Monday, July 28, 2014

peace...

God comes to you disguised as your life…  *


Life has been softening me.

Years ago I thought I knew all the answers… you know… the Dr. Laura type.  Black and white.  Don't get me wrong.  I still wish and yearn to see the world and problems that way and I don't negate it all, but I see compassion lacking with black and white answers.  Sure it can simplify things and justify our walking away from people who are so very hard to understand and deal with…. but I don't want my heart to be that hard….

Sometimes we DO have to walk away though… I get that….

Yet I'm beginning to find my place… like the dog who walks around in circles for a while, digging a little with his paws making his spot cozy and JUST RIGHT before he settles down to get comfortable….

I'm beginning to find that peace…. beginning I say...

I'm seeing that the one who confounds me… the one who stings and confuses... the one I cannot change though I wish I could… the one I wish I could make things better for… isn't all bad…. I'm learning to see the beautiful parts of the unlovely ones in our lives who we love in spite of their unloveliness…. I can see their gifts and their heart in the midst of the weaknesses….and seeming inability to just do what it takes to move away from the destructive strongholds in their lives….

I've allowed the unloveliness I see in people to blind me to their good qualities.  I've seen the person with addictions as only a threat and have passed over their heart.

I'm learning to hold onto the good, discard the bad and have hope that the best is yet to come….





*  Richard Rohr from Falling Upward

Sunday, July 27, 2014

grace



A few thoughts tonight….. We need to try to find ways to build bridges and not so many walls…. Grace, Forgiveness, Mercy, Understanding… those are powerful words in the realm of love and healing, growth and peace.  The unwise build walls.  Some are so thick and high they last a lifetime.  

I think of the elder brother of the Prodigal.  His loyalty to his strict code, to his own entitlement, to obedience to his father… all that kept him from the very celebration that his father had prepared and begged him to come to.  He thought he was obeying the "law", but Jesus says he missed the major point altogether.  Grace.  Grace is what is often missing ….

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.*

Some of the more difficult relationships in life have taught me the most about love.   Loving the one who is being difficult and unkind.  Not returning an insult when you've been stung.  And it was some of my past failures that prepared me to love the hardest, the deepest and the longest when love was needed the most.

It hurts when love is withheld.  When you are rejected.  When you are bleeding yet someone can walk right on by.

My mind has been turning to grace.  Grace when it is experienced in your life changes you.  It doesn't leave you the same person that found you.  It doesn't keep you from being hurt, but it binds up your wounds and wipes your tears.  And it builds bridges.

The law was given through Moses…. grace and truth came through Jesus….**


**  1 Cor. 13
**  John 1:7


Friday, July 18, 2014

productive day

There is something very satisfying about chopping up lots of fresh ingredients and throwing it all together with savory spices to create a wonderfully healthy meal.  I rarely eat store-bought meals already prepared anymore.   Even though I mostly cook for just myself I can still make a great recipe and either freeze some …. or have it for a few meals.  Leftovers are great.   Often I'll only make half of a recipe and then wish I had made the whole thing so I could either have more for later or share it.  

You can't beat a good curry and this one was just soooo good!  Recipe is below.













It was a productive day.

I finally was able to turn the electric off in my bedroom so I could add a light fixture to the ceiling fan.   I spent two days looking for the breaker to my room.  The fusebox in the garage had electrical cutoffs for everything in the house except the bedroom receptacles and lights.  Who knew there was a separate box outside?  

Proud of me.  It was an easy project after that.  Mostly.

Except now I can see all the dust more clearly!




Butternut Squash & Chickpea Coconut Curry (my own variation)
serves 8  (slow cooker recipe)
2 1/2 cups diced butternut squash
1 can organic chick peas
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can 13.5 ounce organic coconut milk (I used light)
1 bunch of fresh spinach, rinsed and roughly chopped (you could also use kale here)
1 1/2 cups peas
1-2 large tomatoes, diced
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
3 tablespoons yellow curry powder (you can use your own blend of spices here, I just happen to have a premixed curry powder from a local indian grocery store that I love)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (save some for serving)
Cut the skin off the squash, remove seeds and cut into 1 inch square cubes. Add all of the ingredients to your slow cooker besides the peas and spinach. Cook on high for 6 hours. About 20-30 minutes before serving add in the peas and spinach, and give it a stir. If your sauce seems to be a bit too thin or watery when it is done cooking, you could make a quick mix of cornstarch and hot water and pour a tablespoon or two of the mixture into the crock pot, allow it to simmer a bit longer. This will thicken it right up.

