Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Thank You for Each Moment


Thank You for Each Moment
Lord, thank you for each moment,
for the blue-sky moment,
the softening earth,
the refreshing wind,
the yellow bush,
for my full heart
and the joy rising in me.
Soften me
to receive whatever comes as a gift 
and to praise you in it.
Lord, thank you for each moment
for the twilight moment,
the pause,
the good tired,
for the quiet reflection,
the slowing down,
the mysterious sunset,
for the wisdom growing inside me.
Gentle me
to feel whatever comes as a gift
and to praise you in it.
Lord, thank you for each moment,
for the midnight moment,
the loneliness,
the fretful wondering,
for the watchful stars,
the long ache,
the sleepless wait,
and the hope straining in me.
Focus me
to see whatever comes as a gift
and to praise you in it.
Lord, thank you for each moment,
for the high-noon moment,
the job,
the necessary routine,
for the sweaty struggle,
the impulse to change,
and the courage gathering in me.
Ground me
to wrestle with whatever comes as a gift
and to praise you in it.
Lord, thank you for each moment,
for the shared moment,
the listening,
the unguarded word,
for the fragile openness,
the ready smile,
the accepted difference,
for my passionate heart
and the trust rooting in me.
Stretch me
to grow with whatever comes as a gift
and to praise you in it.
Thank you for each moment,
for the charged moment,
the confrontation,
for the hard decision,
the unexpected growing,
for my intense heart
and the truth expanding in me.
Free me
to be open to whatever comes as a gift
and to praise you in it.
Thank you for each moment,
for the holy moment,
the music,
the child’s eyes,
for the sunlight,
the touch,
the tears,
for the trembling pleasure,
the unutterable beauty,
for the life and love and heart in me aware,
and the wholeness spreading in me.
Touch me
through whatever comes as a gift
That I may be grateful
and praise you in it.

~from Guerrillas of Grace by Ted Loder

One of my favorites by Ted Loder. His poetry reads like the prayers that go through my own mind. But he's much better at writing them down than I am.
My prayers usually come out more like Anne Lamott's words-
Help Lord
Thanks Lord
Wow Lord

Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly

Monday, October 16, 2017

#Metoo x 4


I am a #Me too.
In case you don't know what that hashtag stands for, it is representative of women and girls who have been sexually harassed or attacked or raped sometime in their lives.

I was 9 the first time I was inappropriately touched sexually by my brother and two of the neighborhood boys.
They took turns. They thought it was great, and said as much out loud to each other. It went on for 4 years.
And I never told another living soul until I was an adult.
I had confided in my husband of course. But then I met this woman through our local elementary school, our daughters had become friends and so we became friendly; meeting for coffee and chatting on the  phone.
She confided to me that her brother had done horribly inappropriate sexual things to her as a child.
I told her my story and felt a kinship with her; here at last was a woman who would understand what I had gone through. But the very next day, she told her neighbor my story and her neighbor just happened to be my cousin, then my cousin told my aunt and then my cousin told my sisters and then my cousin called and told my mother. My mother called to confront me and said that they did not believe my story and felt I had gotten caught up in the hysteria of this other woman's story. One sister even went so far as to say that SHE had never been touched or approached by our brother so it couldn't possibly be true. She wondered aloud if perhaps a counselor had put the notion into my head or maybe that I had dreamt it and then thought that in my mind it must be true.
To say I was devastated is an understatement.
I learned to not trust other women after that. And I never trusted another person with that secret.
It was never spoken about or brought up again with my family.

I was 11 the second time it happened. This time, a camp counselor who took advantage of me during a game of blind folded nature walks. There were 20 of us playing a game where we were tied together and blind folded and were told to use our ears to listen for nature sounds and our noses to smell clues as to where we were and what we might be near.
Never in a million years would I have guessed that I would have also needed my eyesight to see who "it" was who had touched me in such a vulgar matter. Was it only me? I don't know. I was too afraid to tell and too afraid to ask.  To this day I have no clue who did it.
I was 11 years old, flat as a board with no curves to speak of and I was in sixth grade.

As a high school sophomore I guess you could classify what happened to me as a date rape but it wasn't mean or vicious. I had initially said yes to my boyfriend about going all the way, then I changed my mind at the last minute but he didn't acknowledge my change of heart.
Instead he said "Wait..I'm almost done" and I cried the whole way through it.
I remember thinking in my head  This is what Cosmopolitan writes about? This is sex? Where's the fireworks? Where's the warm fuzzy feeling? Where's the love? 
Is that all there is? That was it?!?
(Nobody told me that all of that would come in due time with a man who respected me and loved me and pledged his life to me.  Even then, it took about 5 years of marriage before sex got any good.)

When I was 18 and working at a local lumber company, one of the Contractors
(a married man with 4 kids) took a liking to me. He was older than my own father. He would tell me sexually explicit jokes or say sexually explicit things to me. At the company Christmas party he asked me to dance and not knowing how to get out of it, I said ok. He stuck his tongue in my ear and whispered that he wanted to see me later.
I was freaked out and grossed out.
I told him that I had plans later, that me and my friends were all meeting at another local bar.
Later that night he showed up at the bar where me and my friends were and tried to buy me a drink. He asked me to dance again, though this time I refused both the drink and the dance.
He suggested that we take off and go to his place. He offered to drive me home. He put his hands on my shoulders and started massaging them.
My best friends boyfriend finally told him to get lost and he left.
The next day at work, my manager called me into his office and asked me had this man been bothering me.
I hesitated. My eyes must have widened because my manager said..."It's ok. You don't have to lie. He won't be bothering you ever again."
And with that, Mr. Contractor man was transferred to another location.
I never knew who told, and frankly I didn't care. I was thrilled that he was gone.


So.
Why am I telling you guys this story?
Mostly because it's been in the news lately and so many women are posting #Metoo on their social media accounts.
It's surprising and shocking and sad.
It boggles the mind how many women there are who have been abused in some form or another.
So I figure if they are all going to share their stories maybe it was time for me to share mine and hopefully this is the right time and place to share it.
A place where I feel supported, where I have friends, a place that feels safe to me.

Anyway...that's all I've got.
Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly









Friday, October 13, 2017

Learning as I rise

Some days I feel like my light is flickering, like I am slowly fading out of existence. But every now and then another tiny flame, refusing to be snuffed out, echoes in response. Every now and then I feel like I am coming back to life.


 My sense of belonging began from the moment I placed my hand in God’s and said, I’ll go with youLead the way.


