This Is October In Ohio

The colors of the late October leaves are muted against the smudged, gray sky. The air is moist, and the wind blows cold as I make my way across the front yard, on my way to the barn, where Jazz anxiously awaits her breakfast. I look up to see geese moving across the sky in formation, their honks reminding me of their arrival.  I glance across the field to where our back fence posts share the property line with our neighbors. The fields are now brown, combine machines having worked diligently to harvest in the two weeks previous. The wind causes the stubble that remains, to rustle in the chilly air.  This is Autumn in Ohio.

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The Fire of Resentment

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Have you ever read something and knew, just knew, that God sent it directly to you? Like a target was on your forehead or something? Two days ago, my calendar devotion by Sarah Young (Jesus Calling) spoke about rebellious tendencies, and resentment. As I read it, I thought to myself, “I don’t want to read this. I don’t want to even think about this.” I suppose a lot of us are like that, huh?  God wouldn’t let me drop it. It kept playing over and over again in my mind.

Sarah Young wrote, “When something interferes with your plans or desires, you tend to resent the interference.” Ouch. That stings. Yes, I admit it, I want what I want. When other plans, especially things in which I feel I have no choice or control, happen, I resent it…..and, not just a little teeny weeny resentment, either. I’m talking about a massive, fire in my gut, that burns hotter than any California wildfire. She went on to say, “The best response to losses or thwarted hopes is praise.” Oh, no. Not that. I don’t feel like praise. I feel like anger. I don’t want to praise. I want to sulk. I want to yell. I want to stomp around and be upset.

Of course, that is not what God wants for me. He wants for me to see Him in the everyday. Each moment, both good and bad, and be thankful. Maybe He is attempting to teach me something, or show me something. Instead of complaining about the inconvenience, I need to be grateful for the opportunities.

Tomorrow is a new day.

The Christian Life Isn’t Always Easy

IMG_1163The Christian life isn’t always easy. I’ll be honest. There are days when the words of my heart, are not pleasing. When my thoughts are selfish or downright mean, or when I’m screaming on the inside…even though I look calm on the outside. I wish I could say that I always have my thoughts under control, that my first reaction to stress isn’t to freak out. If I said that, I’d be lying.

Thank you God, for your grace. For forgiving me. For giving me a second chance. For your faithfulness and your mercy. Just thank you.

( I was going through my blog archives and found these. Some things I wrote a few years ago…….) 

There Is No Going Back

Each day is filled with grace. It washes over me, I breathe it in. God’s choice, for His pleasure. Amazing grace.

Time moves on, and over the past week or so I’ve thought hard on transition and change. It occurred to me that I am at a point where there is no going back. As a mom, I have had to let go, breathe deep, and trust God. Trust is more than a word, it is action.

This life is filled with so much. Many days I am thankful, but some days it is difficult…and my fist clenches tightly on all that I have, all I don’t want to lose. Will the God that loves me so, bless me more? Or will I accept if His answer is not what I want to hear?

I am sharing one of my past posts that speaks to how I am feeling today…..

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It is what Ann Voskamp, in her book One Thousand Gifts, says……is “hard eucharisteo”.

I’ve not had any terrible things happen to me lately. I am thankful for that. I know that life will throw me another curve ball someday—and I pray that I am ready for it.

Most Mondays I blog about thanks, along with other bloggers, over at A Holy Experience. Many of my blogs are happy thanks.

Eucharisteo….to be grateful.

Sometimes… I don’t feel grateful.

I should.

But, I don’t.

I’m working on it.

Hard work.

God has always been faithful…and He will be again.

He is my anchor in all of life’s unpredictability.

I am thankful, grateful, in awe of, a God that is strong.

That is powerful. Whose grip on me is firm.

So, today I thank for the hard stuff…….

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*I am thankful for doctors and their skills. Physicians that care for those I love…Even when it hurts.

*I am thankful for family members that love each other through good and bad, and they feel my love for them even when I can’t see them regularly.

*I’m so very grateful to be able to send love across the miles, when I can’t be there in person.

*I’m thankful for sticky floors that I have to clean, even when I didn’t make the mess.

*I’m thankful for a vehicle to get me from one place to another, even if it isn’t new.

*I’m thankful for times when I am weary, times when  God’s strength and power, alone, are shown.

*I’m grateful that I don’t have to have all the answers, all the understanding of the “why?”.

*I’m glad for having the opportunity to make choices…even when I choose poorly.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you… Isaiah 43:2  NIV

I am thankful, that in darkness, even a small light can help people see.