Serve over brown basmati or jasmine rice topped with fresh cilantro, mint or basil and maybe even some shredded coconut.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

life whispers



It's hard when you realize you just can't change a difficult situation belonging to someone you love. When you finally realize that it's beyond your control.  When you've tried and tried and given and given and have come near to losing your own health with worry  …. But it's true… you have to let go of it.

I guess you have to let those you love live life on their own terms.  As long as they know (and you know) the consequences are theirs too.

I have found that…. life whispers… and if you don't listen … it gets louder.    Some people aren't good at listening to whispers … Maybe they don't like to be that cautious.  They need adventure and risk.  But listening often keeps us from making bad choices.  Not always… ahhh… we learn from our mistakes too, but the times I've ignored the whispers, things did not go well.

And life is about choice.

We can't take on the heaviness that someone else has created by their wrong choices… We cannot take on the heaviness of their consequences.   Especially when we have given our all in trying to help and mentor and coach and … sometimes even rescue.  Our hearts will literally be torn up.  We can't sacrifice our life for someone who seems to want to waste theirs… as sad as that is…

Ah, but we can pray.   We can love and we can hope.  Situations can change, but usually it's not because of us.  It's because of something outside of our own influence and control.

God doesn't want us to lose our joy.  The joy that life is … and all that life contains!

So let's learn to let go.  Let's learn to say no.  And enough.  … And learn to listen to the whispers before they get too loud.




Friday, July 4, 2014

the treasures we carry with us

Someone who knew my mom well and worked with her for many years saw my picture recently on a social media site.  She reached out to me …. and said I had my "mother's eyes and sweet smile".

Things like that can just make my day.

It's nice to know I still carry so much of her with me.

I feel it sometimes.  Often really.  The expressions on my face.  The intensity in my eyes.  Little mannerisms.  Reactions.  Responses.  My voice.  How I say things.  Even some strengths and weaknesses.

But she had blue eyes.  I have brown.  She tended to be the eternal optimist.  I can be such the worry wort.  She was artistic and creative most of the time.  I only have spurts!  

And yet I feel her.  I feel she is a part of me.  

I'm thankful for people who remind us of such simple, yet such enormous, truth.  

We are all a part of something so much bigger than just ourselves.   And what once WAS still IS in many ways.  Maybe not the exact way we'd like, but love and life goes on….


Mom



Me


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

turning a corner

I may have turned a corner.

Funny thing about corners.  You can't turn them until you are ready… till the proper time.   Even if you forcefully try to turn that corner you can end up doing damage and getting pushed back.  And it hurts even more.  It doesn't work. You can't make anything happen that isn't ready to happen.  Kind of like picking an unripe tomato and wanting it for lunch and expecting it to taste all red and juicy, sweet and delicious.

It won't.

It takes patience before that corner can be turned.  I'm not good at being patient.  Sometimes you don't even know there IS a corner that needs to be turned until you turn it!  Other times you see it clearly but just don't know how it will ever be done.

A couple of things.

I went to my doctor and received good advice.  I was reassured.  I was validated.  I got some help.  Sometimes we need a little help!  I was told I'm okay.  I also realized the importance of keeping solid things in my life that make me happy and taking out the things that bring me down.  No big revelation there, but, again, there is a time when that reality sinks in fully and a time when it doesn't.

It's sinking in.

I was able to be true to myself and speak that truth.  It may mean nothing to the one who hears.  They may not care at all but sometimes you need to say it anyway in order to move forward.  To be authentic.  I finally got to the place where the response didn't matter anymore.  That wasn't the point since no validation is needed.  The only need was the expression of my truth and experience.  To be human and vulnerable and real.

I have a friend.  Someone who knows me well.  A best friend who I have known for over 30 years who would like me to speak next year at a women's conference.  She is asking me over a year in advance because she wants me to chew on it.  Think about it.  She knows I have a life story that could be used to encourage others.  The first thing I think of, and the only thing I know for sure, is the experience of healing.  The pain of wondering where God is in it all.  The disappointment of prayers that are answered with silence.

