When Did The Days Become Years?

Twenty-four hours, never seems like enough.

Don’t we all feel the way the moments of sand slip through the hour glass of time?

When did the days become years?

And why wasn’t I truly awake to see them?

Oh, my eyes work, but often times I miss what is right in front of me.

 

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Capture the pictures with eyes wide open.

Heart moments.

The moments that really matter.

The ones that will be remembered for all the times to come.

 

“But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand.” – Psalm 31:14-15, ESV

 

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Living Through The Aftermath

In the aftermath of the fierce and tragic storms that have hit the southern part of our country, we all need the reminder of trusting in the midst. As much as I enjoy watching the weather, my heart aches for those that have been hurt or lost everything they owned to the ferocious winds and flying debris. I wrote this particular blog post a couple of years ago under similar circumstances….when my fellow citizens were living through the aftermath.

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Trusting In The Midst

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Category F5 tornado (upgraded from initial est...

I am a bonafide weather geek. No doubt about it. I have NOAA and The Weather Channel on my computer. I love watching Storm Stories and am fascinated by the Weather in Motion maps, so that I am able to track storms in real time. Weather is a tricky business, and it can change at the last second…sparing one area, devastating another. People think they can predict what will happen days in advance…but, it’s all just an educated guess, isn’t it?

I don’t trust the meteorologists. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that they are not God. They cannot know, not really.

Tomorrow the area of the Mid-West that I live in is in the “red zone” for severe weather, dangerous winds, possible tornadoes.

I can “batten down the hatches” at my house.  I can listen to the news. I can track the storms on my computer. I can try and be prepared, but I cannot trust that I alone can handle the storms that come my way. I can’t. I never could. Oh, I try, but, ultimately I am defenseless in the wake of the strong winds, crashing waves, and utter darkness of this life.

I do know someone that I can trust. Completely.

The One who can calm storms with the very sound of His voice. Sometimes He chooses to calm the storm and no one gets hurt. At other times the storms rage wild, life is torn to bits, people die. We ask the question that hangs heavy on the brokenhearted….. “God, where were You?”

He is there, in the midst. He never left. He never will.

Tragedy happens in this life. There are few of us that have never wept the tears of grief and pain. It is part of the human condition.

Storms do come. They will continue to come. I choose to cling to the Rock that holds steady through the strongest storms of this broken world.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High 
   will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, 
   my God, in whom I trust.”  Psalm 91

Do Not Be Anxious About Anything

I remember reading a book, years ago, entitled Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff. This book talked about not getting stressed over stuff that in the big scheme of things, really isn’t all that important.

Sometimes easier said than done…at least in my world. Sigh…….

I tend to stress. I fret. I worry. I mull things over until my head hurts. I’ve even at times affected by health because of stress. There are mornings when I get up and half way through my morning routine realize that my shoulders are hiked up practically to my ears! I tell myself to take a deep breath and relax, as my shoulders loosen up ever so slightly.

God tells me in His word that I’m not going to add any time to my days by worrying. Stressing really is the thief of peace.

Honestly, I want to learn that lesson. I want to internalize it. I want to live it.

What am I really saying to God when I continue to worry and stress about the future, as well as the day to day?

“God, I know You are big, but not big enough”.

The hiss of fear wraps itself in my worry. The pain of stress weighs heavy.

God, forgive me.

But, Jesus who loves me so, whispers to my heart…..”You are mine. I bought you for a price. No matter what happens in this life, I am with you. I will never leave you. I will never forsake you. You are my redeemed. My child……..and I’ve got you covered. Once and for all.”

 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 

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Today I am thankful for: 

* blazing pinks and purples in the morning sky

* sun peeking over the horizon

* waiting for a rainy day

* a slow, quiet Monday

* smiles

* new friends

* laughter

* reminiscing

* comfy t-shirt

* piles of laundry

* furry pets

* clucking chickens

* grass getting greener

* God who IS big enough

* Jesus who stands in the gap

 

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The Story Is Still In Progress

Just a little over a year later, I got the early morning phone call that my father had taken his own life. Once again, it seemed so surreal. I was hearing the words, but it was difficult to wrap my mind around it. This happened to other people, not me.

But it did happen. Regardless of the depth of relationship, when a parent dies, something forever changes. Childhood innocence (even when an adult) is tainted with hard reality.

So much had happened in my story. Pages turned, lessons learned.

Resilient.

A word that became familiar to me.

Months passed……Being a single parent was fine, but sometimes lonely. Jesus was very real to me and I stuck closely to Him as we walked this story together.

Years passed and God, in His goodness, brought my new husband and I together. In His sovereignty He wrote a chapter for my story that I never would have guessed had I been the one holding the pen.

