Posted in Faith, God

A Miracle around the Corner

Above is a photo of the Ethan Allen hall table I purchased at a resale shop for $85. Little did I know stopping at the new resale shop around the corner would turn out not to be a random choice I made.

I clicked with the owner right away.  We chatted for over 45 minutes. After I made sure the table would fit, I called back and said I wanted the table.

Yesterday I stopped again to look at a small side table. Unfortunately it has sold but we began to chat again. And before I knew it this woman and her husband were praying over me. No one has ever prayed over me in my 57 years. Standing in a circle of three, hearing ‘Lord lift her up, remind her Lord you have better days planned for her’ and many more words of love, I left the store choking back tears.

As much as I love my new ‘used’ table, I believe there was divine intervention and the table was just used to get me inside to meet these wonderful people.

Posted in Faith, forgiveness

How do you forgive yourself?

My heart and head are not in alignment. My head says forgive myself. My heart says no I don’t deserve it. I play over and over in my head all of the mistakes I’ve made as a mother, a wife, a daughter and friend and find it impossible to forgive myself.

I’m not exactly sure why because I forgive easily others. Sometimes it might take awhile but I eventually do. I still cry when I remember some of the things I’ve said. I know God forgives me, I just need the key to forgiving myself.

Posted in Faith

Kicked when down

I’m reading an inspirational book with the story of Joseph as the basis. Interspersed throughout the book are stories of ordinary people. The author knows these people first hand and have watched them suffer unspeakable trauma and sorrow. Yet all of them come through the fire with a stronger faith.

What about those of us who aren’t strong? Who don’t have the emotional strength to carry on? Who try through prayer and worship to gain strength and faith and still are weak? Who still are hopeless?

Posted in Faith, family, Uncategorized

What defines Family?

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I wanted to take a moment and ask you to think about how you define “family.” 

Is it just those legally related to you by blood and/or marriage? Or are you one of the generous and loving souls who has a broader definition of family? In the last four years I have sadly discovered the majority of people keep the definition of family very narrow.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family where my parents always opened their doors to anyone who might be left alone on a holiday. I did the same all the years I was married. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter I always checked to make certain everyone I knew had plans. Over the years we celebrated with a wide variety of people. My girls didn’t hesitate to invite friends to join us because they knew I’d always say yes.

How unfortunate that not a single one of my Texas friends checked even once in 2014 and 2015 and now 2016, with me to see that I won’t be alone. With one daughter married with in-laws and the other one on the West coast, I would have been alone this year until a last minute change in plans for my married daughter. The only one to invite me is the family I babysit for and I barely know them. What does that say about my friends who told me countless times we were family?

It is difficult in this electronic world to make friends. It’s even more difficult when you no longer have the natural outlets of children, school, neighbors, or work to make friends. Churches may preach friendliness but I’ve yet to find one that truly reaches out. 

Please take a moment this holiday season and ask everyone you know if they have plans. No one wants to announce she/he will be alone on a holiday, so don’t expect them to ask for an invitation or announce they are alone. Open your doors. If you need help with food expense, ask them to bring a dish. Open your hearts. I can guarantee your life will be made richer by reaching out and pulling people in.

Posted in Faith, Uncategorized

Time to give Thanks

In America we set aside a day in November to give thanks. Hopefully you give thanks to God everyday but I do think it says a lot about our country that we believe giving thanks is so important we have a holiday to celebrate it.

It’s so easy to lose sight of what really matters. Life moves as such a quick pace. One day you’re celebrating your 30th anniversary and what feels like overnight, you are approaching your 4th anniversary of being divorced. And while I am sadden my marriage didn’t make it, I am so thankful for the two incredible daughters I have. And I’ve got one incredible son-in-law. God has faithfully answered my prayer recently for one daughter and I am confident he will answer my prayer for my other daughter.

I’m in good health, have a place to live at least until June 2017 and have faith God will show me the path to how to financially support myself. I’m thankful for the sweet little boy who became part of my life last month. Even though he drives me crazy sometimes, I love my cat, Finn.

I’m thankful my sister is doing well despite her cancer diagnosis. I’m thankful for Anne, Julie and Bonnie who despite the distance remain steadfast and supportive friends. I’m thankful for the kind blogger souls who offer words of encouragement. And I’m thankful 2016 is the year I’ve actually begun to write seriously. 50,000 words and counting to the end of my book.

I may not have a big house, a large group coming for dinner, but as Thanksgiving comes around this year, I more thankful than I’ve ever been.

Posted in christmas, Faith, family, Uncategorized

Happy Holidays

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s not surprising to see Christmas decorations going up in stores. While I think it’s a little too early, it has its intended affect on me. I start to get excited. And for young children and many adults, a long period of preparation and build up only leads to disappointment. So here are a few things that might help.

