Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Lower me down

Took the tree down and all the other Christmas crap that I could find.
Never fails...every year I find something a few weeks later that I've forgotten to put away.
Felt good to do it too. To get it all put away.
Each year the amount of decor seems to get smaller and smaller.
Don't feel like putting out anymore crap than I absolutely have to.
Not sure why this is.
I love the season, the cold and snow, the winter scenery
I even love my Christmas decorations
Everything's all red and green, silvery and golden glitter.
But the thought of having to re wrap in tissue paper all of those
doo-dads fills me with despair.
I am a portrait of contradictions!
I love Christmas but hate putting up and taking down the decor.
I say that I love the season yet I call the trappings of it crap.
I feel rushed and harried even as I tell myself to slow down and savor it.
I like getting gifts but am disappointed every single year by what I am given.
We eat the same foods, bake the same cookies and call it tradition.
Her pork roast gets drier every year and I am sick to death of "puppy chow"!
We must make this or eat that or it doesn't feel like it's Christmas.
For 7 years we've had no snow for Christmas.
This year we got it and people bitched!
On December 24th I watched people drive like the hounds of hell were chasing after them...
Rolling through stop signs, speeding through neighborhoods, almost mowing down pedestrians in the crosswalks and the excuse they use is called
Last Minute Christmas Shopping.
For me, it gets worse every year.
Seems like people are getting madder and more fed up
and way less tolerant of each other during the holidays.
And I guess you could include me, myself and I in that group.
Although I don't feel mad or fed up.
Just rather blah and tired of it all.
The Christmas dinner that I don't want to go to but I do cuz it keeps the peace in the family,
The decor I hang but want to take down ASAP,
The horrible over-played Christmas carols about Italian donkeys and Hippos on the radio,
Not being able to find anything to buy the Sad Man for a Christmas present every. single. year. because he is the man who has everything, plus he won't give me a wish list.
Trying and failing to keep Jesus is the Reason for the Season in my head.

Yes. Yes. Yes.
I realize that I am blessed.
I'm filled with gratitude.
Thank you Jesus for all that I have and am.
Warm, fed, healthy, surrounded by family.

I ask myself all the time why I feel that I must bitch about my life.
I think the saying is something like....First World Problems.

I've never lived in a hut, in the desert, without clean water.
I've never known gnawing hunger, I've never lived in a war zone.
I've never had to worry about Militants or Guerrilla warfare.
I don't know anything about Famine or selling children into forced labor
in Indonesia making shoes and shirts for Walmart to sell to me.

In my own little corner of the world, I'm safe and healthy and spoiled.
I complain about putting up Christmas decor and detest eating a dry pork roast.
"She made those cookies, again?!?"   is something I've said recently.

So I ask you...Does anybody else feel this way?

Then I find Addie's Blog and part of an answer:
God loves the cynic heart. I thought a lot this year about my own cynicism – the years when it was so ever-present and the ways it continues to linger in certain aspects of my faith life. As with so many things, I think when you begin to recover from cynicism, it’s easy to dismiss it in others. And yet, as I remembered my own mad season, I realized that cynicism is a kind of paralysis that keeps you from asking for what you need. And I want to be the kind of person who picks up the edge of the mat where the paralytic is lying and carries her through the crowds. I want to haul her to the top of that roof, lower her straight down to Jesus.

I realize after reading her blog that maybe I am a cynic.
Well maybe.....

Maybe I am.
Maybe I am mad and ungrateful at times.
Maybe I am tired of eating a dry pork roast from a woman who talks bad about me behind my back.
Maybe I am spoiled by living a healthy, happy, charmed life in the USA.
Maybe I am sick of reading about all of the horrible things we humans do to each other.
Maybe I am done eating breakfast cereal coated in melted frosting and calling it Puppy Chow.

So what? Who cares if I am a cynic?
Me. Maybe I care.
I don't want to be a cynic...not really.
I want to be sweet and nice and loving.
And I fail at this every day.
To be perfectly honest, I am that paralyzed woman on the mat.
I'm unable to get up and do what I want.
So here's what I'm gonna do...
I'm going to let the people around me lower me down into that hut.
That hut that has a hole in its roof.
And through that hole I can see Jesus.
I'm going to reach out to Jesus and let Him heal me.
And when He asks "Who reached out and touched my robe?'
"Who just touched me?"
I'm gonna tell Him it was me.
Me, Lord. It was me.
Me, the tired cynic who feels too paralyzed to change anything about herself.
Me, Lord. The one who complains and gets angry and pissy and crabby.
Me, Lord. The one who's tired of Christmas and puts the decor away too early.
Me, Lord, the one who knows You are the answer.
It was me, Lord.
It's me.

And this from Addie's Blog too:
There are so many of us quietly struggling along the same rocky path.
And if we have the courage to be honest, we just might find each other.

Here's hoping that I can find that same rocky path
and be honest enough and find courage enough
to let someone lower me down into that hole.
Because I believe that there's healing down there folks.

Lower me down People, lower me down!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What I wish I had said

The name of this blog is Lessons and Blessings.
My philosophy was/is/or has been in the past this:

Everything that happens to us in this life is a lesson for us to learn something from or a blessing from God above. 

Most of the time that philosophy, for me, fits right.
And then other times its just plain hooey!
And then sometimes that clap trap philosophy
can mean that the lesson wasn't mine to learn,
no blessing is forthcoming, it was someone else's lesson
And I just got caught up in the cross fire.

