Sunday, March 29, 2015

Five Minute Friday: Break

Five Minute Friday: Today's word prompt is Break.  Go

My immediate thought with our FMF word prompt this week wasn't a negative thought; Break: I broke a glass, or someone broke my heart.  Instead, my thoughts went immediately to where I know I need to be with God. I need to be changed by His loving, healing, breaking of my heart. It is often a painful process, but one I know I need to embrace in order to be used by Him.

The Psalmist David wrote:

Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  My sacrifice, Oh God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, You, God, will not despise.  Ps 51:15-17

My lips, and my heart have been closed for too long. In order to be humble before God, my pride must be broken. Not my will Lord, but Thine. I need to let God break down the walls around my heart that I have built, on my own, to protect myself against the hurts I have encountered. I built those walls to shut out more hurt, but all the while I was also shutting out God. My pride falsely led me to think I could protect my own spirit. Instead my spirit has begun to dry up, holding me back from the blessings that God has for me.  Open my lips, Lord, I want to declare Your praise, but in order to do that, I need a broken and contrite heart.

Break me.

Melt me.

Mold me.

Fill me.

Use me.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Five Minute Friday : Open

It's been a VERY long time since I have joined the crowds at Five Minute Friday to write with (almost) total abandon for five minutes based on a prompt provided by our host Kate Motaung.  

The word this week is: Open. Here goes:

Allowing access, passage, or a view through an empty space; not closed or blocked up. This is the dictionary's definition of the word 'open'.

For quite some time now, this simple single word has eluded me. I have been the total opposite of this word.  I have felt closed and blocked up, not allowing access to anyone or anything to those passages into the real me.

I long to open my doors, but the lack of movement has made my hinges stiff and unwilling to open easily.  It's felt safe having my doors closed, it keeps intruders out, and I can easily hide behind it, not having to dress to greet anyone.

But it's lonely.

I long to open my doors, but my door is stuck. It's going to take some effort to open it again. I'll need to grease those hinges and then work at opening the door every day after I've closed them for the night.

Now where did I put that grease can?


Friday, November 21, 2014

Don't Fear the Bears!

It is already late fall, where did this year go?  The autumn season is quickly approaching official winter where it is time to rest, to hibernate, and to reflect on what this year has brought into our lives.

This year has brought many things in our family to celebrate and many things to pray for. I am thankful for those wonderful things to celebrate as they bring joy and new life. And I am thankful for those things to pray about as it makes fresh to me to be thankful for those I care deeply about and appreciate the time and memories I've shared with them.  Now it is time to follow the bears. It's time to hibernate and recharge.

Just like the seasons that come upon us here in the Midwest, we have reason to celebrate the season and to hibernate.  

In the fall, I find myself wanting to be outside, putting things in order, and preparing things to brace against the long, cold winter. In my personal life I take time to organize things that have gotten out of control over the busy outside seasons. Making new goals for the next new year.

The woods behind our house during the fall

 But, in the winter we have the opportunity to hibernate, to rest. The beginning of winter finds us all still trying to find our groove. We try to slow down, often times getting caught up in the "things" we impose upon ourselves, such as parties to attend, presents to buy, goodies to bake.... But we should follow the seasons, and allow ourselves to slow down and rest, just like the bears and other critters that we notice AREN'T around during the winter.  We shouldn't fear this time of hibernation, instead, look at this season as a time of renewal. If we approach this season intentionally, we can make the best of what seems to be a long, cold, dark season.  During the winter, we can choose to purposefully slow down our pace. Intentionally enjoy our moments at home with our families, to rest and recharge for the new season coming soon.

The woods behind our house during the winter

These months that come so quickly and seems to stay around too long, aren't to be dreaded. Instead, consider them a time to reflect on what this quickly fading year has brought. If you felt a void, take the time to refill. What was it that made you feel that way? What can you do different in this coming new year?  Take this time to hibernate, rest, and reflect on what it is that you are really wanting to to accomplish in the new year.  Don't fear the bears!  Take your cue from them. Recharge! Renew! Refresh!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hiking and Wading at Hell Hollow

 This past weekend, Honey and I took a 75 mile motorcycle ride to Hell Hollow Wilderness Area up near the lake in Leroy Twp., Ohio.  This gorgeous park is part of the Lake Metropark system. It's off the beaten path (ever take a motorcycle on a gravel road??) and we parked in a very small, non-descript gravel parking area that lead us to a path at the edge of a high cliff top. The highlight of this area is to descend more than 100 feet to the ravine where Paine Creek winds it's way around with dry beds, waterfalls and rushing water. Once upon a time, glaciers pushed and gouged out this beautiful area that got it's awful name because of the steep, rugged slopes which made it hell to access and leave the "hollow"

Just as we arrived, it begin to sprinkle. And as soon as we entered the tree canopy the rain started to pour. Thankfully the canopy protected us and the rain quickly ended.

