychologist and I’ve always felt as if I were “kind of crazy” and so I was constantly on the defense. Let’s just say in my “maturity” I am appreciating her wisdom and she has invested a lot of patience and time in getting me to this place of acknowledgment.

mother in law and daughter in law

I love it because even as a Psychologist, she is just now discovering new things about herself as well, so at times I feel as if we are unwrapping presents as together….  As we wander around our own souls. Talking about dreams and realizations, fears and hopes and faith and it was shocking how fast five hours flew by. Several years ago, I may have felt like it was a wasted day off. But now I gather it up as a cherished memory.

Recently, I have realized that I have begun to stop questioning myself as much. Giving myself permission to actually be right without asking everyone and their brother for their opinion.    Today, I have decided to give myself permission to be right without any feedback. Sometimes you just know that you know that you know that you are right and you have to just make some painful decisions in life and own them.

Today we talked about learning to FEEL the pain when we are hurting and to actually recognize that IT is really real.  I realized that I’d been  making excuses and apologizing for how I feel. But my pain is usually reasonable and not some crazy misunderstanding that I’ve had with myself. Today I am learning to trust my own feelings and to start to give myself permission to heal. And to make choices about who and what to allow in my life and to  not second guess myself nor need anyone else’s opinion. I wish I could bottle this ephiphanie so that I could share it in elixcer form! But I think we each have to figure out certain things all on our own sometimes.

girl carrying huge key

I can’t explain it but when you recognize for the first time… something you have been doing wrong for decades and truly understand it. AND… can change it by just thinking differently it is like opening up a door to a wonderful room you had not allowed yourself to go in.

SONY DSC

And you know what?? When you finally figure it out….It is freeing. It has made me feel lighter and yet strong enough to move mountains! It really is freeing when you finally allow yourself to feel what you are feeling. And not need everyone else to confirm that you really aren’t crazy after all. Try it. It is like a “click” that turns the light on so that you can almost see your own soul!

Agreeing With Just Me!

girl with round light

Inside of me I’ve begun to find

a place I go to clear my mind

it’s there that I’ve begun to know

the greatest feeling of letting go

to know that I don’t need to fight

to always prove that I am right

I’ve climbed to where the view is clear

I’ve gripped the vine and dropped the fear

girl jumping off cliff with umbrella

I’ve felt the pain in holding on

somehow I’ve known all along

If I am right, that’s all I need

for… I just have to agree with me!

Diane Reed

2013

Just a VESSEL


I am but a vessel

that houses who I am

soul

A symbol of the outside

where inside my soul lands

jumping in his arms

I’ll only love you if I really do

breaking up

won’t fake it if I don’t

holding hands over ears

my ears have believed

a thousand lies

closed eyes2

but my eyes…

well, they just won’t.

woman at the mirror

seems as if I’ve spent a lifetime

being someone

everyone wished I’d be

fake people quote

but suddenly

I’ve become

the most authentic

part of me!

my portfolio from the seventies

Diane Reed

2013

Lately, I have done a lot of soul searching. Who are we really? I will tell you what I think. We are not the vessel we are wrapped up in. That is just a shell that carries us through out our journey. We are what is inside the package. A bunch of memories, joys, and tears, triumphs and mistakes, goals and dreams. A heart and soul and series of lessons learned. It is not what is on the outside at all. That is just our shell. It has nothing to do with what is truly important.  In the end, what we leave behind is not the body we lived in… but the messages we believed in…. The faith we have shared, the authenticity we have learned to finally be comfortable in and accept nothing less.

Sure in the end….when people think of us… they will probably picture that vessel but it is what it carried that will really matter.

A Little More


poverty3

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

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

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

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

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

poverty2

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

Oh Lord,I’ve found myself

on a pretty selfish path,

forgetting to be grateful

for everything I have~

praising by ocean

Making my prayer time,

all about me and what I need~

Losing my perspective,

consumed by my own greed~

sad woman3

Today… I want to thank you

for the GRACE you’ve given me!

Not seeing my flaws

that I know you might have seen.

swan

May I be reminded

just what I’m asking for

when I forget and come to You

asking for a little more.