In the darkness, in the stuff you don't think you can survive, God sends angels
 in the form of human beings~ Hannah Brencher


"Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to LOVE. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could. ~"Louise Erdrich


I see my authentic self, and I love what I see. I see the magnificence of my presence. I see the perfection in me, and this breaks any doubt that anyone else ever put in my head.


Stay tuned friends.
I am on the rise.

Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Biding my time

I'm still here. Just biding my time. I feel better....finally. Anxiety is under control. Sleeping better too.
Medication is working even though I still keep trying to tell myself that I don't need it.
I've tried a few nights here and there without taking it only to find myself awake all night with nothing but my anxiety to keep me company.
I've started going to a Chiropractor twice  week. I aggravated my 55 year old back by mopping all of the floors in our house over the course of 1 day. Just about crippled myself.
It's been 4 weeks and I feel so much better, not just my back but I also have a lot more energy, and my hands aren't as numb. I simply feel better.
Also, my sister-in-law gave me some Essential Oils and a diffuser for my birthday. I've been using Purification and Lemongrass and Tangerine daily.
I just called her and asked her to bring over the other scents she has. Now I want to smell them all!

That's it for now. Just a quick note to let you know I'm still here.
I'm here and I feel like it's time to start burning off the chaff.
I feel my inner fire coming back.
And I'm so grateful. I've missed myself.
I've missed being here.
I miss you guys.

I'll be back,
Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly


Thursday, September 21, 2017

After all



My son and his girlfriend broke up on Sunday.
Well...SHE broke up with him. And he is pretty broke up about it.
This momma's heart is breaking for him too.
I feel helpless and sad and also I feel like I should be doing...something to ease his pain.
That's the codependent in me...wanting to fix broken things that I have no business fixing.
It's painful to see him so sad.
He and his cat had to move back home here with us.
And it's not that we don't or won't or can't welcome him.
We did, we will, we have.
But it's awfully hard to move back home with your parents when you are nearly 30 years old.
His/their condo was/is spacious and newer and clean and quiet, and decorated like two thirty year old adults lived there that didn't have any kids, with a heated garage and an association that did all snow plowing and lawn care.
They had pets too, her 15 year old cat and a dog named Ralphie who started out being her dog, but after living together for 11 months, the dog became his too.
That is one of the hardest things for him...missing Ralphie.
My son is pretty miserable, more in shock than anything else really.
There were no signs he said. Said she hit him in his blind spot.
He never saw it coming.
She pulled the old It's not you, it's me routine.
We moved him out Monday night, taking everything he owned including his cat sans the litter box. She got to keep the litter box.
After all is said and done, their relationship ends with an agreement about a litter box.
Why this makes me want to cry I cannot say.

The next morning I went out and purchased a new litter box and litter for our new tenant Jackson.
It's been super hot here lately. Hot and humid. My favorite kind of weather.(sarcasm)
Walking into the pet store, I see a man in a heavy, striped T-shirt and jeans sitting on the sidewalk, his back up against the building. At his feet is a white dog with lots of fur, panting in this heat.
There is also a sign made up of cardboard and markers by his feet which says-
Desperate for money. Really need the help. Any amount is appreciated.
As I walk past him and his dog he waves at me.
"Gonna be a hot one he says."
Yes, I murmured and kept walking.
Once in the store I spend $45.00 on pet supplies.
New litter, new litter box, a few cans of cat food, and some enzyme spray that I use for mopping up after our Chihuahua.
He's still sitting there, him and his dog, in this heat when I come out.
While loading my stuff into the car I decide on a whim to give $5.00 to this man.
I walk back to where he is sitting by the side of the building and hand it to him.
"Here ya go. Go get yourself something to eat in someplace that is air conditioned".
He says "Thank you, wanna pet my dog?"
Uh, no.
"No thanks", I say. And I turn my back and walk away.
I feel like I did a good deed. I hope he buys a water for himself and his dog.
I hope he goes into the pizza place around the corner and gets himself a slice and an icy cold coke and eats lunch in the A/C.
I went in to the Dollar store located right next to the pet store for a few minutes.
As I'm leaving, I see Mr. Desperate for Money and his dog get up and walk away.
And I see that Mr. Desperate for Money has a lit cigarette in his mouth.
Do ya'll know what a pack of cigarettes costs???
Around these parts it's almost $7.00 a pack.
I am instantly pissed. For real?? This guy can afford cigarettes??
He is desperate for money? He really needs the help? Any amount is appreciated?
I stand there staring after him wondering if I've just been swindled.
Not really. But still. I am a little miffed to be honest.
I guess a body doesn't get to dictate what someone else buys with donated cash.
But it feels sorta sour now. I don't have that feel good thing going on anymore.
Was my generosity conditional? Maybe.
I will say that next time I see someone with a sign I might not trust their intent.
And that really isn't fair. At least to that next person.
So I'm thinking that I'm just going to let it go.
Gonna bless that man and move on with my day.
After all is said and done I did have the extra $5.00 to give away.
And it certainly won't ever be the last $5.00 I'll ever have.
And maybe, just maybe, it wasn't the man I was helping. Maybe it was the dog.
A change in my perspective can change my day.

Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fishing for answers


Image result for many men go fishing all of their lives

I find myself staring off into space when I should be doing something else.
I blame this on the Klonopin. It's got a side effect of tiredness and confusion.
I don't like taking that pill. Wish I didn't need to take it to fall asleep.
Some nights it works others not so much.
Twice now I have found myself wide ass awake at 1:00am and have tossed and turned until 3:00am.
Other times I am awakened at 4:00am  and never do fall back to sleep.
Sometimes at 1:00am when I'm awake, I will lay there real quiet and take slow deep breaths.
Four seconds on the inhale and eight seconds on the exhale. It sorta helps.
My husband says maybe I need to up the dose.
What??   Is he crazy?  Up the dose?  No way.

What I want are answers. Still.
I want to know why I feel so much anxiety.
I want to know why I can't fall into a deep and restful sleep and remain that way until morning.
I want to know why I wake up at 1:00am feeling scared out of my mind.

The pat answer that others keep giving me-"Some people just have anxiety"
rings untrue in my head.
I know that others suffer from anxiety. I know that I now have anxiety.
But I didn't used to.
And I want to know why.
Why is it so hard to find an answer to my question of WHY?

