Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmasy things... and questioning


Even though it seemed too warm for Christmastime it was a nice first day of Winter. Another cold front should be blowing in the day before Christmas so that'll be nice. Pretty typical for Texas really. I'm getting used to it. I never thought I'd live in Texas this long but I fell in love with a Texas guy and I'm content to be wherever he is.

I finished the Christmas wrapping and now all the packages look beautiful under the tree! Mailed out the last of the cards. More cookies were baked. I have enjoyed doing Christmasy things this year. Maybe because I started out saying I wasn't going to put many decorations out. I just didn't want to make too much of a fuss. I wanted to keep it simple. In the end I may have even done more than usual, but I didn't have any expectations and didn't feel any pressure. Although putting everything away when the time comes... that's another story! Eek!

Thoughts came to me throughout the day as I bustled here and there. Some serious, some silly, some deep, some thoughtful. It started as I made breakfast ....

Why does making french toast or pancakes... and the smell of butter on the griddle ... bring me back to countless wonderful warm breakfasts in the past when I cooked breakfast for my family? Such a warm cozy feeling that makes me smile, pause, and feel thankful.

Why is it that we get old just when it seems we are beginning to really relax and feel comfortable with and accept ourselves?


Why must I treat gingerbread men cookies as though they are alive? "Edd this one wants to go to work with you today! He has only seen this kitchen his entire life.. now he wants to venture out into the world... " Hahaha!

How is it that my beliefs and searching thoughts are so messy and uncomfortable when they used to be all neatly packed into one box? Truth for me hasn’t changed. Just maybe my acceptance and understanding of it. It’s not easy but it's soo good to question and be open.

Why do people think bullying others will get them to conform or make them change their thinking? There's so much angry debate today. I think taking a thoughtful approach, respecting and listening to others' opinions and finding common ground is a better way to solve problems and find solutions.

I'm sooo tired tonight, but it's a good tired. It'll feel wonderful to climb into bed after a busy full day.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On lists

Another full day. I've never understood those who say they are bored.

This evening I thought back at all the things I did today. I'm a compulsive list maker. I even make lists at the end of the day of the things I accomplished. That is if I didn't have a to-do list in the first place to check off (which I usually do!). Kind of weird. I obviously get some kind of satisfaction from it. It's measurable, clear, and an easy way to gauge my "success". Today I did the things my hubby asked me to do. Call the surgeon's office to request paperwork. Order some medical supplies. Get a prescription filled. Pick up a few needed groceries. Then I did other important things for me like go to my physical therapy appointment to get a painful, yet helpful massage on my hurting neck and shoulders. I also gathered and completed forms and important certified documents that needed to be mailed. It was a good day and yet....

Seems I'm often consciously or unconsciously trying to validate my worth. Am I doing enough? Am I doing my fair share. Am I contributing enough to this marriage? Should I be doing more? What more can I do? I'm tired but should I be resting? Am I wasting time?

No one except me is putting these pressures on me. My husband tells me often how much he appreciates all I do and reinforces the idea that I am doing a LOT. We are partners, a team, and I'm picking up the slack. I'm doing the things he can't. I'm adding stability and making our home a loving, happy, peaceful, nurturing place to be. A place that makes him happy. Maybe it's because of his cancer. I see how much he fights through the discomfort and the pain and the challenges and keeps going ... and I feel I can never quite do enough. I'm never really able to help enough.

I told him to make a list of all the things that make him happy and the things that don't make him happy. He said he'd think about it but quickly added that I'd be at the very top of the list and that the rest doesn't matter. Maybe I should just start believing that I'm doing okay...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thoughts on happiness and being real


There is never an end to advertisements. TV, movies, magazines, radio, billboards... Celebrities, actors, retailers selling this and telling us what we NEED to have value. To feel good about ourselves. To be accepted. To be happy. To keep up with the latest things. Advertising is designed to keep us wanting more and more and be dissatisfied with what we have.

Happiness is something we are always looking for as though it's a destination and once we get there we will have arrived! Many people feel this time of the year that if their homes and lives don't resemble a Currier and Ives Christmas card or some other ideal then they have reason to be dissatisfied or even depressed during the holidays. I've found that life is too unpredictable for happiness to be a destination because when we find it, it inevitably disappears or changes. I believe happiness comes in little snippets in our lives. We can live in a way which brings happiness. We can choose to do what makes us happy (like having a peanut butter cookie!). We can choose NOT do what does NOT make us happy (like eating a whole DOZEN peanut butter cookies!). It doesn't have to do with a bunch of "stuff". In fact, a bunch of "stuff" can make us very unhappy as it clutters up our thinking, our lives, and homes! I recently heard happiness described as "small rather than big, and always closer than you think." I liked that.


It's as simple as enjoying a warm fire or reading a good book. It's the joy we get from making healthy choices for ourselves or doing a kind deed for someone else. It's cleaning the clutter off the kitchen counter or putting on comfortable shoes. It's breaking that bad habit. It's seeing progress being made or learning something new. It's cleaning out that closet or getting rid of things weighing you down. It's sitting down with someone you love and really listening or giving (or receiving) a hug. It's incorporating as many of these things into our lives that we can.... It's NOTICING. It's appreciating. It's slowing down or stopping long enough to think about life a little deeper than just the next thing we can do to please ourselves. Doing the right thing. None of these things carry a price tag.

Some things in life are meant to be endured. No one is exempt from all suffering. Pain is part of being human. Wrong choices bring consequences that can be uncomfortable and yet, we HAVE to go outside of our comfort zone if we are going to grow and have a character that is of any worth. I'm beginning to believe that's why so many people have such weak characters today. They are only wanting to be comfortable and do what makes them feel good... having personal happiness to be their ultimate goal in life. Gaining "happiness" at the expense of growing in character and being real is not going to ultimately bring what we are seeking.

On a slightly different topic, I had an interesting talk with someone this week that has stuck with me. We were discussing how Facebook and social networks can be a double-edged sword. He said that it's a wonderful place for the exchange of ideas and interacting with genuine people, but it is no substitute for real life. He said "I'm not always the smiling guy in my picture and copying and pasting a Tolstoy quote doesn't mean I read War and Peace." Good point. I like to be inspired and getting out of my own little world sometimes...but mostly I like "real". I think we can be real... and be happy too.

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen. -- Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross

Just a few somewhat disjointed thoughts....

Friday, December 10, 2010

Taking care of ME!


I was a good girl last week. I was an even better girl this week. You see last week I made MYSELF a doctor's appointment for a physical. And this week I actually WENT!! Got lots of needed tests done, blood work, mammogram ... and found out some things about ME (I am in the menopausal stage. Duh, no kidding! Tell me something I DON'T know). I am one of those typical women who for years has concentrated on caring for everyone else and not made myself and my own health a priority. You know the type. The type who worries about everyone else. One of the forms listed many questions to answer about my health such as whether I smoked, drank alcohol, was ever pregnant, etc. The last question on the page was "Any other bad habits?" I wanted to write "There isn't enough room here to list all of them!" but that would really be an exaggeration because I'm just pretty normal. I could have written... "major procrastinator when it comes to making doctor appointments"... That would be more accurate.