We had no sooner began walking the trail that would eventually lead us to the 262 timber steps to descend to the river valley, when my eye caught this beautiful brown hooded owlet caterpillar.  (And no, I had no idea that's what it was called until I got home and looked it up.) This little creature was spectacular in color. Orange, blue, yellow, red and black... if you enlarge the picture (click the pic) you should be able to make out the details of it's markings.

Just steps away from the caterpillar was this pretty little moth, or butterfly. It sat still long enough for both Honey and I to get a few pictures of it too.

Once we got to the bottom of the ravine, we walked along a low creek bed and came across this leopard frog. (yep, I knew what this guy was. I totally dig frogs and toads). He also sat very still. I think he thought we couldn't see him. We kept moving in closer, snapping our cameras until we were practically on top of him. We were the ones who moved away first.

Later on I spied this little brown toad. He didn't move either as I snapped to take his picture. What a cutie. (OK, only folks who really like toads and frogs thinks they're cute, and I am one of those folks.)

The ravine was mostly green, but there were sprinkles of color in the midst of the fauna. I have pictures of red and orange toadstools and other fungi as well as this bright pop of fuchsia in this pretty little flower. The visitor collecting pollen must have thought it was attractive as well.

In the creek bed where it was dry, I came across this uniquely shaped rock. I wanted to bring it home with me, but I guess the park people frown on folks taking things out of the parks. So I took it with my camera instead.  How cool is that?  Can you feel the love??

This small waterfall in the ravine was very pretty and a peaceful sight and sound.  Wish I could take THAT home with me and put it in the backyard.

Honey wanted to get a picture of me on the other side of the creek bed. I told him it looked deep, but he assured me that my new hiking boots were waterproof and that I'd be fine.  So I rolled up my jeans and waded to the other side.

He stands corrected.

Waterproof boots are great as long as the water stays on the outside of your boot.  Once the water tops your boots, well, I can vouch that the inside of the boot is not waterproof.

Considering I had to take off my boots and ring my socks out, I decided to wade in the clear cool creek while my socks lay out across some sunlit rocks. I also took advantage of some flat rocks to practice a PiYo move I've yet to perfect.  

After we explored the ravine a little longer, we began the trek back up to the top. 

Did I mention the 262 timber steps we took down into the ravine?  There's only one way up that we were aware of. Yep, 262 timber steps back up out of the ravine. I am so glad I decided to start working out again earlier this year, otherwise, I don't think that would have been quite as enjoyable as it was.

Did I also mention I had on wet socks and boots?

I still love you Honey.

Thanks for a great day.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Restless Mind Syndrome

There is not much that is more aggravating than waking up at 3:30 in the morning and not being able to go back to sleep. More than three hours later and my mind is still talking loudly to me.  Factual, but not important thoughts like; "I didn't drink enough water today" run across my mind in micro-second interruptions. That thought leads me to begin other unimportant thoughts such as, "When I wake up, I will do better at drinking water." and "I need to work out. Should I do PiYo or bursting?"  "I wonder if the rain will stop us from going to the Farmers Market this morning." and "I need to write..I haven't written again for several days."  I then begin to beat myself up for not doing what I feel like God has directed me to do.

I lay in bed, listening to my own thoughts ramble on as well as my husband's proof that he is sleeping soundly. I really am tired and just want to sleep, but can't.  I put a pillow over my head, then I get hot, so I take the pillow off my head. I'm still hot so I take the blankets off my body. I get up to go to the bathroom. I climb back into bed.  My honey is still rubbing it in that he is sleeping when my body refuses to.  I decide that I can sleep better in another bedroom.  So, I make the trek to another bedroom, carrying all my pillows with me that I'm sure I have to have to sleep well. I arrive in the room, but first have to move off the pretty pillows, turn down the bed sheets, stuff my pillows into the bed where they all belong and I lay down...ahhhhhh.





Argggghhh!   The clock in this room is SO loud! 

Once again, the pillow takes it's comfort spot over my head.