Here's my point...And my story-

Standing in line at the grocery store, a very tall elderly gentleman gives me the evil eye.
You know the one...kinda like the stink eye; squinty eyes with the brows drawn down together.
I see that he only has 2 items in his cart.
I have much more than that.
I'm feeling generous cuz, hey....Christmas Season and all so I let him go in front of me.
"By all means", I say, "please go in front of me."
I am genuinely feeling pleased with myself. My second good deed for the day!
The first good deed being that I helped a cantankerous elderly woman find the canned cranberry sauce 10 minutes before.
I honestly wanted to just walk past her, but I kid you not when I say I felt prompted to ask her if she needed help.
I showed her where it was on the shelf, she said thanks, and I went on my merry way.
So there I am standing in line, waiting to check out, when I hear it.
What sounds like two cats fighting, or maybe two elderly women disagreeing about something.
I turn to see what it is that has got them so disturbed and low and behold it's me!
That's right! These two women are looking into my cart, and counting my items!
Talking loudly amongst themselves to draw my attention to the fact that they are talking about me, about the number of items allowed in this check out aisle... a number that I apparently exceed.
And the anger!!! Oh my goodness...the anger and rage of these women!
The word well that she huffs at me, the other one clicking her tongue loudly as if to shame me.
Tsk, tsk.
And I am shamed. I feel shame.
Instantly I feel hot and flushed and stupid as these two women count my items and roll their eyes in exaggeration at the sign that says 15 items or less.
I'm in the Express check out lane and I hadn't noticed.
I said to the first woman who seemed the angrier of the two that she could go in front of me, that there is no reason for her to be this angry when she interrupts me with her response of how some people are just here to only pick up one or two items and she can see that I have more than the allotted 15 in my cart. She cares nothing for my excuse of not having seen the sign.
She is still huffing and fuming and angry that my cart holds more than 15 things and she has only these bananas that she keeps lifting up to show me.
I apologize to her for not reading the sign, I tell her to have a nice day and I take my cart with more than 15 items and go two lanes over to wait my turn in the "correct line".
As luck would have it, I am behind a woman whose order totals $396.00 and some change, and she's got coupons, Oh! and she wants to cash in her points for the Rachel Ray plates that are on sale.
I wait in this line for 20 minutes until it is my turn to be checked out.
And the whole time I am waiting in this line, I keep asking God what it is exactly He is trying to show me.
What is He trying to teach me?
What does He want me to see while I wait in this line?
What am I supposed to be learning here?
I keep thinking it is patience that He wants me to learn.
He wants me to wait for a reason...to learn to keep my cool?
To look around and see others and pray for others? Help others? How?

I'm kind to the woman in front of me who seems rushed and apologetic for buying $400 dollars worth of groceries and Rachel Ray plates.
I'm nice to the lady behind me who only waits for 5 minutes then she huffs at me and leaves for a different checkout line.
And still I wait.
And still I sense nothing.
God ain't trying to show me a damn thing here in this grocery check out line.

I'm pleasant and nice to the check out lady and to the bagger loading my items into plastic bags.
I end up have a grand total of 23 items. $50.00 worth of stuff that fits into 3 plastic-pollute-the planet- forever- bags.
And in my mind I wonder if that angry old lady in the express aisle thinks I have paid my penance yet.
The fact that I waited 20 long minutes to purchase 23 items.
Was that long enough for her?
Did she feel some sort of satisfaction in correcting my error?
Was she glad that she got to buy those bananas in a hurry, without having to wait in line?
Was she proud of herself for using her anger to shame me?

I  had plenty of time to think things over while I waited those 20 minutes.
And for the life of me, I cannot understand that woman's rage directed at me!
Why so furious over groceries? Or the number of items?
What made her think that I deserved her wrath for having 23 items in the 15 item express line?
I wonder now if she feels vindicated for having made me feel such shame.
Did I deserve that treatment for not reading a sign?
Did she have a right to spew her anger at me because I had milk, baby food, ice cream, coffee and liquid creamer and she had only those bananas???

I wish I had said something to her about the fact that she and I were both lucky to even be in this store.
We had both woken up that morning, fed ourselves, clothed ourselves,
Had walked in to that grocery store under the power of our own legs,
Even the fact that we have a grocery store in our town is a blessing,
To  even have enough money to purchase 1, or 15 or 23 items.
The freedom to think for ourselves:
To crave coffee creamer in a different flavor and think to oneself-
I will just run to the store and get some, Oh and while I am there I might as well get more coffee and milk and baby food, and bananas.
Bananas for heavens sake!

I realize now that it was her lesson and I got caught up in it.

My hope is that I made her see that her anger wasn't necessary
as I told her to have a good day as I walked away.

I wish I had said that her rage at a stranger was misplaced.
That it was only bananas she was wanting to purchase
And waiting in line can sometimes be good for the soul.

Especially if you pray for the person who is mean to you,
Or who shames you,
Or who is buying $400 worth of food,
Or the cashier,
Or the lady behind you who wouldn't wait,
Or the baby you are buying the food for.

It's the Christmas Season....

May God Bless us, Everyone!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

It isn't me

So there's this song
It gives me goosebumps when I play it on my IPod
And it makes me want to cry.
Because I wish for this daily.
Him and I being normal, able to talk to
and relate with each other.
But Alas....
I live with a sad man, a mad man
A man who is always sad and always mad.
About everything.
For years I tried to fix it....him....me....Us....
The sadness...the madness.
Played the codependant wife until
I became sad and mad myself.
Lucky for me that Alanon and my faith
converged together at the exact same moment
in time to save me.
Thank You Jesus!
I wish the same could be said for him.
He is not saved and doesn't want to be.
Sad and mad define him.
I don't want any more secrets or half truths.
But the Sad man is afraid of that word.
The truth scares him, I think.
Life scares him.