I find myself staring off into space, not really thinking about anything.
It's like all of a sudden I come to and realize I've been sitting here doing nothing.
I feel tired all of the time. My head aches all the time. I feel grouchy.
I also feel some form of shame for complaining about my insomnia, for taking the Klonopin  and for the symptoms of the side effects.
There is a stigma attached to taking benzodiazepines.
"You're more prone to addiction if you take Klonopin."
"Pretty soon you're going to be dependent on them."
"Can't you just NOT take them?"
"Sit in a Lavender Epsom Salt bath for 20 minutes instead."
"Why don't you drink a glass or two of wine instead?"

Let me tell you this...
I would LOVE to have a glass or two of wine. I miss being able to have a glass of wine while cooking dinner or at the end of the day while watching the sunset, or when we're out to dinner for date night.
I actually miss it very much.
But I am not about to mix alcohol with Klonopin.


At church this past Sunday, our pastors sermon was on mental health.
(Did it feel like he was looking directly at me while he spoke?...yes)
One of the questions he asked the congregation was this-
"What is your bait?"
Meaning what is it that takes you away from Jesus and prayer and serenity and peace.
What is it that grabs you and pulls you under and doesn't let go?
What is it that the devil is using to personally bait you into excessive worrying or paralyzing anxiety or over-eating or over-spending?

I know the answer is fear because that is what it feels like but fear of what?

The pastor tells us to feed our minds constantly with the truth, to think about Jesus.
He says to free our minds from destructive thoughts and not to believe everything you think, because the mind is the battleground for sin.
Well now.
Listen, I don't believe that my anxiety is sin induced.
I don't know where it's coming from but I'm pretty sure it's not onaccounta
any sin.

A few days ago I read this in my Jesus Calling Devotional-
Jesus Calling – September 12th
Receive My Peace. It is My continual gift to you. The best way to receive this gift is to sit quietly in My Presence, trusting Me in every area of your life. Quietness and trust accomplish far more than you can imagine: not only in you, but also on earth and in heaven. When you trust Me in a given area, you release that problem or person into My care.
Spending time alone with Me can be a difficult discipline, because it goes against the activity addiction of this age. You may appear to be doing nothing, but actually you are participating in battles going on within spiritual realms. You are waging war—not with the weapons of the world, but with heavenly weapons, which have divine power to demolish strongholds. Living close to Me is a sure defense against evil.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
—John 14:27
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”
—Isaiah 30:15
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
—2 Corinthians 10:4 

Today I read an entry from my Mark Nepo Devotional entitled  The Book of Awakening-


Simple as a Fish
"I've been a fish in search of bottom when I've
surfaced, in search of surface when I've bottomed, and the ribbon of God's sea passing through my gills is what I've felt and thought and spoken."
  1. A simple fish nosing its way along the bottom is in itself a profound teacher, and like the deepest teachers, it doesn't even know it is teaching. Yet in its tiny, efficient gill lives the mystery of how to live as a spirit on Earth.
  2. As we all know, by swimming, the smallest fish takes in water, and its gill turns that water into the air by which it lives. Though there are biological details that explain the mechanics of this, it is, in essence, a mystery.
  3. The question is, What in us is our gill? Our heart, our mind, our spirit, a mix of all three? Whatever it is, like the smallest fish, we must turn water into air in order to live, which for us means turning our experience into something that can sustain us. It means turning pain into wonder, heartache into joy.
  4. Nothing else matters, and just like fish we must keep swimming to stay alive. We must keep swimming through the days. We cannot stop the flow of experience or the need to take it in. Rather, all our efforts must go into learning the secret of the gill, the secret of transforming what we go through into air.
  5. So, what is your gill? For me, it is my heart, and love becomes the unseeable trail I leave behind. But whatever it might be for you, it is more important to swim through the days and honor the gill inside you than to figure out how it all works.
  • Sit quietly and breathe slowly.
  • As you breathe, notice how turning air into breath is what keeps you alive.
  • Keep breathing slowly, and as you breathe, open your heart to the mystery of turning experience into feeling and pain into wonder.
  • Inhale deeply, and let the gill inside you work.


So.
What is your bait? What is your gill? What is mine?
I like Mark's words-
"Keep breathing slowly, and as you breathe, open your heart to the mystery of turning experience into feeling and pain into wonder."

Like those fish I am going to use my gills and breathe and just keep swimming to stay alive.
Does it matter if I am being baited or if I am at the surface or at the bottom?
No. I don't need to figure out how it all works. I just need to keep swimming.

Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Miracles

This is an unusually long post. I'd appreciate it if you'd read it to the end.


What constitutes a miracle in your world?

How about fruit seeds, when planted in the dark soil and given water & sunlight, will grow into fruit trees that produce fruit that produces more fruit seed, that you can plant to grow more fruit?

Or flowers that are beautiful and smell great only because of the endless work of the bees and pollination?
Or nuts that grow on trees that produce nuts that we snack on?

Or how about conception? That one time you weren't pissed at him or too damn tired from working all day long and you said yes, just that one time, and the odds that you were ovulating at just that time, and then all the necessary things that had to happen next and then the whole shit and shebang had to "cook" for 9 months and finally you delivered a squalling baby outta your fancy business and it made you tired and grateful at the same time for the next 20  years?
Is that a miracle?

Or was the miracle that you let that screaming beautiful thing that was your newborn child, live past the age of three or four or sixteen or eighteen and when away at college they only called home for money?
That horrible little gutter snipe that wiped their nose on your pant leg and threw up in your bed, and refused to eat or drink anything but hot dogs, cut up into the size of nickels and then quartered, you know so they didn't choke, and drink green Kool-aid?
I think the miracle there is that they lived after drinking all of that awful tasting Kool-aid! Why'd I give that stuff to them ??
I don't know... we were poorer back then and Hey! at least it had vitamin C in it.
(The Kool-aid had vitamin C in it, not the hot dog. Nobody knows what's in a hot dog.)

What about the four seasons?  Winter * Spring *  Summer * Fall
Isn't it a miracle that God made each one necessary and connected to the other? In order for the next season to come about, the previous season has to go through a dying out process and then a new season is born? And the brand new season is always so bright and beautiful and brings us so much happiness and joy, so much to look forward to!  New clothes and new foods and new activities.
Until that season starts to fade and then we get all jazzed up waiting for the next one to come along. Aren't there miracles in seeing the seasons change? The smells, the colors, the change of daylight and darkness?

Works the same for us humans, yes?
When life starts to change as we get older, our seasons of self can become something we dread or something we look forward to.
When life is sad or scary or stressful, maybe it helps to find some way to let your old self pass away, so to speak, and find a new you or a newer version of you.