Diane Reed 2013

poverty

This Is The Day The Lord Has Made


sunrise 1 pink sky

“Sunrise”

As the day open’s it’s eyes…

sunrise pink clouds

painted skies

fill my heart~

country sunrise

God’s canvas

splashed with pink,

praising God3

His work of art

is my day’s start!

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

Diane Reed

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

Garden of Eden

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

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

snake biting shoe

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

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

 I say NO… I am not…

What do you say?

It is your choice.

This is the day the Lord has made photo

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

In Honor of my 100th Post!


This is my 100th post. The one I have talked about many times before. The one that is supposed to be the milestone that inspires me to finish my book I have had in waiting….  I thought that it would be the perfect post to…. honor somene who inspires me daily…

My Mom…

She was born  March 3rd in  1934.  My grandfather was a machinist and my grandma stayed at home, being a mom. My mom was the apple of her parent’s eye. Blonde and full of life.

When my mom was six years old, “polio” was a dreaded word, feared by all. There was an outbreak of it, right in their own neighborhood in Seattle. My grandma was especially careful trying to keep her little family far from any germs, staying away from public places and washing everything. One day her neighbor asked them to go on a picnic to the lake, explaining that they would stay far away from people. My grandma reluctantly agreed and as they were unpacking their lunch all the kids  went exploring,  and accidentally knocked down an old hornets nest. My mom was stung where ever her little sunsuit did not cover. They rushed her to the lake and placed mud all over her wounds. shortly after, she came down with polio. It could have been a number of things that led to her contracting the terrible disease. The stings, the mud, or the trip on the bus downtown a few days later when her resistance was low. Who knows. It doesn’t really matter now. (Though I will always be puzzled about why they went on a bus ride downtown, right smack in the middle of people~ with all those germs, but… Oh well…)

     My mom on her way to school. (Her crutches are laying in the background)

The fact is that her life was changed forever. Her childhood was taken from her, the life she was meant to have was as well. And yet she learned to walk again where the doctors predicted a life of being paralized. She had horrendous surgeries, a bone taken from her leg, to straighten her back, a body cast for a year, and then later as she learned to walk again, cruel and clueless kids, stealing her crutches as she walked to school. And yet, she has fallen in love and been married twice in her lifetime.

           I’ve always  loved this one of my mom! She looks so happy as if her whole life was ahead of her!

She has been a successful artist and a wonderful mother. From an early age, she would sit me up on the counter and let me help…  pouring in the ingredients and stirring it with a spoon, always remembering to let me smell the vanilla and stir up my own concoction of “something.” I am sure that is WHY I love to bake!… she has been a wonderful grandma and the best memory maker you could ever ask for!

Mom and me 1958

One year my mom, found Winnie the Pooh (Always my favorite) blow up characters as party favors at my 8th birthday party! Every party she threw was more special than the year before. (She always out did herself!

My mom with my son (her first Grandchild)              My beautiful mom and daughter on the boat in New Port Beach, on my wedding day

She is in a lot of pain a lot of the time and I guess I never really understood much of it, until I got to an age when it was a little harder for me to get up in the morning and I began having the usual aches and pains that come with getting older. And I know, I only experience an inkling of a crumb of a speck of what she experiences daily and has for a long, long, time.

When I was younger, I hate to admit that I hated her polio stories. In fact, I’ve hated the number six all of my life because that was the age my mom got polio. I hated that she complained about her aches and pains and that she couldn’t do as much as I wanted her to. To attend my school functions and walk long distances. Funny, how selfish we are as kids. Now it is as if I have different glasses on, (I actually do! Recently having to finally give in to getting a REAL pair due to old age!) I can see more clearly. She is actually a hero for doing so much. She did art shows for years. With my dad’s help. And then ours, when I was able to drive. We all pitched in to help set her up and break down at her shows. My dad was so tickled as she obtained a following of faithful customers. She always made sure that we went to church every Sunday, even though my dad only would go on very special occassions… Easter mainly. Oh yeah and when I got baptized… smile.