He like to blame others for minor and or slight infractions.
A lost baby blanket is cause for an arguement
and much upheaval in our household.
Blame will be placed on everyone but himself.
And when it comes to light that he may have unwittingly
had a part in the disappearance of said blankie
there will be no forth coming apology.
Oh, he'll say sorry...quickly and in a snarky manner.
But he won't mean it because he never is sorry.
He'll continue playing his word game on his IPhone
Not looking at or acknowledging me
As I tell him that he was being mean
By his passive/aggressive comments and accusatory tone
as we were searching for the grandsons blanket.
We'll go to sleep, again, not talking about 
Or bringing up the current issue that is between us.

How freeing would it be to be able to live with and love
And talk with your spouse of 30 years?
We've never been able to do it, him and I.

I once made a romantic dinner for two
Had the kids at a sitter and myself all gussied up
House cleaned, candles lit, music playing
Just waiting to surprise him after work.
During dinner, I made the mistake of telling him 
about the fear I've always had of him leaving me.
My honesty made him angry and he left me that night.
Said he couldn't live with a woman who didn't trust him
enough to never leave her.
Do you get the incredible irony of that situation??

I learned to stop being honest with him.
I saved all my hurts and sadness and truths 
and shared them with my best friend instead.
It didn't help the marriage per se, but it helped me.

But this song makes me ache for what we don't have.
Don't get me wrong, I love this man.
Just wish we had the ability between us both 
to be real and honest and truthful.
I'd like to pray together, make decisions together
Go to church together, confide in each other.
I wanna laugh together and tell each other our secrets.
I want us to heal and get well together.
I want joy and happiness and dreams coming true.
I mean what the hell are we doing after 30 years together?
Why can't we have it all?
Why does it still have to be so hard?
Why can't he be happy? Why is he mean?
Why can't we just be happy together?
How come he thinks it's me and I think it's him?
What the hell!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I've got stacks of books to read and stacks of journals to go with them.
And I never seem to get around to doing either....reading or journaling.
I've got dust bunnies under my feet that are larger than dust bunnies should be.
Laundry needs doing, need to run to the market, yard needs to be raked.
Grandbabies come again today at noon and the cartoons must be watched
and the baby must be played with even if I am too tired, or too busy.
Not complaining...I realize I am blessed beyond my own comprehension.
Just never seems to be enough time to get things done around here.
Most of the time I don't even have it in me to blog.
I need to finish parts 3 and 4 of why I left church but I don't want to any more.
Suffice it to say that church was boring and I hated it
from the time I was 14 until the age of 48.
Then all hell broke loose in my life.
And at the end of that breaking, Jesus Christ Himself showed up.
He redeemed me and forgave me and showed me a better life than the one that I was living.
And I grabbed on to Him with both hands and won't ever let go again.

That makes it seem like it was all wrapped up nice and tidy but it wasn't at the time.
Maybe some day I will fill in the blanks of this story about my transformation.
But for now, other things are calling for my attention.

So, again, I will say that I'll blog when I can
Maybe I'll even figure out how to be not so hard on myself
because things aren't getting done as I would like.
I'm playing with my grandaughter and watching cartoons with my grandson.
And for today, I am going to say that that is enough.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

~ Ruth Hulbert Hamilton

Monday, October 21, 2013

Gone from church-Part 2

Not going to church on Sunday meant that I could sleep late.
I was thrilled.
Being a teenager and being able to chose not to go to church was empowering to me.
No more listening to the priest talk about the church needing more money as he preached to us in a tailored to fit Armani suit.
I kid you not.
Perfectly coiffed and sprayed hair. Just like that old Dallas football coach.
Him drinking that chalice of wine while his eyes rolled back in his head, wiping his mouth with that starchy cloth.
Only the priest got to drink the wine because he was holier than the rest of us.
Or so we were led to believe.
We were discouraged from reading the Bible.
We were told that only a priest could interpret the word of God.
They wanted us in the pews, dressed up, quiet and reverent.
Making it a sin to ask questions. Or eat a mint on the way to church.

I felt like I had made my escape from that prison of  religion.
As soon as I stopped going to church, I pretty much stopped believing.
Now somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew that I still believed in Jesus.
I believed when it was his birthday cuz that meant gifts for me.
I just didn't bother to give Him the time of day the rest of the year.
I mean what had He ever done for me??

In High School I saw those girls sitting at the corner table in the cafeteria.
We all knew who sat at the table. The Jesus Freaks.
I didn't want to talk to them or know them. 
Walked right by that table with a sideways glance and a smirk.
I felt sorry for those girls always sitting together and talking about Jesus.
They weren't the popular girls.
Course neither was I, but at least I wasn't a Jesus Freak!

I left off with that Jesus guy back in 8th grade. 
Who were these weirdos?? Why did they have to bring their Jesus to school?
We didn't have a SYATP event at our High School.
At least not back in 1980.
Back then it was just that cafeteria table that most of us avoided like the plague.