These past six months have been hard for me.
I've developed a panic/anxiety disorder that is rendering me sort of useless.
It started in March with my very first ever colonoscopy, which was normal.
Then it was doctor appointment after doctor appointment after doctor appointment.
First up my yearly physical, which was normal, blood work, EKG, exam..all normal.
Then a 2-D Echo at the local hospital which was normal.(my last one was in 1987)
Then on to the Dermatologist for a full body scan, which was normal.
Then the ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) where it was discovered that I had hearing loss in my right ear.
Then back to my regular doctor for a sore throat and achy ears and a pounding heart.
She poo-pooed my symptoms (damn her hide) and I waited in misery with awful symptoms  for 4 more weeks only to go back to her office again, but this time to see her physicians assistant,  (my ENT was booked for 2 solid months)
who by the way, fixed me in a matter of 20 minutes  SIMPLY BY LISTENING TO ME!!
Now I won't say that this PA talked me into taking the anxiety medication, but she did tell me what it would do, and that was that it would help me sleep.
Once I started sleeping better, I started feeling better.
But I also noticed that besides helping me stay asleep at night, the anxiety medication was taking the edge off of my constant worrying throughout the day.
I felt less stressed, less...what's the word here... trip wired?? less likely to go off about something?
I found I wasn't grinding my teeth as much or holding my breath or wringing my hands.
The sky didn't appear to be falling so much. I stopped worrying about some of the little stuff.

I gotta tell ya it's the damnedest thing this anxiety. It has really thrown me for a loop. It has changed the way I view myself and my life and others.

August 15th I had a mammogram done. It was not normal.
They called and said I needed to schedule additional views with a possible ultra-sound to follow.
I was nervous only for a few minutes after speaking to the nurse, then I made the appointment and told my husband that I wasn't going to worry about it. I didn't want to dwell on the appointment looming on the horizon ten days from now.

I told no one but my husband. Not my sisters, not my grown kids, not my mother, not my best friend.
I think I might have mentioned it on here, I'll have to check ;)

Truly I just didn't want to think about it. I didn't want people calling and asking me questions.
I didn't want to be reminded about it. I didn't want to be spooked about it.
So the day before my appointment, I realize that I'm going to need a sitter for my 4 year old granddaughter; my grandson would be in school.
I called my daughter, told her and she said she would come over and watch Fiona.

Once at the mammography office, I'm given that warmed shawl/hospital gown/type thing.
I'd like to ask them for a cold one. I certainly do not need a heated hospital gown at my age.
I get the additional views done and the tech says "I'll be right back".
Ten minutes later she comes back and says "Yeah, um, we're gonna need to do the ultra-sound".
She brings me down the hallway to a room she calls the "Library".
Please wait here, she says.
It is dimly lit. There are comfy over stuffed chairs in a mauve color, pink walls, a box of tissue on the table.
There are positive, upbeat signs placed strategically around the room like....
LIVE NOW!
DREAM BIG!
YOU ONLY GET THIS ONE LIFE.
They all piss me off at that moment.
I grab a tissue off the table cuz now I do want to cry.  Now I'm nervous.
It's the last tissue in the box and I think to myself Great! Now I can't even bawl cuz there aren't anymore tissues in this room!
I decided to do some deep breathing to calm me down and in between breaths I whispered the word YAHWEH to myself.
Ten minutes later when they come to get me, I must have whispered that word about 20 times.

The ultra-sound room is also dark and calm and again I am asked if I would like a warm blanket.
Good Lord NO! I replied. I am 54 years old. I do not need another warm anything right now.
(Is it just me, ladies?? Am I the only one who is still able to melt what's left of the polar ice caps simply by raising my arms?)
She says "Let's begin" and her words feels ominous to me.
She applies warm gel..... and starts with the wand, sliding it back and forth.
Back and forth. Back and forth.
20 minutes of back and forth with the occasional loop of all the way around my right breast.
I hear her clicking the machine, taking notes??, freezing the frame and slowing down to click the machine for what I guess is a picture.
In my mind I am still whispering YAHWEH, I am trying to feel His hand in mine but I don't and I am still deep breathing, slowly and calmly.
I feel myself jolt awake while at the same time the tech asks "Are you ok? Need to change position's? I felt you flinch."
No, I tell her. I just fell asleep. That was me jerking in my sleep.
She mentions that this is a first for her, me falling asleep.
She says most other women do not fall asleep during this test.
I apologize cuz I'm awkward like that and don't know what else to say.
She says  "Let me go show this to the radiologist. I'll be right back."
And I go back to searching for Jesus' hand in mine. Why can't I feel Him here with me?
With nothing to do but wait, I look around the room I'm in for the first time.
And on the wall to my left is a painting of a Lighthouse, with the light shining bright for all to see.
The lyrics to the song My Lighthouse by Rend Collective start running thru my head-

In my wrestling and in my doubts
In my failures You won't walk out
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea
In the silence, You won't let go
In the questions, Your truth will hold
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea
My lighthouse, my lighthouse
Shining in the darkness. I will follow You
My lighthouse, my lighthouse
I will trust the promise
You will carry me safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore
I won't fear what tomorrow brings
With each morning I'll rise and sing
My God's love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are

The tech comes back and brings the radiologist with her and my heart plummets to the floor.
Hi, I'm Dr. Guido he says. Let's have a look see here.
The two of them, the Dr. and the tech both start looking at the machine, while the Dr. himself  wields the wand.
At a certain point in their search, at the exact same moment they both say "THERE! Right there!"
I hear them concurring, talking, advising each other-
Yep, Uh-huh, Ok, Can you get me back to that exact location? There. Stop right there. There, see??

"You see that little black C shape on the screen he asks me?"  No.
 "Do you see that dark area there and the way that it is being fed by a little supply of blood?"  No.
"What we have here is a benign little lymph node. It lives way in the back near your chest wall. That's where they like to hang out.
All is well. We will see you in a year."
Dr. Guido shakes my hand, tells me to have a good day, and tells me I am free to go.
I thank everybody I see on my way out the door of the clinic and text my husband and daughter the news from my car before I even start driving.

I don't start crying until I am already driving and 5 blocks away from home.
I am so flooded with relief that I cannot stop crying. I am beyond relieved.
I don't have a word for how I feel. Euphoric maybe? Happy at the very least.
I'm wiping my tears so I don't walk in the house looking like I've just cried all the way home.
At a stop sign I turn on the radio and a song comes on.
I'd like to be able to tell you that it was My Lighthouse by Rend Collective but it wasn't.
It was The Revelation Song by Phillips, Craig and Dean.