A few minutes of listening to the now muted tick, tick, tick, I move the pillow off my head once more.  I get out of bed again and move the very loud ticking clock onto the bench outside the bedroom door. By now the sun is starting it's trek towards the horizon and the sky is beginning to brighten. I know this because there are illuminated areas just above the curtain rods in this room that continue to get brighter as the minutes progress.  

By now, I've begin to give up hope that sleep will come. I figure I had better just stop fighting the thought to write and get up and begin writing. I don't have anything in particular I feel I need to write, so I just begin.

Quickly, I am at a standstill.  Facebook beckons me and I give in to it's seduction. A couple of friends who obviously are in the same boat, respond to a my status post and I say a quick prayer for them that God help them sleep. Then a very dear friend, who is on the other side of the world right now, pays attention to God's prompting and sends me just the right words.  "... give your burden to our Lord Jesus Christ and receive his love and peace and comfort ." After a brief conversation full of God's truth, he says a prayer for me and sends his love, and I receive it.


And I write.

(Exodus 33:14) And He said, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."

Good morning. I'm going to bed now.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Standing Firm

Still being real here. It never fails. Whenever I move on something I feel God is telling me to do, Satan comes in for the kill. He tries to kill the satisfaction of doing something I feel led from God to do. He comes in to kill the hope, and the joy of following God's prompting.

Late last night I was inspired to think that God might be blessing me for obeying his prompting of sharing my last post, for stepping out and just beginning to write. Then today, all those hopes were dashed. Leads fell through, accomplishments failed to manifest, and what I thought was my support, failed to be encouraging, instead, I was left feeling like I was being mocked.

I wish I could say I was walking in joy for following what I believed to be God prompting me to do what He wants me to do. But I can't. I still believe in my heart I followed God's prompting, but I also believe that I need to stand fast and not let Satan intimidate me with his scare tactics. His tactics of allowing my all-too-new low self esteem to surface would be easy to fall prey to, but I refuse.  

1 Corinthians 15:58 says it so well. "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm (determined). Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." (NIV)

I am determined to stand firm in what I believe to be God's direction for me, even if I don't understand why He is leading me down this path. I know God well enough to know that eventually it will all make sense.

So it wasn't the best of my days lately.  And even though I feel slightly discouraged, I feel empowered for first, doing what I believe is God's direction, and second, knowing that I hit a nerve with Satan or he wouldn't even have bothered to try and discourage me.   So here's a (weak) "yay" for me, for doing it anyway.

And I continue to write.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Getting Real

I've been quiet for way too long, and that isn't just on my blogs, I've been quiet in my spirit as well. These last two years have been, to say the least, scary as I have been through depression and back trying to figure out what it is I am supposed to do with my life. Ever since I left my high-paying corporate job, I have realized I don't know who I am, or what I'm supposed to do.  I am no longer an expert in my field.

Since then, I've been trying to find what it is I want to do when I grow up. I've started my own business, I've done home party sales, and have even become a fitness coach. All I "need" to do is bring in a little extra income each month. That's been my goal all along, makin' a little income.  And other than a seasonal party sales position I took right after I left my company, I've made nearly nothing in all my endeavors. Less than nothing if you count what I've spent to get started in these endeavors.

One of the sermons that came out of our church recently "nailed" me right between the eyes.  Pastor said "God opposes our plans when: our initiatives are not from the Lord, our building is not for the Lord, and the glory is not to the Lord." He went on to say "we are most fulfilled when we work to make God famous.  Therefore, everything we do must be God directed, God devoted and God dependent."

That very next day I got real with God and prayed. "OK God, it's obvious what I've been trying to do isn't working. So I'm listening. What do YOU want me to do?"  I immediately heard this one solitary word. "Write". 

Right then I realized what I am meant to do. I've heard it before from God, from my friends and from my husband, but I've always said, "But writing doesn't pay."  If I'm getting real here, my real thoughts were also; "to write well means getting real. And getting real means being vulnerable. I don't like being vulnerable. What if people don't like me? Who am I writing to? Who am I to write anything that anyone would want to read?"

Psalms 127:1 says "Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain."  I've been building my own house for too many years with no skills!  Oh, there have been times I've contracted portions out to God, and He did a FABULOUS job, but I always step in and take over once things start looking good.  I've wasted too much time and resources trying to build my own version of God's plan for my life. 

What have I done in the time since I heard that small, still (but very loud) voice?  

I've ran.

