Thursday, October 9, 2014
Friday, October 3, 2014
I was sitting in my chair this morning listening to the rain and wondering. Is there any sound in the world that brings with it a more peaceful feeling? Maybe the train whistle far off in the distance that I just heard comes close.
I am not sure why I opened up blogger this morning.
The daughter just left for school, which means due to our lack of adequate transportation I am under house arrest until she returns. We make due until we can sort out this latest wrinkle, not having a big ol' pile of money for a third car at our disposal is at times a big pain in my you know what. Had the girlchild heeded our warnings several years ago and set about saving the necessary funds then none of this would be necessary, yet again the sacrifices a parent makes for the needs of a child.
The reality, like I was getting out in the rain to drive her to school just so I could have the car.....sooooooo not happening this morning.
So here I sit listing to the train whistle and the rain wash things clean, enjoy the peace and quiet in my home.
I had a nice long break from household chores for several weeks as the husband was on an extended business trip for almost a month. However, he is home now so the domestic chores like cooking and cleaning have resumed. Yea for me!
There have been a few life observations that have been placed before me over the course of the last few days.
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly one can be sucked back in time to a painful memory. Neither time or distance are protection from those painful things you have stored up in your heart. The rush of feelings you thought you had dealt with or grown past rush back in like a burst damn. They wash over you and before you know it you are right back where you thought you would never be again.
The other truth of living a life in Christ is that for as great as God is the evil one never take a day off either. He is always looking for a foothold and will pounce at any given second if you let your guard down. Something will happen, you will make a connection with a long past familiar feeling and then within a matter of seconds you are in full freak out mode. Drenched in the certainty that something of equal significance is about to land in your life all over again.
My second truth is that in that moment of weakness I have learned the no matter what the evil one places in my path I know who is stronger. I can at that moment take a deep breath and move past the panic or the circumstance. I can recognize that even thought I may be facing something unforeseen, something that is bringing stress back into my life, the realty is that it is far from disastrous. The evil one just wants me to yield to the temptation to give up.
My next reality, I've got my big girl panties on!
I have been pruned so many time in the past by life's difficulties that I have some well worn prayer callus on my knees. My sisters in Christ are there to talk me down off the ledge and help me see the smoke screen of my internal fears.
I can do all thing though Him who strengthens me and the evil on can go sit on a tack! (Phil 4:13)
What all this about? Y'all are going to laugh when I tell you!
I have arthritis in my hip. Told ya!
I have been in some pretty extreme pain for several weeks now. I finally broke down and called the doctor. However given our current health insurance situation we have to pay 100% until we reach out gazillion dollar deductible. This means that any treatment not covered by the policy (and the only thing covered by the policy is a yearly physical and preventive diagnostic procedures like mammograms, if we get sick....if is not covered) fall fully in our lap. So this was coming straight out of our pocket 100%. I was over the top frustrated with the inability of any one at the doctors office to be able to give me any assistance in determining what the office visit would cost.
To give you some background history, I received a cancer diagnosis back in 1993, none of which was covered by our insurance we had at the time. So the entirety of the treatment fell in our lap. When all was said and done we ended up with over $25,000.00 worth of hospital and doctor bills. At the time we were basically just over the poverty line so we did not qualify for any government help. My life was a daily exercise in trying to figure out how to pay the bills. Not to mention being humiliated by soulless collection agencies and avoiding trips to the mail box to see what new bill was coming in that we could not pay for.
All this was so overwhelming that is completely overshadowed the most important factor. The surgery had been successful and I was going to be completely fine, yet even this outstanding news was completely overshadowed by the day to day black cloud that hovered over our household for over a decade.
Imagin a decade of being told by unscrupulous bill collectors that you are the worst kind of human being and that you are moments away from having your home and possessions taken away to settle your financial responsibilities. I was screamed at, called names, threatened, belittled and basically made to feel less than human but they weekly sometimes daily calls.
The remnants linger even today as I have an aversion to walking to the mailbox to retrieve the mail. I am still plagued by memories of the endless stream of bills that came in month after month that we could not pay.
So fast forward to yesterday. I was on the phone with the doctors office trying to find out how much the office visit was going to coast.
I think I would have had better luck trying to get my hands on the Dead Sea Scrolls then get a simple dollar amount for how much it was going to cost me to walk through the doors of the doctors office.
It happened so quickly, I was washed over by the familiar feeling.
"How will you be paying for this today?"
I was right back there in that situation in full freak out mode and I had not even left my recliner.
The reality is that our situation is totally different. Our financial situation is totally different. I am totally different, however in that brief moment the evil one stuck his foot in the door and went for a joy ride.