I may have turned over a new leaf though because it really does feel GOOD to learn about yourself and take care of your body! I found out that the pain I experience all the time in my neck and shoulder and back isn't all related to stress like I wanted to think (if that's not bad enough). There is a reason for my frequent headaches! Normally we should have a c-curve in our neck... mine is straight right now. Straightening of my cervical spine is what's been causing the pain... Bad car accident 25 years ago? Repetitive movements? Stress? Spasms? Whatever the cause. It's been getting worse for a long time.

BUT... and it's a wonderful but.... the doctor said I need physical therapy. I went for my first appointment today and didn't know what to expect. Would they just teach me some exercises and send me on my way? (hope not) Would they tell me I had to sleep with traction? Would they tell me I had to wear a neck brace?

My excitement grew when I was lead into a warm, quiet room with a massage table and blankets. Yeah! Now we're talking!! As the massage therapist worked on my neck, shoulder and back I felt myself begin to heal. The trigger points were numerous and it was wonderful to get those areas worked on. The therapist used some interesting equipment that induced deep-layer muscle contractions. The sensation was strange at first since it was felt deep in the muscles in my neck and back but it soon lulled me nearly to sleep since I was left alone for about 20 minutes. Then came pulsed ultrasound therapy.... then massage. My neck feels better already!! Yay!

Do I really have to do this twice a week for a few months!! :-) Well, okay. If I HAVE to.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Desired things

I find this hauntingly beautiful.... words written long ago... but so meaningful for today.

Desiderata
-- written by Max Ehrmann in the 1920s --

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Words from the past

I read over an old journal today. One I began over 20 years ago. In many ways I'm still the same. Still struggling with the same things...like in 1989 "many times I refuse to take the risk that's involved to wander out of my safe environment" or in 1997 "today was a difficult day. I'm feeling very dull and like I'm in a fog lately. I pray the Lord will give me a clear mind and thinking.... I cried today about...."

I've been journaling for a long time. Almost 20 years ago I wrote that I wanted to "write a little each day, so I can go back and remember the special memories that happen which may otherwise be forgotten".


I'm glad I have this journal. In some ways it's painful to look back and see what I was thinking about, agonizing over and trying so hard to understand. Because I wrote some things down I can be easily transported back in time to that exact place where I was. It's nice to know my motives were good as I sought God's help in everyday life. I wanted to do the right thing. Make things better. But I did discover that I just didn't have control over everything that happened. That was a bitter pill to swallow. I know I still wrestle with that.

One thing is evident. I did a lot of praying for my family. Why things broke down is a mystery to me. Why God didn't answer all my prayers is unknown. I do know God pulled me out of a very destructive place and plopped me down into a place where I feel safe. For that I'm grateful.

This journal reveals a lot. It speaks loudly of my hopes, and my prayers and my love for family and especially my daughters. It is clear where my heart was... If my love was ever doubted, these written words from the past would erase any uncertainty.

It's bittersweet to read over such wonderful times and also such painful times. Experience is still the best teacher so I will accept both as part of what has molded me into the me of today... The journey and molding continues.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The pursuit of joy

My husband spoke these words to me today. The pursuit of joy. He told me over dinner how he liked my pursuit of joy. Actually he said it after he asked me how my day was. I replied (rather slowly) that it was "okay". Usually I'll say, "I had a good day!" Today I just said it was okay. Pretty simple really but he sensed the difference in my countenance. It mattered to him. He is strengthened by me. By my joy. He relies on it. Truth be told I felt sadness today. Loss. I accomplished many chores. I got a lot done, but felt heaviness in my heart ... and it showed.

That simple exchange of words between us reminded me how much we can influence and impact one another by our attitudes and outlook. I'm reminded of the responsibility (I believe) that I have to bring my best to my relationships. I know we can't possibly be bubbling over all the time with happiness. We need to be honest in sharing how we feel and be able to express our sadness and struggles too. Especially with those we love. Life is hard and grief inevitably comes knocking ... but making a point to pursue joy is a lofty and honorable goal. Joy usually comes easily to me, but when it doesn't I can still pursue it. I know it makes a difference in my life and definitely in the lives of those I come into contact with. Especially my husband's.

Things that bring joy...
Smiles
A heart to heart conversation
A loving embrace
Sometimes a good cry
Random acts of kindness
Puppies... and my own sweet old tail-waggin' dog
Candles
Warm fireplace
Bubble baths (my jacuzzi!)
A back rub
A good book
Morning cup of coffee
Candlelight dinners
Making ordinary things into celebrations
Nature
Prayer
Snuggling
Clean sheets
Good music
Loving words
Encouragement
Gentle touches

“One joy shatters a hundred griefs”

“Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.”

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A nice beginning to the holiday season


It was a nice, warm and cozy Thanksgiving. I did miss my daughters and other precious family members, but I don't expect perfection anymore. I try to just go with what is. I accept imperfect situations. Imperfect people. Imperfect ME. I continue to learn from others. I am learning from the journey I'm on. I am thankful for life. As it IS. I have little control over the things that happen around me... but my responses to what happen are mine. I will continue to strive to be a better ME! :-)



It's important to learn new things every day..... but it's also important to relearn something old! I was reminded over the weekend how I want to be others oriented. I think the way to show you care is to focus on others and not just your own problems. I see people who are very self absorbed... it's all about them and their small world. Always has been. Probably always will be. How thankful I am for examples I've had in my life of selfless people who have a genuine concern for the people in their lives. Oh, God, don't ever allow me to be so into myself that I don't reach out to someone else with concern, interest and love. I think of precious people in my family who look outward ... reaching out to others. To me. People who have always made me feel loved... and validated. They have cared. My brother Rick. Nancy. My parents.... Good examples. I'm not sure why I've thought of my immediate family so much this weekend, but I realized how much I appreciate the way they show love in a way I can relate to. Some people are just all about others... some people are all about themselves.

We came home from our Thanksgiving trip and I put my energy and efforts into decorating our 9-foot Christmas tree! Dragging out the Christmas decorations was even fun! I enjoyed pretty much every minute of it this year. It is beautiful and just came together perfectly! I bought a few new ornaments, but didn't have to spend a fortune. The "old" tree fit perfectly in the dining room too, so we have two Christmas trees decorated in the house this year.

My sweet husband went out this evening and brought home a delicious pizza and we enjoyed it with a nice cabernet sauvignon. It's a lovely evening at home. These are some of my simple thoughts and musings tonight as I sit in the living room .....surrounded by the beauty of hundreds of white lights, Christmas music freshly downloaded and playing from my ipod, and the warm glow of the fireplace. I am full of gratitude.