Everyday, I hear it... "WRITE". And everyday I've ignored it. 

All my insecurities are resurfacing. "I have nothing to say." WRITE. "How can I make money writing?"  WRITE. "No one will read anything I write." WRITE. "I am dry inside." WRITE!

 What do you think I should do?

Me too. So,.... I'm writing.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

End of Detox Journey

Week three of my detox diet ended on a high note.  I lost a total of just over 6 pounds and lost an average of 1 1/2 inches from my waist (3 points) and hips.  My honey was anxious to take the "after" pictures and compare them to the "before" pictures.  I wasn't so keen on the idea as I wasn't expecting to see an improvement. But, as you can see below, after just 3 weeks, there is noticeable improvement. Not as lumpy and bumpy as before. And is it my imagination or does the woman on the left look older than the woman on the right?

I still have a way to go to look the way I want to look, but for just 3 weeks, I can't complain at all with the results. 

I ended the 3rd week the day before my honey and my anniversary, and, unfortunately, took advantage of eating what I wanted (to a point) at a nice restaurant the next evening. Needless to say, I messed up on slowly introducing back in the food(s) without any other "toxic" foods.  So, after sulking for about a week and eating some of the foods I should have waited on, I decided to do the 3 weeks again.

This is not necessarily a bad thing.

1. The recipes are all good.
2. I just may lose more weight (a shame, I know)
3.It's not that hard, and my body loves it! (So do I)

So, now you may be asking, "what did she do?"  I tested "The Virgin Diet" using "The Virgin Diet Cookbook" after reading her book "The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 Days "

I'd love to get your feedback or comments on this.  Has anyone else tried this detox diet?  If so, what were your results?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

One-Line-a-Day Gratitude - Baby Girl

"Reflection is an important part of happiness, and pausing to reflect on a positive event from each day cultivates gratitude." -

What was the best part of my day?  Watching my grand-daughter lean for her daddy and witnessing his heart melt.

Detox Journey - End of Week 2

Week two proved to be a challenge on this detox diet. I started the week off gaining weight. The first day was about a half a pound and the second day I gained another half pound.  I was so discouraged. I was following the diet and couldn’t figure out what, if anything, I was doing wrong.

I am still unsure but I think I may have figured out in part what was going on. First, and I think most importantly, I wasn’t getting all my water in. At best I was getting in 40 oz a day.  Secondly, I wasn’t getting good nights sleep.  Lack of sleep can actually cause you to not only hang onto weight, but to gain it as well.

Week two had me eating lunch instead of drinking a smoothie. I found myself just eating leftovers from the previous nights supper, as I didn’t want to prep and cook lunch and turn around and prep and cook dinner as well.  I did several times anyway. I don’t think that contributed to the weight gain, but certainly dampened my excitement on top of the weight gain.

All in all, I ended week 2 at 130.4 pounds, a total loss to date of 5 pounds. Losing is better than gaining, so I can’t complain.

Even though my struggle with the whole weight gain/weight loss started my week out on a down note, what happened next certainly raised my spirits and put me back in a determined mode.

A routine visit to my doctor delivered good news. Doc had my blood work done and checked my CRP (C-Reactive protein), which measures the inflammation in your body. (FYI, inflammation is something we want to avoid as it eventually causes all sorts of damage to our bodies in the form of diseases, ulcers, weight gain, etc).  A standard range is 0.0 to 1.0. My results were 0.1.(very good)   To further my excitement, my total cholesterol dropped another 10 points from the last time I had it checked and is well in the normal range now. My triglycerides have always been high and for the first time ever, it too is now well into the standard normal range! So even though I didn’t shed a chunk of weight in week two, I know that eating this way has improved my insides.

Other pluses that I’ve noticed are; I haven’t experienced pain in my knees when I climb stairs, I have more energy and I am not suffering from bloat and gas.  All in all, a big improvement in my general well being is totally worth the stall on the scales this week.

One more week of detox, then I begin introducing back some of those foods to see which ones are the big offenders.

My goal this week is to pay more attention to my water intake and to try to be more consistent with my workouts.  I’m still only doing 15 minutes of *burst training with 20 minute incline hiking on the treadmill on my off days. However, my work out times have been more off than on this past week.

Sticking with me?

One more week to go. Hang tight.

*(High-intensity interval training (HIIT), also called burst training, involves short bursts of high-intensity-style exercise for 30 to 60 seconds followed by one-to-two-minute recovery periods.)