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!

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

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

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

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 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.


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)


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)