Peace. Be still. Enjoy. Live.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tribute to an old dog


Some things in life aren't really appreciated until they are gone. How many times have we heard THAT! But I am living my life trying to focus each day on the things that mean the most to me. To live in the moment and reflect on those things in my life that are so much part of the landscape, part of my reality, without which my life would have a noticeably missing part. The obvious things include my husband (who means EVERYTHING to me), my daughters, my parents and family members. Friends. People I love. They are all supreme. To lose them would be to lose a part of myself.

But here's the thing. When you've had the same little dog frolicking around your home for the past 13 years, he leaves a mark very deep on your heart and in your soul. He is (almost) as much a part of the family as anyone else. A constant companion who never tires of wanting to be with you or do what you do or go where you go.

Every morning for 13 years he has greeted me in the morning. Tail wagging. Brown eyes locked onto my own looking for validation, a greeting, a kind word, a scratch on the head. A bundle of joy.

Nicky has been in our family since my daughters were 13 and 10 years old. Kind of old really to get their first dog, but before that we moved around a lot. Whatever the reasons for delay, we finally got Nicky because Jenni kept bugging us until we did! He was born the same day we arrived in Texas from Germany. Our new home in San Antonio would include a dachshund puppy who was born for us! I truly believe that. He moved into our home and into our hearts.

Now that he is older he is full of understanding. He's lived through 13 Christmases and knows that there is a present under the tree for him that he can open every year. He looks for it! Picks it out and opens it.

He knows if we put on our sneakers we will take him for a walk. He watches carefully to see what kind of shoes we put on which will determine what his morning will be like.

He watches me pour my morning coffee and then excitedly dances around me because he knows I will sit somewhere comfortable to drink it and he can lay next to me.



He sleepily walks to his bed the same time each night knowing he will be lovingly coaxed into bed under his blanket to sleep contentedly till he smells the coffee in the morning and sees the light seeping in under the door into his little room next to the kitchen.



He understands that suitcases mean someone is leaving and he begins to get anxious because his separation anxiety has increased dramatically over the years. He feels secure and happy when the pack is together, but gets concerned when we are not... and feels vulnerable. I think I understand that feeling too....



He LOVED to visit Austin when I was dating and later married Edd but was especially happy to go back home again to San Antonio where he had lived for 10 years. He knew the landscape. He knew every inch of the house and yard. When we eventually moved to Austin into a big and different home he felt lost for a while and scared. He clearly wanted to go back to his old house and would run to the car whenever I went anywhere in hopes that I'd bring him back "home". It took a while, but now he is happy, content and totally at home here. He routinely "sniffs me out". Being the hound dog that he is, he'll keep sniffing the ground till he finds me. There is always an excited recognition when he does!

He's been with me through good times and hard times. He has seen a lot. If he could talk I'm sure he'd tell us a thing or two. We can learn a lot from our pets and their habits but I think one of the most valuable lessons man has learned from his dog is to kick a few blades of grass over it and move on!

He's an old dog now. He doesn't hear very well and his eyes are growing dim. His fur is turning white but he still acts like a puppy much of the time (when he's not sleeping!). He has definitely earned respect, love, extra kindness, and extra attention. He has given us so much and only desired our companionship in return. Gilda Radner said, "I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive."

I wholeheartedly agree.

I've heard it said that until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.

He has been a great dog. Precious and sweet. How nice we've had him for so long and I hope we'll have him for years to come!

"Old dogs, like old shoes, are comfortable. They might be a bit out of shape and a little worn around the edges, but they fit well."
- Bonnie Wilcox 'Old Dogs, Old Friends'

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pensive rambling


I've heard it said that if we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back. I'm not quite sure about this. Surely some peoples' problems seem much less than mine, but I do know that we do not know what someone else is going through unless we literally walk in their shoes so to speak. Recently I had a conversation with someone who hurt me. Someone who obviously didn't know the journey I was on. Who seemed to think having more material possessions solved my problems and made me less prone to pain. Clearly thought their problems were more profound than mine. How we hurt one another when we stop loving and begin getting too wrapped up in ourselves. I guess in some ways it's good that no one knows all the particulars of what I'm going through. It shows I'm still able to stand strong and remain outwardly positive.

But we should never think another's life is problem free or that our own problems are worse than everyone else.

I think there is always a way to be honest without being brutal. It never serves us well to savagely hurt and wound with our words. It does damage to the person receiving the words and maybe even more to the person saying them.

All the material possessions in the world won't take my husband's cancer away or return to us what has been taken. Seeing someone you love hurting and struggling every day and witnessing the bravery and not being able to do anything to change things is a pain down deep in the core of your being. Some problems we have in life are of our own making. We have problems because of our behavior or choices and we can count on the consequences coming as a result. But sometimes things happen for no apparent reason. It's not because of anything we've done. Life isn't apparently fair. There are healthy people on death row. There are babies dying in hospitals of incurable diseases. There are many things in life that make us shake our head and say, "God what did you do that for?" I know many of His promises are for the next world, but what about now? No matter how much I learn about the truths of the Bible, I cannot seem to make sense of this world's suffering. I know there are things we learn only through suffering but sometimes it seems so senseless to me.

I'm definitely wrestling with life's questions and find myself in a pensive place most of the time. My heart is touched and bruised more easily these days and I find myself less tolerant of those who are wasting their days complaining about their problems and blaming others for their misfortunes.

There is a Chinese proverb that says a bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives roses. The only thing I know I can do to combat the suffering I see is to not add to it but to offer myself. I often underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring. Some things that seem so insignificant can make all the difference to another person.

Wow, I know this post sounds so sappy, but that's my reality right now.... Maybe tomorrow will be different!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_cq6SJitIY



He Is With You lyrics

There's a time to live
And a time to die
There's a time to laugh
And a time to cry
There's a time for war
And a time for peace
There's a hand to hold
In the worst of these
In the worst of these

Chorus:
He is with you when your faith is dead
And you can't even get out of bed
Or your husband doesn't kiss you anymore
He is with you when your baby's gone
And your house is still and your heart's a stone
Cryin' God, what'd you do that for?
He is with you

There's a time for yes
And a time for no
There's a time to be angry
And a time to let it go
There's a time to run
And a time to face it
There is love to see you
Through all of this

Chorus:
He is with you in the conference room
When the world is coming down on you
And your wife and kids don't know you anymore
And he is with you in the ICU
When the doctors don't know what to do
And it scares you to the core
He is with you

We may weep for a time
But joy will come in the morning
The morning light

Chorus:
He is with you when your kids are grown
When there's too much space and you feel alone
And you're worried if you got it right or wrong
Yes he is with you when you've given up
On ever finding your true love
Someone who feels like home
He is with you

When nothing else is left
And you take you final breath
He is with you

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Some Favorite Memories


We all have experiences that make up our life story. Recently a friend of mine was expressing sadness as she thought about her now deceased husband's first heart attack 11 years ago. The date stayed in her mind and she expressed sadness that these memories never get less vivid. I reminded her that if the sad memories are vivid then the happy ones are too; the good and the bad make up our life story. If the sad memories faded then the good ones might too and we want to hold on to those! She expressed happiness at that concept!