At the time I felt better than them. Smarter. More hip.
After all, I had boyfriends and they didn't.
I had clothes that were in style. I could tell that they did not.
I hung out with the middle crowd, went to parties, football games and prom.
What'd they do on the weekend? Retreats and youth groups and church?
And I laughed at them all behind their backs, being Jesus Freaks and all.
Of course not to their faces...I may be mean but I'm not a monster.
Or at least I wasn't a monster then.
Or rather I didn't think I was being a monster.
That didn't come until later.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Leaving Church-Part 1

I turned 51 in September.
Was born and raised Catholic.
As a teenager my mother gave me and my siblings the choice
to continue going to mass or dropping out of church altogether
after we had made our confirmation in 8th grade.
All 5 of us chose to leave the church.
Never to return...to the Catholic way of life...ever.
Out of the 5 of us, only 2 of us are regular church goers.
My sister and I are now Lutherans through marriage.
One sister goes to church with us on occasion and one sister passed away,
And our brother has defected from the entire family.
We've seen him twice in 30 years.
But I digress.....

What I remember most about going to church
was the Priests sermons about the church needing more money
or they were about us being guilty and sinful and unworthy.
The rest is a blank.
13 years of going to church   Every. Single. Sunday.
And all I ever felt was bad and sinful. And bored.

What I remember most about church was people watching.

There was the lady that wore the big hats. She sat in the front row.
We called her the Easter Bonnet Lady.
And she was always late for services.
She had a retarded adult son who acted up on occasion...
Church was a little more interesting when he would show up.

There was the lady whose son died in Vietnam.
She lit candles for him every Sunday.
They were situated on a small table up front, in the corner
in front of the Statue of the Virgin Mary.

I always wanted to light one for my Aunt who passed away when I was six,
but  mom never let me.
Found out later you had to pay to light one of those candles.
Go figure....the Catholic church even wanted your money to light remembrance candles.

I do remember some of the women's names probably because they rhymed:
Merle Berle and Shirley Hurley and Connie Ronney

I remember Mrs. McWilliams always looking so perfect.
Coiffed platinum blond beehive, fur coat, black pointy toe high heels
Her husband dark and swarthy with his hair slicked down and oily.
Their 4 young girls all quiet and somber; carbon copies of the mom
Except the oldest, who unfortunately looked just like the dad.

My Mama singing Let there be peace on Earth along with the congregation
and me embarrassed cuz she sang it too loud!

I didn't learn to love Jesus in the Catholic church.
And the Catholic church never told me that Jesus loved me.
Church for me as a child was all about guilt and sin and money.
Nobody ever looked happy leaving church.
The entire congregation was as somber leaving as they were upon arriving.
Reverent, hushed voices, heads bowed, no talking or laughing.
We got a baleful glare from our mom for fidgeting too much
after sitting on the hard wooden pew for what felt like hours.

We were not allowed to eat an hour before Mass.
One Sunday I found a mint in my pocket and ate it in the car
on the way to church. My mom had a fit.
"You better hope that an hour goes by before you take communion"
she yelled at me. I watched the clock that whole church service.
If I didn't take communion I knew that I would be damned.
I squeaked by with no minutes to spare!
Exactly one hour had passed since I had eaten the dreaded mint.
I was tied up in knots watching that clock.
What if I couldn't go up for holy communion??
My family would walk up the aisle to receive holy communion without me!
The whole congregation was going to be aware of my sin!
What was gonna happen to me?
Oh the shame of it!!
It scared the crap outta me.

I remember going to confession on Saturday nights.
You had to go to confession once a month if you wanted to
take communion on Sundays.

It felt like a dark broom closet.
Only with burgundy velvet curtains and a folding chair.
The Priest on the other side of the screen sounded to me like he was bored.
I would say "Bless me Father for I have sinned"
And the priest would say- "Go on...."
What's a sin to a child of 8, 9, even 10 years old??
I never felt like I had sinned. I felt like I had to make something up.
I used to tell the priest that I had fought with my brother and sisters,
That I had disobeyed my mother, and I had, probably.
But even at the young age of 8 or 9...I would wonder why that was a sin.
I mean a SIN!!
C'mon....We're talking sin here....What was so bad about what I had done?
I hadn't stolen anything, or killed anyone. I didn't even know what coveting meant.
What child needs to go to confession??

The priest would tell me to pray 3 Hail Mary's while holding my rosary.
"Go and sin no more, my child". Sin no more? Huh?
I'd kneel and look around at the other people kneeling in the dark church
on a Saturday night and I'd wonder how many Hail Mary's they'd have to pray.
Some people knelt there longer than others...They must've really sinned.

I remember going to Midnight mass on Christmas Eve.
It sort of felt holy because the sky was dark and I'd look for the star of wonder
in the night sky. The air was frosty and I remember being cold.
I also remember the year my little sister threw up in the pew.
Tissues started coming at us from all directions.
We were whisked away from the church before the service even started.
And I remember being happy cuz I was tired...it was midnight after all.

I remember going to Sunday school with the nuns.
I don't remember learning anything from them.
I was scared of them. When my mom dropped me off I cried.
Mom had told me stories of how the nuns had smacked a ruler
across her hands when she had misbehaved in school as a young girl.
The nuns that taught Sunday school were old,  and I'd sit there
and wonder if this was the nun who had hit my mom with a ruler.
I kept my hands hidden, just in case.

I left the church at the age of 14.
Because it meant nothing to me.
I was relieved that I didn't have to go back.
And I didn't... until 35 years had passed.

Not until the day I burst into flame....
When the Lord Himself called out to me.
Said He wanted to talk to me.
Said He wanted to save me.
That I could rest in His arms
That He knew I was tired
And He knew that I didn't want to cry anymore.
But I still did.

I cried for days.
I mean Jesus Christ had just spoken to me....
Who wouldn't be scared and crying???
I thought I was losing my mind.
Normal people don't go around hearing the voice of God.
Do they?