Even as a seasoned Christian, believing for over 25 year, studied the bible for over 20, knowing the truth I am still vulnerable to attack. In truth the evil one works even harder to distract those who are walking in the truth even more diligently.
To sum all this up. I am waiting on a call back to find out how much it will cost to stick a giant needle in my hip under local anesthesia. Yea for me.
If that does not work then there is hip replacement in my future.Double yea for me!
The difference is that even if I do have my moments of freaking out I also know that which is in the world is not stronger than that which is in me. (1 John 4:4)
Hip replacement is not Cancer?
I can do this!
Getting older is not for sissies, this is a true and reliable statement!
Friday, August 29, 2014
It took me many years to make the connection between what I had witnessed as a child and my fear of conflict in all areas of my life. As a grown woman who has successfully maneuvered over thirty plus years of marriage I can state that I still shy away from conflict, but I no longer feel that a marital spat will end my marriage.
Regretfully the scars of my experience have translated to a hesitation to enter into situations where I think there may be some conflict involved. My stomach begins to hurt and I have an automatic flight response. I want to avoid any forms of conflict.
The other truth in life is that there will always be some kind of conflict. That is just a hard and true fact of life.
Some conflict is easy to overcome, some conflict is is necessary and then some conflict is just silly and unnecessary.
I had to put on my big girl panties this morning and bite the bullet and deal with the silly and unnecessary.
I am an easy going kind of girl, I don’t go in for all the latest styles or fashion. I am in to comfort, into easy, I may run a brush through my hair and on occasion a flat iron. So the state of my hair has never been a major concern for me. However as I was gazing upon the result of this latest haircut I was NOT happy. Now this in itself is saying a lot, like I said I am very easy going. But I was looking at my hair wondering if the young woman with the hello kitty tattoo on her wrist was actually looking at my hair as she was hacking away at it. Was she using scissors or a chainsaw? Then I began to wonder about the wisdom of actually allowing someone with a hello kitty tattoo to cut ones hair!
What to do next I thought. I needed a bit of reinforcement. You see I had never had a situation like this before. How does one deal with a bad haircut? I sought comfort and a resolution from my facebook peep’s, they would know what to do!
Thank you facebook for bolstering my position. Yes, I did have a right to not to look like I had been hacked away at with a chainsaw by a blind woman with a hello kitty tattoo! But now what?
You see I know what to do! The grown up portion of my brain realizes that I will not crumble into a puddle if I ask for someone else to fix my hair. It’s my hair right!
I don’t want this person to loose their job, but this is just not work’n for me!
So I now enter the putting on of my grown up panties portion of the morning. I had to call the salon and ask who was working today. Alas the blind woman with the tattoo will be there as I have the manager fix my hair. This revelation is causing me a huge source of discomfort. But I am going to be re-reminding me that I did put on my big girl panties this morning and it is my hair and I paid good money to have it cut and….and…..and……
So in the grand scheme of things the state of my hair is non-existent when placed in it’s proper context of World Peace, Ebola and Beheadings.
But I am hoping for acceptable results this afternoon and that the blind woman with the hello kitty tattoo won’t come after me with her chainsaw!
Friday, August 15, 2014
Other days, if feels like my brain is stuffed with an enormous wad of hormonally soaked cotton. I teeter on bursting into tears over not being able to remember to remove the dryer lint from the lint trap or resisting the urge to break all my dinner plates by smashing them against the kitchen floor.
Toss into the mix a mouthy teenage daughter and by the end of the day the administration of a medicinal cocktail is a requirement not a luxury!
The other side effect of all of this is that my tolerance for complications is almost non existent. Case in point, now that the girlchild had gradated high school the next logical step is collage. However, almost everything about the process of getting her enrolled into college has been an exercise complications, errors and a big fat waste of time and energy. None of which we had anything to do with.
To start with the IRS lost our tax returns, this mean that all of the financial aid hoops we had to jump though are null and void. Secondly, given the fact that it was the IRS's fault that they lost our returns, it is completely up to us to solve the problem. I mean why would one expect the agency to actually fix a problem they caused and resolve it to our satisfaction. Funny, they had no problem cashing out check! Next in line to get derailed was the girl child's HOPE scholarship. She worked her tiny little behind off to make the honer role so she is totally eligible, but the high school made an error and she was listed as ineligible for the scholarship. This is HUGE! So now we have two strikes against the process and classes have not even started.
My divining rod for complications is nearly bent to the breaking point. We are working with the powers that be at both the collage, the IRS and her High School to try and get this all resolved to our satisfaction.