Today, my mom has survived a lot. Polio was just the begining. My sister was in a horrific car accident and my mom would drive an hour a day to go see her. Sometimes twice. She did not give up when the doctors told her to not hold out too much hope. She prayed and talked to  her, until she came out of her coma and worked with her until she was able to live a pretty normal life. A few years later, my dad died of a heart attack jogging around the block, she was the one who found him. When you add it all up, she has not had an easy life. And yet she has proven that she is who she is because of surviving it all. And she has survived.

The thing about my mom is she has always had faith. She always believed that God had a plan. She never gave up. After my dad died, she began reaching out to hurting people in way of cards that she wrote in the form of letters, adding different scripture verses that pertained to what each person was individually going through at the time. They say Elizabeth Barrett Browning is in our ancestory somewhere and I don’t doubt it~              and so we write. That’s just what we do. My mom does it, I do it, my daughter does it. It’s just in our blood!

A few years after my dad died, she reached out to an old childhood friend  at my grandmother’s suggestion, with one of those letters right after his wife died.  He ended up coming for a visit.

They have been happily married for almost three decades.

So you see, even though life handed her some big obstacles, she always rose above them and God blessed her for it.  The lesson she has taught me and many others through out her life is that God is a God of MIRACLES and that nothing is too big for HIM. Not the opinion of a doctor or the diagnosis they may give, or the closing of a door. She has taught me that there is always a door to open somewhere, not too far down the road.

I don’t always tell her often enough but I am proud of her and she is one of my biggest heroes and best friends.

I love you mom!

You can accomplish ANYTHING if you don’t care who gets the credit!


We are in the midst of an election year and I must say that I am already weary as I watch the gas prices fluctuate and hear all the rhetoric from both parties and wonder where has character gone? Where are the Mr. Waltons and President Regans of yesterday?  Are they really a thing of the past?

My favorite saying has always been something I saw on President Regan’s desk several years ago when I visited his library. It basically said: “You can accomplish anything if you don’t care who gets the credit” He will always be my very favorite president.I loved Regan and feel he really lived that.  I wish I knew more people who did. I wish I could say I did.  If I really think about the people I know who hide behind their good works, it is barely a handful. Politicians are notorious for NOT doing that during elections, they are continuously boasting about their accomplishments which are usually more fabricated than not. Even Ministers have incorporated their acts of goodness into their sermon and it is surprising. Don’t people realize how transparent they are when they are sharing their own good deeds?

After the earthquake, I was given a column in our local magazine called Acts of Kindness. I had started writing about the kindnesses people did for us after we lost our store and vehicles and it kind of snowballed into a regular column.  I was given an article a month for almost a year and filled it with my own words of gratitude for different people in my life. Later,  I offered to tell other people’s stories and not one person submitted anything. It was weird. I knew people read my column because I always got lots of good feedback but  it was funny, I thought if someone was given the chance to thank someone else publically, this was their opportunity. And even though I could probably write forever thanking people in my own life, the column ran it’s course and I just began doing random assignments until I had to get a “real” job. But it was fun while it lasted. To be able to thank wonderful people for doing wonderful things for you, and get paid for it while doing it, was pretty cool!

There is a new little blirb in a woman’s magazine that has the same idea and publishes submitted stories of acts of kindnesses weekly. I love the ones where people share what other people did for them but it is hard for me to read the ones where they are telling what they did for someone else. I want to say, “really?” It includes their name and town and state and it just doesn’t sit well with me.

I wish I could be more like people who donate without telling anyone or work in a soup kitchen weekly or volunteer at a shelter and you would never know it unless it came up by accident. My dad is that kind of man. He has bailed me out of more than a few financial crisis and loaned me more than a few loans that he has forgiven. He goes and mows another churches’ lawn on a pretty steep hill and doesn’t even go to that church. His tithing does not just stop when they pass the offering plate. He quietly keeps on giving everyday of his life. Whether it is to mentor my son or to love my daughter or to lend a helping hand at whatever he can. A widow who needs yard work or chairs that need to be set up. He quietly does it without wanting anyone to know.

He paid for our dog’s vet bill when we were struggling and gave us Buddy back for a few more years. And you know what? I KNOW he has done many more things that I don’t even know about because he truly lives the words of not caring about getting the credit.  Yep. When I grow up, I want to be just like him. My dad.