Monday, September 30, 2013

I am not alone

I'm lonely.
I miss female friendships.
My BFF works so much and I rarely get to see or talk to her.
I feel a loss, an ache, an emptiness that is hard to describe.

I don't have seasonal affective disorder.
Fall and Winter are the times that I usually come alive!
The cooler weather, changing leaves, heartier foods
The smells, the decor, the holidays; it energizes me.

I feel this loss in the area of friendship.
Companionship, a Kindred Soul friend of sorts.

So I sit here and wonder to myself...
Am I gonna just sit here and mope about this?
How does one go about procuring new friends?
Where does one find these new friends?

In the middle of a personal season of stillness and quiet
Where do you suppose I should look?
The song "What a friend we have in Jesus" just came to mind.
And while that is all true and good
That's not what I'm talking about here.

I want someone who I can talk to, who's available to listen
Someone who gets me....the way I think, the way I am.

The irony is not lost on me here that what I'm looking for
 is what I have every Tuesday night at my 12 step meeting.

But I want that and more.
I want a group of  friends that I can talk about Jesus with.
My sister and I go to a Bible study every Thursday.
We are the youngest 2 people in the room by 20 years.

Dare I call them older folk stodgy old poops? Yes. I do dare.
I can see that they are comfortable in their faith
They are comfortable in their faith without question.
They are comfortable not knowing the answers that I am seeking.
I think my questions make them uncomfortable.
I want more from a Bible study than what is rote.

I wanna talk and study and ask questions about Jesus.

I know that I am not alone in the asking of these questions.
I am not alone in the wanting to know the answers.
There are other women bloggers that also are asking questions.
And most of these women bloggers are finding answers.
Through their faith. Through their daily readings. Through Bible study.
Through reading each others blogs.
Through believing in themselves and each other.
Through their voices.
Through belief that who they are is enough.

That God loves them just as they are, without question, without fail.

And the same is true for me.

Loved, just the way I am, without question, without fail.

And I am not alone in wanting to ask questions of Jesus
And I am not alone in wanting the answers from Jesus

And it's ok to be alone with myself while I wait for these answers.

And to trust that I am not alone, not really.

I can hear the word patience being whispered to my soul.
As if God himself is telling me to have patience.
And maybe that's all this is....me being too impatient
Feeling like I've been set on fire...
Like I must have all the answers I need right now!

When being alone to think and ponder without distractions
Is the thing that is really gonna help me in the long run.

Quiet contemplation of Jesus and his teachings
Instead of burning down the church with my soul on fire.

Mmmmm...oh...see there? All of a sudden the pieces start to fit together.

"God’s putting together all the pieces of the puzzle and He’ll fill what’s still missing with His peace." ~Ann Voskamp

I'm not lonely or alone.
I'm in His presence and He is teaching me to wait on Him.
In his timing, not mine.
Patience, patience, patience.
Even if my soul seems to be on fire.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Sundays church sermon was amazingly good.
Pastor Eric talked about the Martha and Mary story.
How Martha was sooo busy being mad at Mary for not helping her
that she failed to realize that it was Jesus sitting at her table.
How does one forget that fact?
That JESUS, in the flesh, is actually sitting at your dinner table?!
Well, shit!
He's not in the flesh, but I do that all the time, don't I??
Forget that He's there.
I forget to say Grace, to act graceful or even grateful.
I forget to say Thank you for the food I'm about to eat,
I forget all the time that Jesus is the invisible guest
That He sits at our dinner table every single day.
And Oh, look! There's me, acting like a Martha...
All pissy or fuming or aggravated about something.
When I should be grateful and thankful or at the very least
not acting pissy with a house full of children and grandchildren all getting ready to sit down to eat Sunday super together.
And lookee there!! Reread that last sentence will ya?
Look what I have!
* A house- with a roof, walls, electricity, indoor plumbing, appliances, clothes, furniture
* 3 Grown children- Healthy, happy, employed, living close to us
* 2 grandchildren- and another one on the way
* Food- bought from a store, stored in a full pantry, or kept in a fridge, and cooked on the stove
* Sitting down to eat Sunday Supper together, as a family
* Sitting down
* Eating
* Family
* Supper- and breakfast and lunch and snacks and desserts
* Sunday-getting to worship as we like, at the church of our choice

Look at all those things that I have to be grateful for!!!
How dare I act pissy or aggravated!
Do I not know how grateful others would be to have what I have?
Do I always have to be so ungrateful, so ungraceful all the time?

I told my husband that I think Pastor Eric is an actual Apostle.
I can truly see Jesus shining out through his eyes.
The way that he delivers a sermon is amazing.
The way he can make me think about the way that I conduct myself in daily life.
How un-Jesus like we all really are- even when we think we are acting holy.

I want to find a sign like this to hang in my dining room.
Right above the table.
Right where I can see it.
Every single time I sit my ass down to eat I can look up
And be reminded to not only say grace but to feel grace.
To allow more grace and gratitude into my life
To remind me to give my family members more grace
To love them all with Gods grace.
To be grateful for it all.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Praying for perfect

The chatter in my head never seems to cease and yet I've noticed that I'm only posting once a month.
How's that possible I ask myself??