1. Find a good Advent reading guide and spend 10-15 minutes each evening reading Scripture as a family.

2. Discover Christmas traditions from other countries and pick one to try.

3. Find out how to say Merry Christmas in 10 other languages.

4. Look up where the word holiday (holy day) and Christmas (Christ mass) come from and discuss their meaning.

5. Learn one new Christmas Carol. Here is a link to my favorite new one. It’s especially poignant since my divorce. That’s Christmas to Me

6. With older kids, decide on one way to contribute to those in need not just at Christmas but all year long. Suggestions include tutoring younger kids, reading at the local library or to seniors.

7. Wrap baby Jesus from the nativity and unwrap him Christmas Eve while reading the Christmas Story. Matthew 1:18-25, Luke 2:1-14, Luke 2:15-20, Matthew 2:1-12, Luke 2:14

8. Start a tradition of playing your favorite game on the Saturday nights in December.

9. Bake cookies, make fudge, a cake, a pie whatever reminds you the most of your own childhood Christmas and pass it on.

10. Invite “strays” for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day dinner. There any many people, including me, who may have nowhere to go to celebrate.

11. Write down a blessing each day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. (Each family member). Place them in a jar and read them on January 1st.

12. Find and go to a holiday concert or play. Many high schools have free concerts and community theaters may offer a low cost alternative to seeing a professional production. There are also community orchestras which are less expensive.

13. Find the best Christmas light displays in your community and make a photo scrapbook.

14. Hold a potluck and invite your friends to a Christmas Carol sing-a-long.

Whatever you do, share it with those you love and most importantly know this: it’s not how many gifts your children receive or how expensive they are. What they will remember are the memories you make together.

My girls in 1991 in dresses I made for them.

Posted in Faith, Uncategorized

Heartbreak Hill

Heartbreak Hill By The Light Breaks Through

A must read for anyone struggling with life’s challenges.

Posted in Faith, love, Uncategorized

I’m in Love

Yes it’s true. I’ve fallen head over heals in love. He stole my heart the first time I met him and now I get to spend two days a week with him. Who is he? He is the 16 month old son of two doctors, who I will call APL. It’s been a long time since I’ve spent time with a toddler. They have a lot of energy but they also have an infinite amount of love to give.

Observing him as he explores the world and the way it works, is fascinating. I can see his brain working. And when he laughs and smiles at me, I’m filled with joy and happiness. And it is a blessing to be able to care for him. I’d love to post a photo, but since he isn’t my son, I won’t.

Posted in depression, Faith, Health, Uncategorized

Reflection

Have you ever caught a glimpse of a reflection in a mirror and wonder who it was only to realize you were looking at yourself? That happened to me today. I didn’t like what I saw. How had I completely stopped taking care of myself? There was no evidence of joy. I looked unhealthy and sad. I have allowed almost four years of my life to be wasted. Wasted in depression and sorrow over a toxic relationship.

I think it’s taken all of this time to shake free of the torment and hold my ex had over me. He had trained me never to trust my own decisions and choices. He convinced me no one would ever want me and I’d never get a job. And guess what? I let those lies determine how I spent my time, but no more.

Depression is an ongoing battle which I don’t think is ever cured. It’s more like a disease in remission or an ugly monster which is locked away but manages to rear its ugly head every now and then. So I do anticipate having to continue this battle but I know I will ultimately win the war and find joy and contentment.

Posted in Faith, family, Uncategorized

Two days, 1247 miles and 1 cat

Someone I love has cancer and has begun a rigorous routine of chemotherapy. Before my divorce, I would have purchased a ticket and flown west to Las Vegas, NV. My family has lived there for almost 43 years. I’ve only made the full round trip road adventure once prior to this time when my dad died. Then I had a husband and daughter who could help with the drive. This time it was me and my cat.
There isn’t much between central Texas and Southern Nevada. There are long stretches of road which appear endless. And in many areas there is no radio reception. It gives you time for a lot of introspection. The first day was 12 hours. Albuquerque was my destination for the night. About an hour outside the city, the sky grew dark and it rained, hard. I was already tired and my cat was beginning to get restless in his kennel. Heavy rain just added to my already high stress level. But before long, the sky began to grow light and then it turned the most brilliant shade of blue.

It occurred to me this storm is a representation of my life the past few years. I lived with an ugly storm building on the horizon and when it hit, it had 30 years of hurt and heartache raining down. It came close to destroying me. Then slowly, very slowly I began to see a break in the storm. I could hear the faint calling of God’s voice telling me not to give up. And now, even though my loved one is facing cancer, I can see blue sky.

The blue sky of hope is calling my name. It reminds me of the story in Luke 8. Jesus is asleep on the boat when a storm hits. The disciples ran to him because they feared drowning. He utters a word and the sea and sky are calm. That is where I made my crucial mistake. I was so caught up in the drama, fear and pain of my storm I forgot to turn to Jesus. But thankfully our God is patient and he waited for me to turn around and call upon his name.