Here are some of my favorite memories.

*Making Christmas cookies with my mom. She was (and still is) very creative and always fun to be around. She would make reddish, greenish and plain dough and we'd make all kind of decorative festive creations. The ones I made were funny looking, but all tasted great!

*Having bacon and egg sandwiches on rolls on Sunday mornings after church. Especially when my grandparents visited. Then we'd get donuts too. Crawlers and coffee cake!

*Sleeping overnight at my grandma Wittman's house. If I got to sleep in her guest room there were clean crisp sheets on the bed that she ironed. I used to love to look into her linen closet with the glass door. It was perfect. All her sheets and pillow cases were piled evenly and precisely. And boy could she cook!

*Going out into the woods in New Jersey and chopping down a cedar Christmas tree with my dad. We searched and searched till we found one that was just right. Now that I think of it, we (he) dragged it a long way to get it home. Wow, did it ever smell wonderful!

*Week-long stays at my grandma Okker's house in the summer. We'd talk of her childhood and olden days. She had rheumatoid arthritis and it was hard for her to get around but she loved me coming to visit. She was crude and would say words like shit, damn and hell! hahaha... But I felt very loved by her. And we had so much fun together watching soap operas, eating bologna sandwiches and drinking hot tea. My grandfather was an absolute saint!

*When I first heard the heartbeat of my first-born daughter Kristen. She wasn't born yet, but I fell in love with her at that instant! I cried all the way home from the doctor's office. When I got pregnant for Jenni it was different. I knew she was there and was happy, but didn't have that same intense feeling until I saw her and held her. Instant LOVE. A mother's love for her children is unexplainable and deep and eternal. At least mine is.

*Reading to my daughters. I just loved it. Loved the closeness. Loved seeing them learn. Loved being together. Being their mom is the greatest privilege in my life. There are so many memories I treasure.

*Snow days when I was in elementary school! School would be closed for bad weather and we could stay home! Bliss.

*My cat Patch. We were buddies and she chose to have her litter of kittens in my closet. I think I was 8.

*Happily and eagerly waiting every other Friday for Edd to arrive for the weekend when we were dating. He modeled faithfulness, consistency, and loyalty to me and still does. Walking into the jewelry store and coming out with an awesome engagement ring four years later was one of the happiest days of my life. Inexpressible happiness! Knowing I had his love and devotion was a gift beyond compare.

This is a short list of course. There are so many more.... Nice things to ponder!!

:)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Dreams



Dreams are very curious things to me. I am amazed at what I think up while asleep. It seems my mind works even better when I'm sleeping. If I wake in the middle of a dream I'm often perplexed at what my subconscious mind has been up to. I have such clarity of thought although sometimes the stories and subjects are convoluted and incredibly ridiculous! Sometimes I wish the dreams were true and other times I'm so thankful to wake up!

The only recurring dream I've experienced was when I was pregnant. When I got pregnant for Kristen I dreamed there were lions under the cabinets in the kitchen! They were very real to me and trying to get out to get me! I woke up terrified! I had this dream a few times. Two-and-a-half years later when I became pregnant with Jenni I had the same dreams of lions. I found that to be very interesting and came to realize my dream was revealing a profound fear I had of the unknown.

Dreams.

Today was a nice Saturday. After working around the house on various projects we treated ourselves to a great lunch out, something we always enjoy. Edd told me the story of a recurring dream he had many times over the years. He was sitting at a table in a restaurant having dinner with a woman. They are happy and are engaged in comfortable conversation. There is a great feeling of peace and contentment. The only thing odd about his dream is that he could never see the woman's face. He would wake up and think how nice the dream was ... and now recognizes the dream was revealing a need for someone special to share his life with.

He told me I was truly the woman of his dreams and it was MY face he could never see.

After we met he never had the dream again.

:-)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Love never fails....


Love is patient. Love is kind. Not arrogant, boastful, rude, irritable or resentful. Or jealous. It bears all, believes all, hopes all and endures all things.

Who am I to give up on someone when they don't measure up? I have had a couple occurrences in my life when I (in my opinion) REALLY messed up. Oh, I have the frequent "little" mess ups, but I've also been in the place of feeling as though things will never be okay again. Without giving the details (because they don't matter to anyone except me), there were people in my life who loved me anyway. Who were there to offer healing words and HOPE. To tell me I was loved in SPITE of falling very far short. I know the story about David's sin with Bathsheba is in the Bible to remind us just how far someone can stray from the right path. Adultery, murder? It's a warning to us... and also a reminder of how far God's love can reach. If I want to have a heart like God's I guess I have to reach far too.

It's easy to love those who measure up in our eyes. One of the very best compliments I ever received in my life was from my ex-sister-in-law (though I don't think of her as an ex!) She said I was one of the easiest people in her life to love!! I know that is what I want to be for others. I want to be easy to love and not be a burden emotionally or in any other way.

It doesn't mean that we accept wrong behavior. Let's make that clear. But we can still allow God to love others through us and give us the love that never fails. Love when it's hard... because I want to beleive that God will never stop loving ME.

So... just for today...

I am going to believe that there is a purpose for everything that happens in our lives.

I will pray for the people I love to have deep peace and happiness.

I'll be kinder and gentler with myself.

I will acknowledge God and give Him thanks for the riches I have in this life.

I will set an example.

I will not be discouraged.

I will let my mind believe the impossible... to believe in miracles.

Because the truth is.... all we really have is TODAY.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Things I know for sure...

If Oprah can have a column with this title I can too, right?!! There sure are plenty of things I DON'T know for sure. I can't always tell who is being truthful at any given time. I don't know what will happen tomorrow or how many breaths I have. There are so many opinions out there and I sure don't know how to solve all the social problems in the world. Or on a personal level, why do good people get painful diseases and suffer? I used to think I had all the answers, but now admit some of my answers were glib and maybe even arrogant. But...

... there are still things I DO know... for sure.

We reap what we sow. There are consequences to our actions, good or bad. If we don't get what we deserve, it is because of God's grace.

Life isn't fair, but it is GOOD.

There is always something to be thankful for.

Some people don't want our advice to change their lives or solve their problems. They just want to complain.

We can't control another person's behavior (so stop trying). On the other hand we CAN control our own (but even that can be difficult).

When we love someone, their pain becomes our pain and their joys become our joys.