There is so much that I process through my brain on a daily basis it's hard to imagine NOT writing it down just to get it out of my head!
I need to more disciplined I tell myself.
I should write in a notebook all day...jotting down whatever thought crosses my mind.
I'd fill that sucker up in a day!
When it comes to blogging I feel like a slug.
It's so hard to get started then it becomes awkward and difficult to make the sentences make sense. Does that  make sense?!
I suppose I'd have a bigger problem if anybody was reading this, but Annette doesn't stop by anymore and I'm not sure why.
To me this is more like a PC diary.
I should be grateful that I am able to write whatever I want to without being concerned that someone might read it.
Oh sure, I'd love some feed back but the writing is so poor and my thoughts seem so scrambled that I think whoever reads this would be like-
"Um Sweetie? Don't quit your day job."
No worries there! My day job is babysitting for my grandkids! HA!
I tried posting every day for 31 days that one time in October of 2012.
That was the Blogging for 31 days of  (fill-in-the-blank) that I did with the Nester.
I chose 31 days of Prayer.
Ran outta things to pray about in the first ten days!!
Well for Heaven's sake!! If a body can't blog about praying everyday for 31 days what's got me thinking I have anything to contribute on a regular basis?
Praying is something that I think is supposed to come naturally.
Aren't we supposed to be praying every day anyway??
Well sure! in a perfect world!!
Most days I forget to pray AND to blog.
With this 50 year old brain of mine I've been forgetting a lot lately.
Like lunch dates with friends, going to coffee with my sister in law, returning phone calls, blogging!!
Feels like my short term memory has been wiped out..... The slates clean!
So I'm going to try and post more often.
We'll see how that goes.
This post alone has taken me an hour to process, correct my grammar and type!
But hey!! practice makes perfect, Yes?!
OK then I'll pray for perfec......NO!!! Good Lord! What am I saying??
Maybe I'll just try to blog when I can and pray when I remember to pray.
How's that ?? That ok?
That's perfect.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Saved and surprised

I bought this tote bag for $12.50 after reading Ann Voskamp's blog post.

There was a limited supply- only 1,000 available to be purchased.
They sold out in under 1 hour.
I was one of the lucky ones who persevered thru the excruciatingly slow and what ended up being a crashing web site to the cart and checkout.
So many others couldn't even access the site.
I was feeling very satisfied with myself for having the patience to try, try, and try again to get thru to the site domain and for supporting a great cause.
When I got it in the mail 3 days later I squealed!
My son wanted to know what I was so excited about so I showed him the tote bag. He rolled his eyes at me after reading what the bag had written on it-

God's always good and you are always loved 

And for a split second, he made me feel bad about myself.
Said something smart alecky about the women making the bags being moved from one form of slavery only to be put into another.
From Sex slavery to Sweat Shop laborer.
And I wondered for a split second if he was right.

It aggravated me that he had such a negative view.
It aggravated me that I felt like he was making fun of me.
It aggravated me that he rolled his eyes at the bag...
as if to say "Poor Mom...just doesn't get it".
And it aggravated me cuz it aggravated me!

We have different beliefs, my son and I, when it comes to God.
He used to be a believer, then he went to college.
Came home a different boy 2 years later.
Course I'm not the same person I was all them years ago either.
I didn't find God until I was 48. (Or rather He came looking for me is more like it)

Psalm 18:16
The Message (MSG)
16-19 But me he caught—reached all the way
    from sky to sea; he pulled me out
Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos,
    the void in which I was drowning.
They hit me when I was down,
    but God stuck by me.
He stood me up on a wide-open field;
    I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!

Love this Psalm. And it's so true for me at least.
I had no idea the depths I had sunk to.
No clue that I was seething with rage and self righteous behavior.
Bitter, judgemental, holier than thou.
Had no relationship with Him at all.

Oh sure, I went to church every year at Christmas.
Went again on Easter Sunday.
Took my kids to Sunday School.
But I detested going to church the rest of the year.
It was boring.
I had a million other things that I needed to get done.
The pastor talked about a God that I didn't want to know.
Fire and Brimstone type preaching sometimes.
I never came away from a sermon wanting more.

Until I heard His voice.
Until He called my name.
Until I had no where to go but into His arms.
Until He reached down and saved me...mostly from myself.
And, yes, I was surprised to say the least.
Cuz I didn't deserve it.

But that's what is so great about God.
That's why I loved this bag....

God's always good and you are always loved 

I didn't know that was possible.
I'd never before felt the love of God.
I wondered why God was so mean sometimes.
Why He caused bad things to happen to people.
Why he let bad things happen.
Wondered to myself why He was so vengeful and angry.

But when He saved me???
I learned that He wasn't an angry God out to punish me.
He's a compassionate God who was willing to save me.
From all of the damage that I had inflicted upon myself and those around me.
He was willing to forgive me for being so angry at Him.
He showed me that He was a loving God.
He showed me that He was good.
And He showed me that I was loved.

Two songs by Mandisa that I thought went well with today's post-

What if it's God speaking

He is with you


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Monday, Monday....

I am amazingly happy today and it feels so good!
It was a great weekend.
Friday night we went out to dinner with the in-laws.
Saturday we had husbands 50th birthday party.
Lynnie ought to be real proud of herself.
She  did a great job with the food, the planning....everything.
I don't know how to thank her for all she did.
With the exception of 14 people not showing who said that that they would,
the party came off without a hitch.
Great weather, low humidity, and no rain !!
Pontoon family boat ride on the river,
Eatin' under shady trees
A breeze coming off the river,
Reconnecting with old friends.....
We had a wonderful, wonderful time!
Lotsa memories and a stunning sunset to boot.