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Holy, holy is Thee
Sing a new song to Him who sits on
Heaven's mercy seat
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Holy, holy is He
Sing a new song to Him who sits on
Heaven's mercy seat
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything and I will adore You
Clothed in rainbows of living color
Flashes of lighting rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor strength and glory and power be
To You the only one who's King
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything and I will adore You
Filled with wonder awestruck wonder
At the mention of Your name
Jesus Your name is power, breath and living water
Such a marvelous mystery
Oh, You're worthy, mystery
You are worthy
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty
Who was and is and is to come
With all creation I sing praise to the King of kings
You are my everything and I will adore You, I will adore You


Today I feel as if I received a miracle. Whether it was the doctor, or the test results or that picture of a lighthouse hanging on the wall as a reminder,
I feel like HE gifted me with something.
HE may not have held my hand but HE was there with me.
I just didn't know it until afterwards when I started crying.
Whenever Jesus is near me I always cry, I just do. That's how I know HE's close by.

Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom of this post.
I'm going to go find something wonderful to do today.
I don't know what just yet, but I'll find something.
I am thankful and grateful and filled with awestruck wonder today friends,

Love, Lolly




Friday, August 25, 2017

Ohhh. You meant THAT kind of sorrow.



*Not getting the chance to say good-bye to my sister before she died. Not being able to talk to her anymore.  Lord, but I miss the sound of her voice.

*Missing my dad and remembering how awful the end of his life was and how my moms grief and panic made it so much worse on everyone.
She was particularly vicious and vindictive to me.
My two sisters and I could not for the life of us figure out why. She even went so far as to tell a family member (my absentee brother) to call the hospital security staff to have me removed from my dads hospital room as he lay dying. She had accused me of making fun of him and I told her to stop saying that.
How much I'd love to be able to talk to that calm, and caring man today.

*Never knowing the sound of my daughters voice or the color of her eyes or seeing her first tooth come in or watching her take her first steps or running through the yard and laughing while daddy chased and tickled her.

*The 28 years of hard drinking that wrecked the both of us. We were both so damn mean to each other. I'd love to go back and start again. But we don't get that chance, do we?
Yeah yeah, I know Alanon gives us some semblance of repair. But I want to know what him and I would be like if none of that damage had ever happened.

*My brother walking away from the family 34 years ago and never coming back. Except for the funerals of my sister and my dad. Fat lot of good that did anybody. Why only then??

*The horrific gift of animal euthanasia. And the hole in my life and heart that each of those beautiful souls have left behind.
Mojo, Fluffy, Baby, Junior, and Pup-pup.

*Syria and the choices the people on the round have had to make in order to survive. Where is God in this?

Where was God in ANY of this??

I lay and have laid all of this at the feet of Jesus. I've relinquished my pain and my anger and my dashed hopes.
We all have only done what we were capable of doing at the time.
I offer grace and forgiveness to my family, my friends, my husband.
But mostly I offer it up to myself.
Jesus doesn't want me to live a sorrow filled life.
And when you really think about it, most of those things on my sorrowful list are about death and dying, and what exactly is death and dying??
Isn't it really just moving from one place to another? Isn't it about going to our true home?
 It's about going home to live with Jesus. And again I ask, how can that be sorrow filled?
So I will take each day as at comes. Forgiving when necessary.
Loving others as I can.
Offering up peace, hope, grace and mercy to everyone I see.
Especially to myself.

Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly

Thursday, August 24, 2017

What sorrow?

What sorrow can I cast on Him?


I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
Hank Williams

Hear that lonesome whippoorwill
He sounds too blue to fly
That means he's lost the will to live
I'm so lonesome I could cry
Did you ever see a night so slow
As time goes draggin' by
The moon just went behind the clouds
To hide its face and cry
The silence of a falling star
Lights up a purple sky
And as I wonder where you are
I'm so lonesome I could cry


I'm lonely. I haven't lost the will to live, but I am lonely.
I'm lonely for girlfriends. I'm lonely for neighbors over the back fence, chatting as we rake our leaves or needing a cup of sugar, or hey do you have an onion I can borrow?
I'm lonely for couples friends.
We have seating for 16 on our back patio and the only thing occupying any of those seats are Squirrels, birds and spiders.
I'd like to be friends with some of the mothers at my grandsons school for play dates and all that rot.
When school ended last May, I gave out my name, address and cell phone # to two of the mothers that would stand near me in the pick up line after school. Both of their boys had been in my grandsons class. I approached them and said that I would love to get the boys together over the Summer. I offered to meet with them at the school playground to give the boys a chance to play.
They did not offer me their addresses or phone numbers but still I was hopeful that they would call, since they had my number.

We (I) waited all Summer for the phone to ring. It didn't. The grand kids and I took a long walk around the neighborhood several times, trying to spot where some of the kids might live.
Now, mind you, I didn't do this in a creeping stalker kind of way.
I (we) simply walked the neighborhood looking at the houses and yards whilst listening for the sound of children laughing or splashing or playing ball or even talking. We heard nothing.
It was as if our entire neighborhood had turned into an old folks community.
Where were all the people? Where were all the kids? Why was there no noise?
We saw no bike riders, no kids splashing each other with the hose, nobody drawing chalk on the driveway, no hide-n-seekers, nobody running to meet the ice cream truck. No little kids in blow-up pools or hopping scotch or roller skating or skate boarding.
The houses were all quiet and the gardens were all well tended.
But there wasn't a shred of evidence that any children lived in these neighborhoods.
Where is everybody? What are they doing? Why do I not hear or see a soul?

I started to entertain the idea that perhaps our community had decided to hire someone like the Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
I waited to hear an elder yell at me from a shuttered window-
"Fraulein! Schnell schnell bitte, hide zee kinder"!

So we remained by ourselves all Summer. We went to the beach and the water park, the dollar store, McDonald's, the local ice cream shop, my daughters house to play with their cousins and marvel at her Koi pond, went boating with Uncle Matt, fishing with grandpa, swimming in my sisters pool. They were taken tent camping and to carnivals and to fireworks. I signed them up for the Summer Reading Club at our local library. We went to our local Nature Center and saw Butterfly's, and a live working beehive, frogs and Humming Birds, Hawks and Chipmunks and painted turtles.
It rained a ton in the beginning of Summer so we stayed inside and played board games, read books and played with dolls and played restaurant with the play food, made Matchbox race track courses and built ginormous train tracks for Thomas and his friends.
When the mosquito's grew to the size of pterodactyls, we again stayed in and turned on Netflix.
I made them picnic lunches and they ate with their eyes glued to the TV screen watching Moana, Finding Dory, and The Secret Life of Pets.
Summer break seemed to go by in a flash. It always does, doesn't it?
School started up again yesterday.