An encouraging word goes a long way and a loving touch can be very healing.

We don't need to be perfect. Only God is perfect.

Life gets better, richer, and more meaningful as we get older.

A smile is the best thing you can wear each day.

Loss and pain is part of life. Some grow hard through it and some grow more tender and kind-hearted.

People really want to be heard and understood.

Crying is helpful and cleanses the soul.

A positive attitude is one of the most important things we can possess.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

"Ordinary" blessings

Today was a day full of activity. I love getting up in the early part of the day when all is quiet and the day is just beginning. I stumbled out of bed before 7am, let the dog out and pushed the coffee pot's "on" button. By the time I got my cozy little spot ready on the couch with the newspaper, my laptop and a warm muffin, the coffee was announcing its "done-ness". Ahhh.....

After we took a walk we began a sequence of chores that got tackled one by one... get boat back from repair shop, wash the cars (and other car stuff), clean up the garage, bake a pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese icing (yum), watch the UT football game, get a Christmas tree, buy wonderful new tool cabinet for Edd...WHAT? Buy a Christmas tree??? We now possess a 9-foot tall Christmas tree!!! I've never had a home that would fit such a large tree! I'll have to get on a step stool to put the ornaments on... Oh, that reminds me... more ornaments needed!

Edd will have fun putting together his new cabinet and organizing his tools. Makes me happy. Just being together and doing ordinary stuff.

Tomorrow promises nice weather. I hope to begin the next day in a similar way. I'm thankful for the big blessings and all the "ordinary" ones too.

Friday, October 1, 2010

October (yay!)

Ahh... October! (exhale) It ushers in so many good thoughts and feelings. It anounces that we made it through the hot summer and promises cool fresh days ahead. I am going to try to be very present in each day and appreciate the blessings each one brings.

Things to look forward to...

A visit from mom and dad the first part of November!

Getting a larger Christmas tree this weekend I saw at Costco yesterday! (Need my hubby to go with me)

Baking!

Using the fireplace!

Continuing to learn and grow and make peace with all that rushes around me.

Loving my friends and family better.

Walks and talks with my husband.

Being open to new things God wants to do in my life.

(quick list... to be continued)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Love and inspiration


I'm not very good at trying to be inspirational if I don't feel it or forcing creativity. I love to write and think through life's issues, but the truth is, I'm not feeling very inspirational and I don't feel I have much to say. My heart is jammed up and my brain has starts and stops of grand thoughts and ideas... sadly not for long.

I began this blog when I felt very hopeful and as though my life was full of possibilities and exciting adventures. Edd and I had been through the fire with his cancer and we thought we were through the worst. Now it has become the new normal and we are still trying to figure out how to LIVE with it. It seems to swallow me up sometimes making me feel like a child who doesn't feel safe.

I was thinking today while sitting with Edd in the waiting room of the doctor's office that if I could just take half of his treatments and he the other half. If I could just ease some of the discomfort so he didn't have to feel it all. But then again, one time he said to me he thought this whole process might be even harder on me than it is on him because it's hard to see someone you love hurting and not be able to do a damn thing about it, not be able to change or fix things. And I AM a fixer. I want to make everything better and some things just can't be fixed apart from an act of God.

LOVE is many things I suppose. An emotion or feeling. A desire. Mostly, I think it is a verb... an action verb. Something we DO or don't do to benefit another person. To give them hope and strength and courage. It's the opposite of selfishness. There's not much room for selfishness in a loving relationship. I read a quote the other day that said the one who loves the least controls the relationship. That is open for debate, but if it's talking about a person being selfish and always demanding their own way then yes, I'd have to agree that their love is lacking. I couldn't deliberately hurt someone I love. It would be as if I cut off my own arm. It would hurt me as well.

As I write this entry I realize that I DO have a lot of things to say. But they are bottled up deep inside and I probably need some kind of outlet. And I need to seek to find one.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Simple acts of caring

Often it is the very simple things that bless our hearts. I seem to get joy from things that are rarely associated with a price tag. Sometimes it's a memory, or a sense of accomplishment. Sometimes it's a note of encouragement from a friend or a kind gesture from a stranger.

Yesterday I stopped at the gas station and then proceeded to the car wash that I selected when purchasing my gas. Before entering I was flagged down by a man who was very concerned! He told me my gas cap wasn't put back on and was warning me very kindly yet excitedly that I better not go into the car wash like that or water will get into my gas tank!! I thanked him profusely for letting me know! I was grateful there are people like that in the world.

Today while at the doctor's office with Edd I witnessed a very simple exchange between a husband and wife yet it was touching and precious to me. An old woman sat dozing in the waiting room as her husband's doctor approached and gently woke her. When her husband shuffled over they teased her a bit when she said she wasn't asleep but just resting! Apparently her thin husband had a heart condition and also a bandage on his toe. When they finally got up to leave the man kindly said to his wife, "you stay here I'll go get the car" since no one could park very close to the building. She didn't quite hear him and he repeated himself to which she replied, "oh, I'm going with you." As they walked away I heard him say, "no, you're not...." and then they were out of my view. I would have enjoyed what what was said next I bet. I looked up and saw another woman across from me with the same smile on her face as my own. It was clear this couple had been together for a long time... and he still wanted to take care of her even though he himself was shuffling along and stooped over.

Precious. Simple acts of caring give me a peaceful heart.

It's a crazy world we live in. If I could somehow communicate to young people today what love is it would look very different from what is shown in today's programming and messages. It's a genuine concern and regard for the good of another. It's waking up every morning and wondering what you can do this day to make the life of another better or show you care. It's wanting to give another your best. It's like having your favorite peice of cake in front of you. How will you share it? How much of it do you give away? The more we hold onto for ourselves, the less we are able to keep.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Things beyond our control

Many aspects of life are difficult to understand. There are things that we can control in life and some things that we cannot. Many of the things that happened outside of my control turned out to be tremendous blessings I would not trade for the world. Like my children who weren't exactly planned. But they WERE planned by God and I cannot imagine life without them. Like my divorce which was devastating and yet led me down the path to meeting a man who loves me and is totally committed to my good and happiness.

It's often through things we do not plan and wouldn't seek out that lead us to a richer place. New discoveries about ourselves, life and love.

Edd's cancer. Sometimes the reality of it all can bring me to despair and deep deep sadness when I think about how it has changed our lives. Other times I am amazed and humbled and in awe of all God has given us through it by way of perspective and appreciation of life. I admit though that I have far to go in acceptance and understanding.

Some things are so personal I just cannot bring myself to share them ... they'll have to stay in my heart to ponder but the changes that come through having to deal with devastating news is a bittersweet journey.