I shopped for groceries right after church
so the house is stocked with food.
Sunday afternoon we spent doing yard work and house work.
Laundry, dishes, mopping floors, mowing the lawn.
How does a house get sooo trashed when we weren't even home all weekend??
Felt good to get the cleaning done tho.
This morning the grand kids came early at 7:30 am
Grandson walked in with Grampa's party balloons tied to his "pack pack".
Grandaughter had been asleep when her Momma put her in the car seat
When she woke up at my house, her little face was all tired and sleepy
with little tiny purple bags under her eyes!
Why this is so cute and charming to me I don't know
Purple bags under my eyes never looked cute or charming! Ha!!
As I type this she is alternating between growling and giggling at her little stuffed lovie.
Grandson is eating "can-cakes" and cut up "aw sterries" and watching cartoons
This morning when I went out to water I saw two cardinals in the tree.
A male and a female. A couple maybe??
The rain barrel was full so I emptied it into my gardens.
Hopefully it will rain again later today and fill it back up.
The house is clean and cool and quiet even with the cartoons playing in the background.
I can feel the happy down in the pit of my stomach
Life, as I know it today, is great!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Losing my cool

I'm hot
I'm aggravated
Outside the heat index is 107
I need to water the plants
and as I spray the Hostas a large moth flies out and scares the crap outta me
(I think it's a bee at the time)
causing me to yank the hose
which gets caught on a branch
which makes the wet and dirty hose
drag across my clean shirt
leaving a trail of mud behind.
I get in the shower
drop the soap
nick myself shaving.
When I'm done I put on my terry cloth robe
which immediately causes me to start sweltering
even tho my husband has the AC set at 69!!
Digging through my drawers
looking for another cool summer shirt
I realize that I am digging through
that no longer fit me.
I discard shirt after shirt after shirt
useless, too tight, too short, too whatever
My hair is wet and aggravating the shit outta me
I don't like the way it is cut.
Wish that I could put it up in a pony tail.
Instead it clings to my face and neck
trying to strangle me
The dogs want to go out and they keep following me around
scratching at my feet or at door frames
reminding me that they want to go out.
I can feel them under my feet as I lurch from room to room
in that mother F-ing sweltering terry cloth robe
with a stinging cut on my leg
and hair sticking to my face and neck
too fat to wear last years Summer tank tops.
I just want to get dressed.
I go to sit down at my desk, light my candle
(which I like to think represents Gods light and presence)
and I find my son watching movies in the living room.
His allergies are acting up this morning
so all I hear is sneezing and coughing and nose blowing
and it feels like nails on a chalkboard to me.
I start reading my devotionals and my son starts to talk.
Telling me about the 2 movies he is watching simultaneously.
I move to my bedroom and find that the oscillating fan is squeaking
at a decibel only my dogs can hear...like a high pitched whine.
To turn it off would be akin to placing my bedroom in an oven
since the room faces the Sun,
so AC or no AC, the temp ramps up pretty quickly without air movement.
Leaving my squeaky, hot bedroom on my way to the kitchen, I step in a puddle of pee.
I haven't let the dogs out yet.
Guess I don't have to anymore.
Not their fault. They tried to tell me. Repeatedly.
In the kitchen, I think that I will make an iced coffee.
Cool myself down a bit.
Open the fridge. No ice.
Husband took both bags with him when he went fishing yesterday.
Defeated. Fail. Exasperated. What other words fit here?
Believe you me!!!  I am desperately trying to find the lesson in all of this.
Patience maybe??
Read devotionals and light my God's presence candle before I start my day?
Get a new lighter weight robe?
Lose 15 pounds?
Take the dogs out before I shower?
Jesus, if you're listening to this rant of mine I beg you to forgive me.
I know how truly blessed I am.
So here's my prayer-
Thank you for waking me up on this wonderful warm Summer day.
Thank you for the beautiful flowers that are thriving in my garden.
Thank you for my house and indoor showers and terry cloth robes.
Thank you for my dogs, and paper towels and large sized tank tops.
Thank you for my sneezing and coughing and nose blowing boy.
Thank you for the husband that took 2 whole bags of ice to go fishing.
Thank you for Iced Tea instead of Iced Coffee.
Thank you for letting me rant  and rave.
Thank you for loving me anyway.

This is perfect- click to read

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Keep your head up, keep your heart strong

I found these 2 questions on another blog:

How has loneliness been a part of your faith journey with Jesus?
When I started on this faith journey, I was feeling a million things.
I was mourning the loss of my sister,
We had just put our beloved dog to sleep,
I was feeling humiliated for being fired from my old job,
I was stressed because no one was hiring during this recession.
(When I finally did get hired it was by a woman who owned her own company
She ended up verbally abusing me; and telling the other workers that I was crazy. I was with her company for a year.)
But I wouldn't have ever said that I was lonely.
One day I was driving into work listening to a Christian radio station
when the female DJ asked the listening audience- 
Are you in a dark place in your life?
Are you lonely?
At a dead end job?
Are you in a bad relationship with nowhere to turn?
Are you looking for someone to save you?
Are you looking for a Savior?
Jesus can save you friend. Jesus loves you. He cares about you. 
Turn to Jesus.
I immediately started bawling right there in the car,
on the highway, on my way to work.
To me, it felt like it was Jesus saying these words to me
and not a female DJ with a southern accent.
I felt His presence. 
It felt like He was talking directly to ME!
And it made me feel crazy.
And I cried for days.
When I told my sister what had happened in the car
she said that hearing the voice of God usually does make people cry.
And that made me cry. Mostly because she believed me.
I started reading anything and everything I could get my hands on
that would keep me close to Jesus.
Spiritual books, prayer books, The Message Bible.
I joined a Bible study. Then another.
I started listening to Worship music.
I started looking for life quotes that I could put up as my status on Facebook
I started walking with my worship music in my ears
And that helped me to start seeing that God was everywhere!
In a blade of grass, in the leaves of trees, in red birds sitting in bushes
In flowers, in gardens, in clouds and rain, in sunrises and sunsets.