Where is God in all the silence?!  Where is he in the pain and the woundedness?  Sometimes we respond to silence with… silence of our own.

I think that's what happened.  This almost seems like a contradiction because I am such an open-book kind of person.  In fact, I can be guilty of "over-sharing"…. But down deep…. deep in in my spirit I became silent before God and couldn't find my words.

Now I'm seeing in hindsight that silence is what God may have wanted for me.  It's the only way to take in all that happens sometimes.  It's the only way to "chew on life" so to speak.  Having the time to do that is a gift.  Even though the time can be painful … we are learning.

No, God doesn't forget us.  He waits.  Like the parent eagle waits and watches the fledgling from a distance.  Always there.  Ready to teach.  Ready to defend.  But not always quick about the rescue.  He sometimes feeds but often allows the fledgling to feed himself and venture out in his fear… gaining strength all the while.

Now back to that corner.

I'm reminded of the verse "Be still and know that I am God…"  Sometimes all we can DO is be silent.  We don't have all the answers.  I used to think I did… but I've discovered there is a mystery to life and faith… a wildness and a wonder to it all.   Faith means we don't HAVE all the answers.  If we did, it wouldn't be faith now would it?

Finding my voice…. and breaking through the silence.






Saturday, May 24, 2014

memorial day... and remembrance

Yesterday Dad and I reminisced during a long phone conversation.   Often reminiscing is a nice thing to do.  Many of the stories I hear from him now are treasures because if I don't hear and learn some of them they could be lost forever. 


I'm understanding more why older folks like to talk about the past.  It is like visiting a place that feels welcoming and peaceful and safe.  Where there was a connection to people that mattered.  Especially if the event or remembrance was a happy one.


The world sometimes feels scary to me and I am finding it hard to feel "home" anywhere.   My mom was "home" to me... then Edd.   He told me home for him was wherever I was and I felt the same about him.  After two years without him, and mom gone too, I'm still feeling lost.  If I dig down deep I have to admit that I feel a bit unsafe, scared, and disconnected.   In a big way it is a relief and feels good to just admit that.  To realize why I feel the way I do and say it out loud.  Even have a good cry.  Oh, I've moved forward.  I enjoy life and friends and family, but I still look over my shoulder... behind me....


I recently pulled up two different addresses on my computer and saw the homes of my mom's parents and my dad's parents... and what the houses look like today.  My mom and dad grew up in these two houses  ... and I had visited them hundreds of times when we visited my grandparents as I was growing up.  The two houses were only three miles apart from each other so when my parents were in high school and began dating, they lived closer to one another than I had realized.


Dad and I talked about that.  I think it was a nice thing for him to think about.


The houses had changed.  One of them changed a lot and looked very different now with new construction everywhere.  It was bigger and yet I could still see it for what it once was.   The homes used to be filled with my family members and many of our experiences.  Now they contain new people with different lives. 


But the mind can still remember....we can go back in our memory and see it again ....


I know life is to be lived.... to grasp what is in front of us today... and reach for tomorrow.... but I find a bit of my stability in the past.  I wish I was stronger.  I may appear to be so... but my body often tells me it isn't. 


Dad and I talked about this being Memorial Day weekend and talked about the family gatherings of the past.  We would all gather at my grandparents' house and like many other families we'd have a cookout and have lots of good things to eat. We didn't have outdoor gas grills back then but would have a big charcoal fire that would start out with high flames before the lighter fluid burned off and the coals got good and hot for the hamburgers and hot dogs.  Tables and chairs would be set up near the garage and the car would be pulled out so we could transfer the party inside in case of rain.  I can still remember times it did rain and we took refuge in the dry space and watched it pour outside ... never spoiling our fun.


Memorial Day weekend is for remembering our Armed Forces and those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom and way of life.  I'm aware today of those who have given so much, suffered and paid the ultimate price.  I can't even begin to know of the hardships, fears, and losses felt by so many over the years as they marched off to war or an unknown land ....and an involvement or cause that they had no control over.  


I can only acknowledge it, honor them in my thoughts and prayers.... and say thank you.


I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/mayaangelo384166.html#Pv3gq2uzyOH7AzP8.99
"I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself."  ~Maya Angelou
I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/mayaangelo384166.html#Pv3gq2uzyOH7AzP8.99