Gone is the "luxury" of holding a grudge, being selfish, withholding affection, languishing in self pity, playing any number of little relationship games that couples play to get attention. It's just no longer a part of the equation (if it ever was) or who we are as a couple. Not when we rely on each other's strength so much. The strength and courage I see each and every day from the man I live with is inspiring and gives me strength to love him even more.

My heart is so full and I can't even begin to put my thoughts and feelings into words. Maybe someday more that is inside and the lessons I've learned will come to the surface but for now this is all I'm able to express. Just the tip of the iceberg.

I've cried out to God for understanding and wisdom many times in my life... for mercy and for grace and for deliverance. I have to believe that He has something in the pain and grief we go through to teach us. That there is a purpose and something He wants us to learn or understand. Sometimes it's so hard to see it, but I'll continue to be open to whatever it is.... in time.

A couple of quotes from books by Michael J. Fox who deals with Parkinson's Disease. His optimism is very inspiring to me....

"It may seem hard to believe, but it's catastrophe that offers the most promise for an even richer life. This is the gateway to the good stuff. In other words, you never truly know which way the wind is blowing until the shit hits the fan."

If you were to rush into this room right now and announce that you had struck a deal - with God, Allah, Buddha, Christ, Krishna, Bill Gates, whomever - in which the ten years since my diagnosis could be magically taken away, traded in for ten more years as the person I was before - I would, without a moment's hesitation, tell you to take a hike."

Friday, July 2, 2010

Body and soul

I had some interesting thoughts tonight that caused my mind to reflect on and appreciate this body I have. The one I've had a love-hate relationship with all my life. It made me sad to think of how I haven't appreciated my body for all it gives to me and how much it serves me even when I'm not treating it as well as I ought to.

I believe as C.S. Lewis said, "You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body." The most important part of me is what is on the inside. What makes me ME and not somebody else. Why I look the way I do is a mystery only God knows, but for some reason I have the characteristics that I do, the genes, the strengths and weaknesses that are unique to me. I can't control all that goes on in my body. It's not going to live forever. It's finite. Parts will wear out. My eyesight gets worse every year and my ears aren't as sharp and, well, I won't even go on to mention other parts!

I feel a bit sad that I haven't honored my body like I should have at times. It's done so much for me. Most of the time it's done exactly as I've asked it to. It's brought me to countless places to experience new things, healed when sick, lovingly been used to comfort others. It has carried, given birth, nurtured, and taken care of two other human beings. And yet I've often not given it the respect it deserved.

I wonder if God tests people by giving them certain attributes to see how they will use and respond to what they have been given. Great beauty can often be a source of great pride and can be an advantage or a disadvanage depending on how it's used and what path is chosen. How arrogant of some to think they somehow are better than others just because of what shows on the outside. What is more important is what's underneath it all.

I want to treat my body with more respect. Rest when it's tired and give it what it needs to be healthy and function at its best. Not abuse it with too much of this or too little of that. We only get one.

I'm going to remember this every day from now on.....

Friday, June 25, 2010

Reflections


As I approach the big five-oh, I reflect on what that means. Life passes all too quickly. I see my high school classmates one by one turn 50 and it’s fun and interesting to see all of us in light of what the years have taught us, what they’ve revealed to us about ourselves and our values… and how that equips us to live today.

Every age has its benefits. If we’ve lived as we ought we should enter each new stage better able to give and graciously accept where others are in their unique journey. I generally see in people my age a turning. A turning to appreciation. A turning to valuing experiences and people they didn’t as much before. A realization and awareness of what is lasting and what is not. A gentleness and quality of inner life that just can’t be achieved without the accumulation of years. Not everyone is like that. Many have fought against that learning and growing and have a bitter quality about them, but life has a way of smoothing out the rough sharp edges of our character if we are the lucky ones. I try not to judge though because I have only walked in MY shoes, not in another’s.

We’ve had enough disappointments to know that we can bounce back. Enough heart aches to learn compassion for the pain of others. Loved and lost enough to know the value of true love. Know that life is indeed precious and not long enough and there are never enough hours in the day for telling people we love them… for showing them how important they are to us…. but it’s deep down in the heart.

We know ourselves a bit better and aren’t afraid to admit our weaknesses and laugh about our idiosyncrasies, our humanness. What once brought us reason to wring our hands is now just a minor bump in the road that we either walk carefully over or avoid altogether.

Accumulating “stuff” doesn’t bring happiness… and the non-tangible matters a great deal more than the tangible.

There is no limit to the value of the loving face of a husband who says he’d rather have cancer and me, then not have cancer and not have me.

…being able to live without pain.

…the respect and love of your children.

…the joy that comes from helping to ease the load from another’s shoulders.

…a kind word spoken when desperately needed.

…a warm embrace and gentle word when hope is lost.

…putting your own dreams to the side (sometimes just for a time) to help make another’s come true. Loving someone THAT much where their joys become yours as well.

One of my favorite stories is about a group of mentally handicapped kids who were racing in the Special Olympics. One of them fell down as they raced to the finish line and one by one each of the others stopped to comfort the one who was on the ground in tears. They helped him up and all finished the race hand in hand with smiles on their faces.

I have so much more to learn. I know I won’t have enough time to learn all I want to or become the person I’d like to be. Life is full of joy and deep pain intertwined. There are no certainties about what lies ahead. I don’t understand why things happen the way they do, but I’ll push on. I thought I’d be in a different place now, but I have to believe I’m where God wants me to be for whatever purpose He has. I want to be present and teachable. I pray I’ll have the assurance that He walks with me and will give me the strength needed for the days ahead.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fear


Health care in America is one of the big issues in the news right now. The debate is fierce. What I see very clearly is that fear plays an enormous part in how people are processing their ideas about this issue. Many of our news stations are not news but entertainment with a definite agenda. Personalities on these stations and talk shows are in it for their own personal gain.

They are using fear to try to manipulate the masses and are very effective. I have tried to understand the issues and I'm happy we are doing something to give millions of people the opportunity to have health coverage. Heck, if we are all required to purchase it, then so be it. It will help so many millions of people in an enormous way that unless you are in their situation, it's hard to even come near to understanding. We cannot allow insurance companies to prohibit someone with a pre-existing condition from getting health insurance. The people I hear complaining aren't even going to be effected much by the changes. Trouble is, they do not believe our government and the crazy lunatic talk radio personalities are spreading the distrust and fear so that it is beyond containing. People seem to have lost their minds. These media personalities are whipping up people to disbelieve, doubt, fear and wring our hands. The manipulation is very powerful and... very effective. Even when told the truth about what the plan will do or not do ... they don't want to believe it.

I for one am glad we can begin to help those who cannot get insurance because they have had cancer or other serious illnesses in the past and will quite possibly be inflicted again. I am glad someone who becomes disabled and loses their job will still be able to get health insurance for their family and not deplete all their earthly possessions just to pay for medical services. The suffering that has occurred by those who are already devastated by illness has been compounded with the worry of what will happen to them and their families as the result of thousands upon thousands of dollars of medical expenses... Multitudes forgo getting treatment because they cannot afford it.