To answer the question at the beginning of this post-
This. This is where it got lonely.
I was reading the Bible by myself
I was listening to worship music by myself
I was walking by myself
I was seeing God in the birds and flowers and clouds by myself
The deeper and more profound the quote of the day that I posted on my Facebook page, the quieter it got in my life.
It was as if everybody knew that I was going thru something huge
Yet no one asked me about it.
And I didn't want to say anything to anyone either
lest they think I was crazier than I already felt.
Also, it just felt like this was something that I had to do on my own.
God was asking me to open my eyes, to become grateful, 
To see and appreciate the beauty that was all around me, 
To see the beauty that was in my life
He was teaching me how to worship Him
How to thank Him
How to not take anything or anyone for granted
How everything He does is either a lesson or a blessing.
For me, it wasn't a bad sort of loneliness.
I don't think that I could have shared this journey with anyone at the time.
It felt too personal. Too raw. Too emotional.
And question #2-
What are the words that Jesus is speaking into your soul today?
This question can best be summed up with the song below.
Love, love, love this song!
Because this is what it feels like now!
After 2 years, it feels like I am coming outta the darkness.
It feels like He is saying the exact same thing to me-
Keep your head up, keep your heart strong.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Where've I been?

I've been busy these last 4 weeks.
Really busy.
Redecorating the house...giving it a more Summery feel.
Pretty much just living life.

Being too busy to blog is a good thing.
It's also a sad thing.
Not really sad but what other word fits?
Certainly not bad.
Or horrible.
Or life altering.
Just sorta sad cuz I miss it sometimes.

Just means that I'm busy with the business of living.
And that's a great thing.

Here's another great thing....
Went to a Hillsong United concert with my sister last week.
Can you say  A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.!!!!!!
So, so good. Very cool laser show too.
I told my sister on the way home that my soul was completely full!
The arena was sold out! And packed to the rafters with Christians!
I've never seen anything like it in my life.
Soooo many people.... on a Tuesday night ....at a Christian concert.
The line to get in wrapped around the building twice!!
This video is from Sydney Australia. We were in Chicago.
The song is Oceans-

I love the line "Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders."
Something about the way she sings it really resonates within me.
Found a free download of those words in a curvy little script too.

Most of the time I forget to ask Him to lead me.
I charge headlong into my day, packed with things to do
Laundry, cleaning up after children, feeding children, changing diapers.
So at the end of the day I am worn out.
Again and again I forget to ask  "Spirit lead me"......
Allatime thinking that I can do everything on my own.
So I think I am gonna print out that free download.
Frame it and hang it in the living room.

Maybe that'll help me remember; if I see it everyday.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

On my knees.

How in the world did it become June already?
And where exactly does the time go?!
It was just Christmas!
Seems as if there was just snow on the ground.
And we all know how fast the Summers go by, don't we?

Been on my knees working in my garden for weeks.
Looks good.
Full of life and color.
Everything is so green and lush.
Grass, bushes, flowers, trees.
Isn't too hot or humid.
No mosquito's yet. And very few Bee's so far.

It's nice to sit in a comfy lawn chair on the new mulched patio
with a glass of wine or Iced Tea and just relax at the end of the day.

I like the fact that I have accomplished so much in the garden.
By dinner time I'm tired, but it's a good tired type of feeling.
My hands hurt tho. So do my knees. They could use a break.

Washing the dirt off of my hands
Stomping the muck off of my boots
Easing the kink outta my knees and back
Downing a coupla Advil for me poor joints.

It's all so worth it when I can stand back and admire the results.
Hopefully I can sit back and admire it now.
They say a gardener's work is never done.

I'm ok with that tho.
I don't like sitting around with nothing to do.
I feel too useless, like I'm not contributing to the family
or something. idk

Ha! When was the last time I sat all day?
Can't remember to tell the truth.
My days are full of watching the grandkids
and doing laundry, dishes, making meals
and working in my gardens.

So why then do I feel as if I don't contribute to the family?
What's got me thinking that what I do all day isn't enough?
And it isn't enough for whom? Me? Or him?
And WHY isn't it enough?
Because I don't make any money at it?
When did my self worth become equal to how much I earn?
If this is about money, when the Hell did that happen?

Is it because I stay at home?
Is that it?
Is that guilt then?
And who's guilt is it? Mine or his?
Should I feel guilty cuz he has to go to work and I don't?
Is he resentful of me cuz I am at home and he's not?
And if I'm guilty and he's resentful, when in the Hell did that happen?

I like gardening cuz it keeps me on my knees
And on my knees is a good place to find myself
Cuz then I am in the perfect position to pray.

I think I'm gonna go back out to my gardens
Drop to my knees and pray while I weed and water.

I pray dear Lord:
For him. For me. For us. 
For blue skies. For the perfect amount of rain. For flowers.
For birdsong. For Mosquito's and Bee's.
For Grandkids. For dishes and laundry.
For aching hands and knees.
For forgiveness and redemption.
For Peace. For me. For my soul.

I thank you Lord:
For him. For me. For us. 
For blue skies. For the perfect amount of rain. For flowers.
For birdsong. For Mosquito's and Bee's.
For Grandkids. For dishes and laundry.
For aching hands and knees.
For forgiveness and redemption.
For Peace. For me. For my soul.