I Hope You Dance

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This is one of my favorite multi-media journal pages. At the time I created this page, I wasn’t intentionally thinking about the song, “I Hope You Dance”, but since then it has sort of stuck with me. Lee Ann Womack’s words resonate with all of us that want to enjoy the moments, even the hard ones….and just dance.

I Hope You Dance

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,
You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger,
May you never take one single breath for granted,
GOD forbid love ever leave you empty handed,
I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean,
Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens,
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance….I hope you dance.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’,
Lovin’ might be a mistake but it’s worth makin’,
Don’t let some hell bent heart leave you bitter,
When you come close to sellin’ out reconsider,
Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.

I hope you dance….I hope you dance.
I hope you dance….I hope you dance.
(Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along,
Tell me who wants to look back on their years and wonder where those years have gone.)

Love People

 

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I have always been a writer ever since I was a little girl. Diaries. Journals. Notebooks. Scraps of paper. Lists. Poems. Stories. Reading and writing, have always been “my thing”. I readily admit, I am not the writer of great novels (although, I can  (and do) truly appreciate those that are gifted in this way). I am much more a writer of human experience, both mine and others. I write my opinion, how I see life, and the events that have touched me. I see things in a rather aesthetic way, and yes, sometimes get teased for that. After all, who writes about the colors of the changing leaves, or the chilly autumn air that is an omen of what is to come? Or how the geese sound as they land in the lake across the road?  The creases of time etched into a person’s forehead, or the way the little girl who can’t stop hopping, has lopsided pigtails? How the cracks in the sidewalk make a pattern? And how complete strangers, driving by, will wave at you when you go to get the mail, if you wave first? I like to observe and remember the smallest details, because it is sometimes those details that tell the truest stories of our lives.

Sometimes people’s stories are short and sweet, and sometimes they are long and drawn out. I find that when I listen, I usually learn something………..

Yesterday, a friend sat with my family at our church luncheon. We were having a “kick off” for Operation Christmas Child . This man, has the gift of words. He talks to everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or how old you are. He wants to know people. He said something, that caused me to ponder, mostly because I’ve had the same thought myself.  The gist of his statement went like this: People are so busy these days, no one talks to each other. No one really knows what someone might be going through. If you have the opportunity to talk, and then really listen to someone, it is amazing how much gets said. It just pours out, because people, really DO want to tell their stories. They want to be heard. I smiled. I told him I thought his ability to speak words, to make friends, and to listen was a gift, and did he know that? He just smiled, and said, “I love people”.

Wouldn’t we all do well to love people more?

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:13 NIV

 

 

Before And After…

This Monday, October 10th, would have been my late husband’s 50th birthday. He passed away almost 16 years ago, just a few weeks after he turned 34. The old saying about how time stops for no one, really is true. A lot has happened in the years since his death, much has changed.

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Sometimes on special occasions or during certain events, I am reminded of the hands of time. My husband, a huge Dale Earnhardt fan, didn’t know his NASCAR hero died in the last lap of the Daytona  500 in February of 2001. He never watched in horror, as the Twin Towers fell, and thousands perished on that fateful day in September. He wasn’t there when our son was baptized, or when he graduated from high school. He didn’t vote in the last few elections, and never got to see his grandchildren be born.

For those of us that have lost a loved one, a strange thing happens. Life becomes a series of, “before’s and after’s”. Remembering what happened before that person passed. And, what has happened since?

Thinking about Kennis today. Looking at pictures and noticing his lopsided grin, that lives on in our son. Reading the words his daughter posted to me, about missing her Dad. At certain times, the embers of remembrance are stirred until a bright flame breaks through the darkness. A time comes when one starts celebrating the life that was, instead of mourning the death that occurred.

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However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him–       1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV

 

 

 

Zip It!

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So, I am currently in a Women’s Bible study group. We are reading through Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman. The book is good, in the sense that it causes me to think, consider, and well…..learn to keep my mouth shut. There is a time and place for everything, and quite frankly just because I am thinking something, doesn’t mean I need to say it. Is what I am saying truly beneficial? Is it helpful to others? Am I speaking truth? Or are my motives more about being right, and having the last word? Yes, admit it. We have all been there! The truth is, I might legitimately be right and my words valid, but that doesn’t mean I need to use my words like a sledge hammer.

Let’s make no mistake about it. Words have power. They can build another up or destroy. Words can decimate, far greater than a sword. We have all probably had experiences where someone said something that hurt us, and we carry the scars of how those words made us feel, even years later. I remember words a friend’s older brother said about me, when I was just ten years old. The teenage boy’s thoughtless words probably meant nothing to him, but cut me deeply.

I do not want to be that person. The one whose words sting.

I can be wise when I choose what words to say……or not say.

Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs. Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning.  Proverbs 10:12-13a NIV