This all hits very, very, very close to home with me on many different levels.... with a daughter and with my husband. So many people have stories of pain and incredible anxiety in our country. I have seen almost no mercy from the critics of the current health care reform bill. I have been voting Republican for most of my life. I am ashamed now at what I am seeing and hearing. I am now seeing a party that desperately wants their power back and they are using fear to sway the masses. Many people though have been living with a lot of fear for a very long time. They have felt abandoned by their government who hasn't heard their voices to make changes. I do understand how people who are just fine with the way things are don't want to REALLY look into the eyes of those who are desperately hurting. We start believing things that aren't true just to ease our conscience to believing we don't have to DO anything to help. I've been there too.

My own husband has been treated for cancer for 18 months. His employer offers wonderful medical insurance and we have paid very little for treatment so far, but it has added up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. How can we look the other way and not strive to help someone else? What if we had no insurance when all this began? I shutter to think of what the consequences would have been. Now we are faced with more treatments, probably for the rest of his life. If he were to become disabled what then? Who would insure him then? This health care bill will benefit us if the need should arise. The burden on so many Americans is so great. It grieves me that so many have such closed hearts to only see the small price they have to pay in order to help a fellow human being. Our hearts are so hard. The Republicans are hollering loud now but where were they the last 8+ years when they had the opportunity to help fix this problem. Our President was then spending taxpayer money on invading a foreign country. Constitutional? Hmmm.... I see people just out for themselves. It all needs to be tweaked. I pray it will get better. But we cannot wait around forever for politicians to act, to make changes, to help OUR people.

I cannot understand why people are acting so strongly with fear and anger about giving people the ABILITY to purchase health care. I know I am not very eloquent with my writing, but there are people, many good, hardworking, hurting people, some very close to me, who have not been able to pay for medical attention or medications because of pre-existing conditions. Some have jobs that do not offer the option to even pay for coverage themselves. We like and expect waitresses to wait on us when we go to restaurants, right? We want people in certain occupations to help us out when we want their services, but many of them do not have nor can they afford to pay for health insurance. What if they all went away? Let's show all people respect. Maybe it has not been personal to these people, maybe they are angry at something else entirely in their lives and are not really focusing on what the issue is .... because I cannot for the life of me understand the callousness of many.

Fear. My main thought in all of this is not to be controlled by fear. Many are pushing it on to us in order to manipulate our thinking. Oh my gosh, the things I hear on the "news" shows are horrid and irresponsible. Fear is a highly effective, insidious and deceptive tactic designed to manipulate our sensibilities. Socialism? That's a bit much. Pleeeeeease..... Come on now! Let's give it a chance....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Quotes

I've always been a lover of wise thoughts and ideas. I have loved the book of Proverbs in the Bible for it's ability to make me think and bring me to greater heights of thought. I have a love for truth and understanding. I love to read quotations of others who have lived long ago and yet their words live on and still ring true today.

Today I read a few that touched me because I thought of those who lived and died and yet believed. They had lives and joys and hardships and loved and hurt and hoped ... just like I do.

I thought of Jim Elliott who was martyred at age 28 in Ecuador who said "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." He also said, "Wherever you are, be all there." A simple thought but so powerful. I've been with people who aren't with you fully. They can be in your physical presence but far from you in spirit or purpose or thought.

I read words on love by Henry Ward Beecher who lived in the 1800's. "Young love is a flame, often very hot and fierce but still only light and flickering. The love of the older and disciplined heart is as coals deep-burning, unquenchable". I know the love of which he speaks. I am thankful for someone who loves me deeply and whom I deeply love.

If only I could understand and fully believe others like "When we believe that God is Father we also believe that such a Father's hand will never cause his child a needless tear. We might not understand life any better, but we will not resent life any longer." (William Barclay) I am still working on this. I see such pain and suffering and sickness.... I want to believe that God has a purpose and will make things right one day. I wrestle with believing without seeing. I wrestle with faith. I wrestle with surrendering. "If a man fights his way through his doubts to the conviction that Jesus Christ is Lord he has attained to a certainty that the man who unthinkingly accepts things can never reach." (I guess I like William Barclay.)

I especially like this quote by Billy Graham regarding heaven.... "God will prepare everything for our perfect happiness in heaven, and if it takes my dog being there, I believe he'll be there." A thought I can hold onto. One that makes simple... sense!

Hope is alive with this quote by Charles Swindoll. He said "We are all faced with a series of great opportunities disguised as impossible situations." Who can't relate to that?

Just some of my thoughts today....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Purpose

Joy. Peace. Love. Contentment. Fear. Anxiety. Hatred. Words are powerful. They have the power to help and to heal. To build up or tear down. Words of tenderness from a loved one can change a horrible situation into something you're able to deal with. I really want to choose to use words of comfort and encouragement more than words of judgement and condemnation. I know I have often hurt others with my words in the past and I'm saddened by that. Maybe I'd do it again if I were in the same situations, but I like to think I'd be more kind.

I ponder what life is about. What each of us should strive for. Where do our treasures lie? The Bible says not to lay up treasures on earth, but in heaven. What does that even mean? Oh, I've heard numerous sermons on the subject. It is easy to see how "stuff" quickly becomes old and even useless. The more stuff we own it seems the more it owns us. I think life should be lived with purpose, but what does that mean? I'd like to strive for world peace, cure cancer, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, bring hope to the hopeless ... but I'm just one person and it all seems overwhelming.

Yesterday as I walked from my car to the grocery store a lady called out to me from her car. She was standing next to her open door and asked me if I could bring her a shopping cart which I happily did. She couldn't walk very well and needed the cart for support as she walked from her car to the store. Our days are sprinkled with things like this. People in our little universe who benefit from our existence. People in our families, in our homes, in our workplace. Random people we meet each day. I really want to be a Noticer. To live my life with a sense of purpose. The world doesn't stop when I'm in pain. It continues to revolve and people go on with their lives irregardless of what I am going through. There are many times I feel anxiety and fear, but I want my life filled with more love, peace, joy and contentment.... and to spread it around.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thoughts and prayers for today


My mind is full of thoughts and ideas bouncing around. Amazing to me is our ability to process dreadful news and go on and live and breathe and ... smile... EVEN THOUGH. There is a tremendous resilience to the human spirit. Growing up and growing older has some wonderful aspects. Like wisdom (hopefully) and understanding and sensitivity and kindness. Oh, how I possessed so little of those qualities in my younger days and thought I knew so much! Will I think years down the road that I knew and understood so little in these present days too? Most likely!

Before we left for Edd's chemo treatment this morning we prayed. Silently. But together holding hands. Edd asked beforehand what in particular I thought we should pray about. I said we should pray that God would use the treatments and knowledge of the medical field to work through his body and fight the disease... and that we need to acknowledge that God is infinitely stronger and more powerful than cancer! So we did....