Today Fiona and I rode our bikes to get Patrick at the end of the school day.
And there they were...these two women, standing together again in the pick up line at school, waiting to get their boys.
One smiled at me and said "Hi, how was your Summer?" The other one ignored me.
She. Ignored. Me.    On purpose.
How do I know that? Please. We all know when it's being done on purpose.
We just do.

I wanted to feel sorry for myself. I tried. I initially wanted to be friendly with these women so the boys could play together but also so I could find some friends that I could do things with.
I find myself in a strange position of being the Nanny Granny and I feel my age keeps me from fitting in. I'm not a young, hip, cute mom, and I'm not the age of a high school babysitter either.
I find myself in lonely territory. It feels like a no-mans land. Nothing in common with the young moms. But still too young for the geriatric generation that likes to get the early bird special at 4:30 and be home before dark.

But as I was typing this post I re-saw all of the activities me and these two grandchildren of mine had done all Summer and it made me realize that we had had a pretty darn good time this Summer.
The only activity we missed was playing at that school playground.
So how can I feel sorrow over that?

Jesus shows up in so many different ways in my life.
I see his fingerprints all over these Summer activities I did with my grand kids.
Thank You for that Jesus, Thanks for everything.



This song!! I love it! Just goes to show that it is always about perspective. And gratitude.

Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly



Tuesday, August 22, 2017

What prayers can I pray?

This is the next question from my list-

What prayers can I pray?

Yesterday I prayed that the whole damn world didn't go crazy watching the Eclipse.
Up here at the top of Illinois it was cloudy. Nothing much happened in our sky.
I had a pair of NASA approved glasses and when I put them on to look at the barely visible Sun all I saw was a small blurry orange ball in the sky.
There was no day turning to night, there was no black hole sun, no large looming and moving shadows, no screaming...
(Well, ok there was a little bit of screaming yesterday- the grandkids were here)
I have to say that I was disappointed. I wanted to see and feel that weird negative-like,  silvery feeling everybody was experiencing.
I wanted to scream in glory at what I was witnessing.
(Wait. I think I did that. I did tell ya that the grandkids were here yesterday,
didn't I?) lol
Already I am sick of looking at everybody else's solar eclipse pictures but honestly I think that's just jealousy talking.
So, Yay! I pray you all had a good time watching that miracle.

Ahem.

Somehow I threw my back out. On Saturday I cleaned the house.
Mopping floors, vacuuming rugs and carpets, changing sheets, 4 loads of laundry, the bathroom, the kitchen.
By that afternoon I was walking slow but it just felt strained and sore.
I never felt a pop or a pull. Never felt a defining moment that I had injured myself.
But on Sunday I had to leave church half way through. I couldn't stand the pain of sitting anymore.
I took it easy the rest of Sunday (kinda like you're supposed to!) and took Advil and napped.
Yesterday it felt a little better.
In the morning I took the grandkids out to our tomato patch to collect more tomatoes.
As I bent over to grab a few that were close to the ground I felt a zing.
Not a zing... a ZING.
I could barely stand back up. It took me a second to catch my breath and get my bearings and then the grandkids and I headed back into the house.
I put my husbands TENS unit on, took 3 Advil, laid on the couch with my knees elevated and told the grandkids to read books or watch a movie or play trains.
Two hours later I felt pretty good again.
I had a haircut appointment at 11:30 so I told these two to start picking up the toys.
When I bent over to pick up a box of toy trains (that my grandson can lift!!) it zinged again.
Only this time the zing made me drop that box of trains and it dropped me to my knees.
Granny said a lot of bad words right then I can tell you. A lot.
The pain was excruciating for a few seconds. Once I could stand I found I needed to walk a bit slower than normal.
Didn't stop me from driving to get my hair cut although it hurt like hell getting in and out of the car.
Hair cut is cute. She did a good job.
After we got home I laid back down and babied my back for the rest of the day.
I only hobbled outside that one time to look at that blurry orange solar eclipse.
Ice isn't helping but the TENS unit does as does Advil and taking it easy and not moving too much.
Today I am praying for the pain to not be as intense and I am praying for relief of my symptoms.

Last week I had my mammogram done.
They called 6 hours later and told me that they see something unusual and I need additional views and need to have an Ultrasound scheduled. I have an appointment for August 31.
Surprisingly that news did not send me over the edge. And I don't know why.
I worry about everything else under the Sun but I am not worried about this.
Still...I will be saying my prayers of protection and healing anyway.

My mother-in-law (who I detest) got stung by a bee and had a severe throat closing reaction.
I prayed for God to ease her pain and give her comfort.
That's it.
Dusted off my hands and moved on with my day.
God understands the history we have with each other.

And last but not least, I pray for DJT to be removed from office.
In any way possible.
And I know that might make you think of me as a horrible person.
And maybe I am.
But the fear he instills in this country, in the world, the fear he instills in me needs to be dealt with.

Don't hate me for that.
Pray for me instead.

Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly







Wednesday, August 9, 2017

What Grace can I share?

I've been sick with an upper respiratory illness since July 6th.
And panic stricken with anxiety for a while before that.
My blood pressure has also been on the rise.
I'm sleep deprived from waking in terror, at God knows what, 
at 3:00am every night.
I'm short tempered... more so than usual, due to that deprivation.
The grand kids, the lord bless them, have felt it more than anyone.

I don't like being sick. It worries me. Why am I always sick? Am I always sick?
Am I being overly dramatic and simply being a hypochondriac?
I post a lot about feeling unwell on this blog.
Write what you live...Live what you write...is this true?
What about this one ...What you think about is what you live with?
Or What your thoughts dwell on is what you will experience in your life?
Am I causing my own misery?

Here's the thing-
I don't like appearing weak. Or needy. Or depressed. 
Or dumb or stupid or lazy or wrong.
Or having anxiety.
I have had issues with anxiety most of my married life. 
I would like to place some of the blame for that on him.
We lived a volatile existence for nearly 28 years, him and I.
Too much alcohol and not enough talking or praying or trusting from either of us.
I did the best I could with what I had to work with at the time.
I will say the same goes for him.

But he got well...ahem..."We" got well, and my anxiety has remained.
I just worry about different things now.
Grand kids becoming ill or dying. Car accidents or maybe a relative getting murdered. Tornado's or house fires or dropping dead from a heart attack. 

What is this madness???

Friday at my doctor appointment I was offered an olive branch by the Nurse Practitioner.