I realize that my story…this story, the place I’m at right now…might never have been.

That realization, make no mistake about it, is a gift.

It allows me to value my moments so much more. Some would say I’ve paid a high price for this knowledge, but without my experiences I would have missed out on so much. That is just the truth.

My life’s story is just a small portion. If I were to give you a book, any book, and tell you to turn to chapter 14 and begin reading…it wouldn’t make sense. The story never makes sense if one doesn’t read the whole thing.

God’s story is the overriding story for all of us. It all started with Him and it will all end with Him. His is a true story of love, and it is through Him that all the rest is even possible.

1Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. —-Hebrews 12 

Amen and amen.

 

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The Next Chapter Of My Story

I knew what I wanted to do since the time I was sixteen. I had always felt God called me to work with the special needs population. My desire never wavered, even when my friends were indecisively changing their college majors. Following college graduation, a career began that spanned decades. I found myself in a small town in the mountains of Tennessee, the suburbs, the inner city, and now the rural farmlands of the Mid-west. I’ve witnessed poverty up close, seen what drugs and alcohol can do a family, and became hardened by working in an area known for drive by shootings. I’ve also been privileged to see smiles, watch children grow, and go on to live fulfilling lives. Teaching is, and always has been, more than just a job.

I never did go back home to Maryland. My parents divorced when I was nineteen and the house was sold. The road to home became someone elses. My mom and sister moved to Tennessee, where I lived. Through those years, I found out that home isn’t a building. Home is where I am, with those I love.

When I turned twenty-four I married a man that was a Tennessee native. A few years later we had a son. Time passed and my husband was diagnosed. The doctor’s words were both surreal and scary. A little over a year later, I watched my young husband laid in the ground. It was a damp gray day in early November. The tears escaped from eyes squeezed shut from the scene in front of me. Death is hard and jagged. It cuts deep. Even though the marriage wasn’t perfect, the finality of my husband’s death wore heavy on my heart. I remember looking down at the grave site and seeing the sweet soft hand of my five year old son enveloped in my own reminding me of the preciousness of life. We would be okay.

God is good. He always is, even when we don’t feel His goodness, or acknowledge it. Our lack of understanding does not change Him.

And over the next several years I was reminded that His grace truly is amazing………

 

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All Stories Have A Beginning

Today’s writing prompt is:  your story

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My Story–Part 1

It is interesting, those things that we remember so vividly from our childhood. The things that we don’t think about very often, but are a part of us, woven into the very fabric of our lives. All stories have a beginning, they all start somewhere. My particular story has me going back to my Mid-Atlantic home state of Maryland. I grew up in a rural county, with rolling hills and farmland, away from the lights and noise of Baltimore and Washington D.C.. Most of my family lived close by and it was not unusual to have frequent family get togethers. Relationships were cemented during those early years. Time spent playing with cousins, going to church, riding my bike, and figuring out school life. Looking back, my school was quite the melting pot. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was nothing to have friends with last names like Slobodnik, Kavalish, Capporola, Modi, or Polignone. The school bus would let me off at the main road. I would walk the half mile back the gravel road that led to home. Funny thing, I remember those walks home as some of the best times. I would sing, pretend to have conversations and practice what I would say, talk to God,  pick wild flowers, stop and watch the clouds in the sky, and occasionally run into a ground hog that was surprised to see me on the road. Those quiet times allowed me the time to breathe and think and just enjoy. To this very day, I thrive when I’m allowed to carve out some quiet time in my otherwise busy schedule.  That is the way I am…the way God made me.

The days turned into years, and into the next stage of my life. The tight grasp on what was familiar, loosened. My path, after graduation, took me far from home…..and, I had no idea what lay ahead. It was probably better that way, the not knowing.

Tomorrow I will tell more of my story……

 

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Incredibly Unique

If you have met one person with autism, then you’ve met ….them all  one person with autism. Anyone who works with, knows, or loves someone with autism, understands that this is true. Just as we are each unique in our own right, the same goes for those on the autism spectrum. Individuals with autism share some basic characteristics, but other than that they are incredibly unique.

April is Autism Awareness month. As someone who has spent many years working with and loving those with autism, I wanted to share some of my posts from years past. It is interesting looking back and reading these posts because so much has changed in a matter of a few short years. What used to be a statistic of 1 in 150 children being on the autism spectrum, is now I think at last check, 1 in 68. (Some even say 1:50) Research needs to continue to uncover the cause of this widespread epidemic. When I was in college in the late 80’s, studying for my special education major, I don’t remember autism even being discussed. If it was, it was not in much detail. Now, twenty-five years later, everyone has heard of autism. What has changed in that short amount of time?

You can read some of my previous posts on autism, here. You can also read here and here.

 

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