I got a lot of peace today as I prayed that God would not allow me (or Edd or other loved ones) to leave this world without showing me the truth and giving me confidence in that knowledge. The arrogance and self righteousness of Christians does a lot of harm. I am soul-pained by it. It is everywhere. News and radio shows. TV personalities who claim to speak the truth and yet are clearly motivated by greed. Insidious. The faith I have always claimed confidently has been shaken in recent years, but it is still alive. That I am sure of. I want my faith to give me the power to love more effectively. God will help us with the rest. I've asked Him to.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

On daughters


Soon I'll have two married daughters. There's nothing more deeply a part of me. Nothing more precious. The time I spent with them as they were growing up is something I value beyond measure. It seems so long ago as I now see the women they have become. I am grateful for the values, sensitivities, sensibilities, wisdom, understanding I see. I so wanted to be the perfect mother. :-) I felt such a responsibility.... and always wanted to love and nurture and protect and teach. But I wasn't the perfect mother. I didn't always love perfectly but my love for them is unconditional and eternal. I believe they have taught me more than I have ever taught them myself.

When they have joy, I rejoice. When they are sad or feel pain, I feel that too. They're never far from my thoughts.

Seeing my beloved Kristen get married recently was special and brought back memories of my baby girl and how far she's come. Where is that little girl who would lay her head on my shoulder and fall asleep as soon as she was rocked? Where did that spunky little girl go who got out of her crib and into the baby powder and happily emptied most of the bottle onto everything in her room!? I hear her saying mommy come say goodnight and feel the warmth of thousands of evenings reading in bed before good night kisses. There she is standing before us with a strong will and desire to give her best to life. To bring her best to those she loves and those who love her. How proud I am of her. How I love the woman she is becoming. The wedding day was simiple... yet so very special. I was full of joy to see how beautiful she looked on that day and how she radiated joy and peace. She was lovely. She is loved. How I want her to be deeply happy and content and always hopeful. How I want the very best for her always and will be cheering her on.

Jenni, my precious Jenni will be marrying in less than a week now. I rejoice with her! But I do wonder where the years have scurried off to. Wasn't she just sitting on my lap with her biki, sucking her thumb and asking me to read a book to her? Wasn't she just helping me make Christmas cookies or bread or doing her schoolwork at the kitchen table? Isn't that her brushing her doll's hair or pretending she is some princess or mermaid or pioneer girl? When did she grow up to be such a beautiful, wise and hard-working woman? When did this little girl with big blue eyes become so strong and smart and full of depth? She will make a beautiful bride and a loving wife. She has been a wonderful daughter. I am so proud of her. Love for her is deep in my heart and soul. That will never change.

There are some things we can count on.

There will be lessons ahead to learn. There will be joy and pain. Success and sometimes failure. But may there be lots of love and always hope and an abundance of forgiveness and grace and encouragement to cover and protect in the midst of any storms that come along.

Monday, February 1, 2010

hope....

The soul searching is intense. On the one hand we have this hope that maybe we'll hear the words "it was a mistake and there's nothing to worry about", and then again we worry we will hear the worst possible news which would be that there is no hope for a cure. The two extremes bounce around in your head and I wish I could just fast forward to the meeting with the oncologist after he has the scan results and he's thought through the treatment plan. Our life is no longer in our control (if it ever was) and we are totally at the mercy of cancer and how its treatment will alter our lives. For me it is so hard to just put one foot in front of the other and go through the day but I do.... I think of Edd going to work and just doing what he always does. He is definitely a soldier as well as any other who marches through the day being faithful and loyal and moving forward in spite of the pressure to fall apart, which is what I want to do.

All I thought I knew about God is tested. Edd and I talked this morning about God and why he doesn't heal, about prayer, about asking Him to help, whether He is involved, whether He cares, if we matter at all to Him. I used to be so sure, I used to have the answers to hypothetical situations, but now it's me and my precious husband and I am not seeing God's intervention, I don't feel He cares, and I don't know anything it seems. I know I've prayed for some things and He has graciously protected and saved and then I've prayed for things and the answer was "no". Are all these just random? Is it like playing roulette and spinning the wheel? Do I beg and plead for Edd's healing or do I just ask once and then seek peace with His answer? I feel so tired and weary from this journey and I know Edd must feel even more so. He is most concerned about me. I am married to an amazing man who loves me deeply.

I feel it's okay to get angry with God. He can take it. Why pretend I am not angry or hurt or worried. He knows anyway. I don't care what we have to go through. I just desire the news that there is HOPE for a cure. I'm slowly realizing that the old life that I keep wishing we could go back to simply doesn't exist. We cannot hurry up and get through with all this so that we can get back to it again.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Deep Darkness

The deep sadness I feel is overwhelming. It threatens to drown me. I try to come up for air but cannot reach the water’s surface. There is an endless river of tears.

Edd came home from work yesterday evening and I immediately knew there was something wrong. My mind didn’t want to hear what I anticipated. I knew he had a CT scan the previous day. Our greatest fear, cancer, reared its ugly head again. My husband had been through so much the last year and a half. How can he possibly face it again? So much progress had been made, so much pain had been endured. We really felt we were going to get another shot at a normal life. Our hope was destroyed.

Again we are free falling, without a safety net. No safety net in sight. The fear is all consuming. Cancer is unpredictable at best. Which is why people feel emotionally battered and broken beyond repair and yet still reach for a measure of … hope.

All I know is that I LOVE this man. He is perfect for me. He is my life and my lover and my deepest friend. I met him when I doubted love and its existence and whether it was possible to really connect to another human being. He is a precious gift to me. There are no adequate words to describe the meaning and joy and safety he brought to my heart. The way I’ve been able to curl up and feel comfort in his presence. To lose him would be to lose myself.

Edd said he is more afraid of what this news will do to ME than what it will do to him. He fears and feels my pain as I suffer for him. He cares for me more than he cares for himself. He loves me more than he loves his own life. I want to wrap my arms around him and somehow take all the pain away. Take away all the raw emotion and fear. I want to feel hope and joy and wake up from this horrible dream. But it’s not a dream. I have no idea how we will get through it. We have entered the darkness again. There is no light at this time. But we do have each other and this moment and the warmth of each others love. If that is all we have it will have to be enough.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Safe

It was such a nice Christmas. It was warm and wonderful and loving and comfortable and safe. This year was safe... yes. How I pray it remains that way for as long as possible. God's hand is upon all of us whether we believe in Him or not.

Last year can definitely be described as unsteady and without any safety. Like walking on a tight rope without a net underneath.

I feel incredibly blessed... and loved... and safe. Thank you Edd for your steady teachable understanding love ....

Thank You Lord.