I told ya'll about feeling dismissed by my doctor a couple of weeks ago.
How she only wanted to prescribe me anti-anxiety meds...how she said that some people just have anxiety, and how I didn't really agree with her statement. 
I wanted a diagnosis; a reason FOR the anxiety.
Plus, I was too afraid to tell her that I am afraid of anxiety meds.
How's that for a statement?? I have anxiety over anxiety medication.

Anyway the Nurse Practitioner sat with me and listened to me. 
I told her about the rushing sound in my ears. I told her that the sound of my own heartbeat in my ears is starting to drive me mad...like the story of the Tell-Tale Heart. 
I told her about my headaches and my sleepless nights and gasp! I even told her about my 3:00am anxiety attacks.

When she touches my overheated skin with her icy cold hands I feel relief.
I feel a healing element pulsing beneath the touch of her fingers.
And it feels like compassion. It feels like grace. And it feels like I want to cry.

She discovers both eardrums filled to the brim with a thick glue like fluid.
"Have you had this since July?" she asks me
"Well it's no wonder you can't hear anything besides your heartbeat. It's also why you're not sleeping. The fact that you have an infection in your ears from this fluid plus the aggravation from the noise of that fluid pounding against your ear drums is causing you to lose sleep.
You need to sleep" she tells me. "Not sleeping is also causing your blood pressure to rise."

She prescribes a strong antibiotic, and also Mucinex to thin the fluid in my ears and....klonipin.
Klonipin....the dreaded anti-anxiety medication.
"Try it" she tells me. "Just take one. I'm giving you a very low dose. 
And I'm only giving you ten pills.
See if it doesn't at the very least help you stay asleep so we can address this blood pressure issue." 

I stare at that bottle of pills for an hour after I get home before I crack it open.
Down at the bottom are 10 yellow pills staring right back up at me.

"Take one", he says from behind me.
But I'm afraid to, I tell him.
"Nothings going to happen except you will fall asleep" he says.
But what if I feel weird after I take it? I ask him.

It feels like a weakness to me having to rely on anxiety medication.
I'm stronger than this, aren't I??
Anxiety, the wretch, always has to have its say, doesn't it?

I take one with a full glass of water and try to convince myself that I will still be alive in the morning.
I am hopeful that I won't wet the bed due to my euphoric stupor of taking this anxiety pill and then finding myself too paralyzed by the side effects to walk and too drugged to do anything but lay there and drool.

Good Lord but I am a head case, right??

Want to know what really happened after I took that pill??
I went to sleep. And slept all night. For 8 straight hours.
No drooling. No paralysis. No wetting the bed. No dying. No anxiety.

So today when I had to go back for a recheck she asked me how was I doing.
My ears are much better! No more heart pounding! No more headaches. 
And the blood pressure is almost back to normal...readings are much lower.
"How's the sleeping?" she asked.
The Klonipin worked wonderfully I admitted. Would it be alright if I got a 30 day prescription?
And just like that I offered up grace to myself.
I decided that it doesn't make me weak or wrong or dumb or lazy or stupid or anything else, to need that medication. It also didn't make me feel wonky so there is that.

I'm not sure why I insist on judging myself so harshly over this issue.
But for the time being I am allowing myself to just take it one day at a time.
Hmmm....Where have I heard that saying before?

So. What grace can I share?
How about this?


Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly

Friday, August 4, 2017

LaCrosse

The question I posted last week was-
What beauty can I behold?

We went on a quick little getaway last weekend, him and I. Took our little dog too.
First we headed up to our favorite place Devils Lake, Wisconsin.
On the way to Devils Lake we stop at our favorite rest stop in Janesville.
We are both creatures of habit, him and I.
We know what we like and we like what we know.
Stopped there to pee, let the dog go potty, and fuel up the truck.
He grabs a diet Coke, I grab a cold Starbucks Frappucinno and we're off again.
Is there beauty in any of that?
Probably not but it did feel good to pee after 2 hours of driving....

The scenery flying by the truck windows is mostly cornfields.
There is the occasional farm or pasture full of cows or pigs...smelly, but not beautiful.
I start noticing wild flowers by the side of the road.
Pink tufted twisted weeds (the pink was exquisite), purple daisy type flowers,
pink Clover, green and white Queen Ann's Lace, iridescent grasses, yellow flowers in all shapes and sizes.
The sky is a blue that I've not seen before...so bright and clear and nary a white cloud to be seen.

We make our way to the shit box town of Ontario, Wisconsin.
Sorry but that is an apt description right there.
Just outside of shit box Ontario is a winding road that leads to an Amish village.
And by winding road I mean steep, switchback, nausea inducing roads.
Half way up the dog sits up in her car seat and gives me a look that I interpret as:
"I'm getting real dizzy and gonna vomit in a second"
Truth be told, him and I feel a little bit queasy ourselves...these roads are not for the feint of heart.
How in the world do the Amish get their horse and buggies up and down these roads??

Once we get to the top rise, we enter into Amish territory.
It's then I realize that the Amish rarely go up or down these paved switch back roads.
As there are no blacktop roads up here at the top, only gently rolling hills and gravel roads.

We see horse and buggies with the ever present orange triangle attached to the back sitting in driveways and in front of really clean barns.
There is a  young teenage boy on the road up ahead, coming towards us, driving his little buggy faster than seems safe on this road.
We see a young girl, so young!! driving a team of draft horses by herself, while a man (her father?) tosses bales of hay onto the back of their wagon.
We see house after house, all white clapboard with black shutters exclusively.
They all appear to be three level houses with outside decks on all levels along with lots of open windows and huge hanging baskets of flowers in white, pink and purple.
I see quite a few rather large kitchen gardens and a lots of wash hanging on clotheslines.
Rounding one bend in the road we come upon what appears to be an 8 year old blond boy, walking by hisself, barefoot, down the dusting gravel road.
He is wearing the typical Amish straw hat, black pants and a teal colored button down shirt.
He waves at us.
Other than that teenage boy at the beginning, and the small family working in their field, he is the only other person we have seen up here. And he's the only one that waves at us.

Coming down off of their, uh...mountain, is a lot easier than going up.
Pretty soon we are zipping down another paved blacktop highway heading to LaCrosse.
The scenery seems typical; pastureland, farms, Historical Markers, Rest Stops.
We see hills and bridges and bodies of water we can't identify, lakes, rivers, streams.
Five hours later LaCrosse appears on the horizon in front of us.
One minute we were driving down a country road, then BAM..there is the town of LaCrosse.
It is beautiful here. It appears clean. It seems uncrowded. We found our hotel without a hitch.
The bed was really comfy and there was a nice green grass area out back for walking the dog.
We were only there for the night but I can already tell you that we will come back again some day.

