Wednesday, August 19, 2015

She Taught Me...

The lessons she taught me...

She taught me to say "please", "thank you," and "you're welcome".
She taught me to give up my seat for my elders and to sit down and listen at their feet.
She taught me to not disrespect authority and to respect myself.
She taught me to not give away what belongs to someone else. To save that gift for my husband.
She taught me that there is power in prayer and sometimes God's answer is silence.
She taught me that time spent with Him is never wasted time.
She taught me to not save that special something for after you're gone, but to share it when you can    share in the joy it brings that other person.
She taught me to be still and listen.

The lessons she taught that I'm still trying to learn:

To laugh like a little child and let my joy spill out.
To find satisfaction in the littlest moments.
To forgive easily because unforgiveness only hurts me.
To act on expressing love, because that person may not be around tomorrow.
To spend time at Jesus feet every day.
To not build up walls to protect me from pain, but rather take the risk of being hurt.
That sometimes things are better left unsaid because you can't unsay them.
To always look at the other point of view.
That not asking for help is selfish.

She may be gone from earth, but she is still teaching me.

I miss you momma.

She opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. Proverbs 31:26

Here: Be Present

This is a very belated Five-Minute-Friday post from Aug 6th. The prompt was "Here". goes!

"He isn't here!  I mean, he is here physically, but he isn't here with me." I whined to my mother.
For a few years that is how I lived, side-by-side with my husband. Together, yet not. Each of us off doing our own thing, barely interacting with each other. We went through different phases throughout our married life, and that one was very lonely. To be with someone, but not be present feels very hollow.

Today, I see children, learning from a very early age to not be present.  They are side-by-side, sitting next to their "friends" but they aren't there. They are on their mobile phones checking in on social media, texting another friend that is only yards away from them...they aren't "here" in the present, looking into the eyes of the one sitting next to them, and having a real-life, in-the-moment, conversation with that person.

Photo from Clive Thompson  The Daily Telegraph  Feb 1, 2014 12:00 AM

I sometimes wonder, when they grow up and meet someone special, if it is difficult for them to focus on the object of their affection longer than they focus on what has become a virtual replacement for friendship.  Our culture is fostering relational hermits that just so happen to be seated in a large group of people, who all have their eyes focused on that object in their hands.

Just imagine, if you can, if everyone put that object down for one day and looked at each other. What would they say to that person who's sitting next to them? Could they look them in the eye and hold that gaze for any length of time? Would they know how to be present?

No matter what our ages, we could all stand to practice being "here" in the now, paying attention to our surroundings, being present.

Are you here?

STOP!  Join the writing party every week at:


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Don't Wait Until Tomorrow!

When I saw this week's word prompt at my fav writing hole, Five-Minute Friday, my mind burst with all sorts of quotes and thoughts. But the one that spoke the loudest to me is the one I'm going to run with.

This week's word prompt is: Tomorrow.


Don't wait until tomorrow to tell someone you love them. We may not be around to hear it.

It wasn't until I was diagnosed with a serious disease that I even contemplated that I could die before a ripe old age.  it was then that I began to think about the future without me in it. Not as much about missing out on the things I wouldn't be around for, but what I was leaving for those who would stay on this earth. I wanted them to know  how much I loved and appreciated them. Things that should have been said more frequently suddenly were urgent to be let out.

I lost my momma in 2004 and I was thankful that my family had 6 days notice to see her, and love on her, and tell her how much we loved her before she left us. I still wish I had tomorrow with her, but I am thankful we had those moments. 

We are not promised tomorrow. Whether it is we who leave or someone we love leaves us, don't wait until tomorrow to touch their hand, or touch their heart. Don't say those words that you can't unsay, because tomorrow they will still sting and you will be one step farther away from being close. Instead, think of tomorrow as another day to have an opportunity to show your love in a kind word, deed or shoulder.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever - Mahatma Gandhi


Photo Credit to Dave Howell at Photography Musings by Dave 

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.