This seems like a long post about nothing in particular but our small trip to Wisconsin.
Maybe the real beauty was that we arrived to our destination safely, we arrived back home safely,  our dog appeared to like traveling and DID NOT actually throw up on those winding Amish roads.
Maybe the beauty was in the fact that we enjoyed each others company, the hotel was more than we had hoped for, and the passing scenery on The River Road that we took home was amazing.
Rock outcroppings, parts of the Mississippi River seen through lots of green trees and forested lands.
I wished we had taken more pictures.
We were so in awe of what we were seeing and our surroundings that neither one of us thought to even take the camera out of its bag.
Maybe there's a certain type of beauty in that too though.
At least it gives us a decent excuse to go back.

Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Beauty

What beauty can I behold?

I'll get back to you on this question.
We've got 5  days off together, him and I.
So we're hitting the road.
I'll post when we get back home.

Until then....
Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Thanks


As I stated in yesterdays post, I'm going to try to answer a question a day from
a list I found on a blog post at (in)courage.com
Today's question is-
What Thanks can I give?

In all honesty I know that my list should be unending. It should be ten miles long. Infinity long.
But with this weird ass panic/anxiety thing plaguing me, I miss a lot of the things I should be thankful for. Some mornings I find it hard to be thankful for anything. Sleep deprivation makes me cranky.
I'm also trying to not "Should" myself so much.
You know what that is, right? Shoulding yourself or others?
It goes something like this....
You should be thankful. You should apologize. You should eat healthier. You should stop wearing clothes like that. You should read this book. You should stop swearing. You should listen to me.
You should be done by now. You should have called me. You should sit down.
You should be quiet.
You should know. You should not have said that. You should go to church.
You should leave.
The word should is like a weapon and it is often used for blaming and shaming.
I should stop using this word.

Back to the question of the day-
What Thanks can I give?
Listed in no particular order, I give Thanks for:
Milk on my cereal. Black flip-flops. My morning coffee. Cream for that coffee. Grand-kids. Shiny rocks. A Hummingbird in my garden. Comfy shorts. Blow dryers.  Praise music. Advil. Cranberry juice. Clean sheets. Sunrise. Lungs. Libraries. Slicing Apples. Wind chimes. Dogs. Bible verses. Jesus. Sisters. Shade trees. My laptop. Baby teeth. Cheese Popcorn. Cartoons.  Clouds. Instagram.
Green eyes. Green tea. Green grass. Blue eyes. Blue skies. Blue Moons. Rainbows.
I give thanks for every single breath I take. For Tap water that I always take for granted. Salt. A messy house. A clean house. Four seasons. Chinese Take-out.
My family. My best friend. My Blogger friends. For waking up this morning.

And Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly






Tuesday, July 25, 2017

These are the questions


I copied this from (in) courage-
I broke it down and rearranged it into a column of questions.

What has God tasked me with for today? 
What thanks can I give? 
What beauty can I behold? 
What grace can I share? 
What prayers can I pray? 
What injustice can I right? 
What forgiveness must I ask? 
What bitterness must I confess? 
What joy can I feel? 
What sorrow can I cast on Him? 


Here lately in my life I've felt undone. Overdone. 
Completely out of sync with myself.
Anxiety and worry are at the top of my To-Do list every day.
What if? is the question that I drag around with me all day long.
I never seem to find an answer to that question though; only more What if's.

When I read that blog post above it shocked me.
It made me realize that I've been asking myself the wrong question this whole time.   
Instead of asking myself What if?, I need to start asking myself the above questions.
Those are the questions I need to be answering, not the unanswerable and scary and unpredictable What if this happens? questions that rattle me and my peace of mind.

So...I'm going to try working on these questions and answers over the next ten days.

1. What has God tasked me with for today?
He's given me two grandchildren to play with and take care of. I will feed them breakfast and comb their hair and take them outside to play in the yard, maybe ride our bikes or take a walk around the block. When the humidity gets to be too much, we'll come back in and eat lunch and watch a movie on Netflix. Maybe we will build a new city using Lego's or play restaurant with the toy kitchen and play food. 
My anxiety causes me to have a short fuse and I am tired of being so snappish at them.

Today I will apply this Vow that I found on line-

My Vow to Soften
I’ve had enough of my hard edges.
I’m tired of straining my voice.
I’d like to loosen up and laugh a little more,
Be a positive rather than a negative.
I’d like to feel the upward curve of my lips.
I’d like to surrender control of things in which I have no control.
I’d like to let things unfold in their own time, in their own way.
I’d like to participate joyfully in this fleeting life.
I’d like to be softer
towards him,
towards her,
towards me.
I vow to listen to opinions – I don’t always have to be right.
I don’t always have to agree or have the last word.
I vow to hand over the hairbrush, the pile of laundry, the school project,
the task before us. “How would you do it?” I will ask.
I vow to step aside and respect a new approach.
Success might be difficult to see at first; I vow to keep looking.
I vow to be more accepting of quirks and mannerisms.
I vow to be more accepting of tastes and styles unlike my own.
I vow to remember he is in the process of becoming; she is in the process of finding her way.
And they are more apt to do it if I stop telling them how.
I vow to regard “weaknesses” as hidden strengths.
Inner gifts can be nurtured when I stop plotting ways to alter, change, and “improve”.
I vow to greet my family and myself with a loving smile, no matter what happened yesterday.
Grudge holding only hurts us all.
I vow to pause before correcting.
I shall take a moment to consider if the mistake even needs to mentioned at all.
I vow to stop nitpicking until it bleeds.
I vow to demand less and inquire more.
I vow to listen
Consider
and expand my thinking.
I vow to be a voice of encouragement in a demeaning world.
I vow to be a silver lining spotter in my family’s little world.
I vow to be softer today than I was yesterday—a softer voice, a softer posture, a softer touch, a softer thought, a softer timetable.
I vow to be softer towards the imperfect human being inside me and beside me.
By being softer, I can hear more, learn more, feel more, and love more.
At last I will fully see.
I will see his colors.
I will see her colors.
I will see my colors
Perhaps for the very first time.
The colors might take my breath away
Bring me to tears
and offer long-awaited peace.
I shall soften in order to illuminate the colors of the soul.
I shall soften so the human being within me and beside me can shine.


© Rachel Macy Stafford 2016



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Here's to peace and vows and living in the present,
Thanks for reading,
Love, Lolly