During all these complications I find that I cling to the very small things that I can control. I feel fairly certain that on most days I can successfully manage to get a few rows added to a prayer shawl project. I can successfully feed my family a tasty dinner, I can enjoy the hummingbirds that visit my garden.
I think the best example, all this CRAP, the moments of testing are moments where my life is like my cast iron skillet. Seasoning comes from daily use, from simmering and searing off and massaging more and more seasoning into the molecules of the cooking surface. After many years of being tested by fire the result is a beautiful shinny black cooking surface. That surface did not happen over night. It took years of use and years of testing by fire.
All of these trials have another byproduct, difficulties draw me closer to God and His word.
In this life I will have trouble, that's a reality as well as a biblical truth. How I maneuver through it is up to me!
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
It’s only August and it feels like about ten years has passed. Sometimes things pile up on ya, when life tosses a whole pile of stuff at your door and you sit back and wonder why does life have to be so hard at times.
The reality, my life is no more or less difficult than anyone else's.
My mom died in January. It was very unexpected and it was defiantly not the way we expected to begin the new year.
My daughter graduated from high school in May, again, I’m not the only mom dealing with shifting roles, growing pains and learning how to parent a child that wants to be a grown-up, but in reality is still a child in my mind.
Hormonally, I am on the downward spiral and find that the ebbing of my natural female function to be difficult. The emotional ups and downs are at times very difficult to maneuver through. Focusing on the reality that this too shall pass in no great comfort for me.
I know this all sound like a great whopping mess of debbie downer theology. But for now it’s my reality.
Being the mature woman I am, coming at this from the perspective Paul, I can’t truthfully say I am rejoicing in my suffering, but I can say that I am at least taking stock of certain aspects of my life. I know that life is full of mountain top experiences. I also know that the real fruit is grown in the valleys of life. I know this to be true in my own life. All the really true and valuable lessons I have learned have been hard won and awarded through great pain and suffering.
The other unchangeable fact, I know what to do when life turns ugly….God’s word is the beauty!
When grief comes, I know that Joy comes in the morning.
When children grow up I focus on the blessings of Ecclesiastes and know that for everything thing there is a time and a place. We want our children to grow up. That's our goal from the time they are born, however the reality of all that hard work seems cold comfort at the prospect of her one day leaving my home and going out on her own. I want her to stay safely under the protection of my wings.
So it’s a mixed bag of emotional bits and pieces. Some days they all fall into place, other days I am whacking away with a sledge hammer trying to get a round peg to fit in a square whole and find no logic or wisdom in the process.
My accountability sisters hold me together, my husband is a rock and God’s Word is the truth!
So we shall see if takes me another year to make an appearance on the blog-o-sphere.
I hope not!
Blessings to whom ever reads this!
Thursday, August 15, 2013
How to begin…
As a Christian, as a mom there are times when I feel overwhelmed.
Case in point, last night on the way to church the girlchild was behind the wheel. The customary mode of operation is that as soon as her butt hits the seat there is an automatic change in the radio station. The concept of driving without music is just not an option. So there I sit in the passenger seat and it begins to wash over me. I am listening to the words that are pouring forth from the radio and I am in shock.
I continue to listen, wondering when the pod person is going to bust forth from my child's chest, because surely my sweet precious child would never listen to such as this. I cast a glance over to the drives side and watch as we travel along.
Song number two comes on and again I am listing to the lyrics and becoming more and more alarmed. When my brain and my heart could take no more, fortunately we had come to a stop sigh. I had a moment to ask without distracting her, I asked “Do you ever listen to the words of your music?” as I reached up and enforced my parental authority and switched it over to my Christian radio station.
Her answer….it was a curt “NO!”
At this point I am contemplating the Lords wisdom, exactly what was He thinking when He knit this child together in my womb…cause I’m not getting it! Now this is not my first rodeo. My son is now 24, so I have been down this teenage road before. I have the scars to prove it.
Here is the thing, both my children have been reared with Christian values since the day they were born. It is talked about, discussed daily. It is lived everyday, practiced as best we can everyday. The plumb line of behavior that is expected is set according to the biblical standard laid out in God’s word.
So as a mom I expressed my distress as to the the inappropriate content I had just experienced.
“It’s just a song Mom!”
My eyes have now fallen out of my head and my brain is millimeters for exploding…..”Just a song” she says…
Y’all there are times when I just want to run and hide. The world expresses itself so very loudly. Our young people see nothing wrong with the dumbing down of morality. I begin to wonder, even in a home where Christian morals are discussed, certain behavior is set as an expectation, the worlds still inserts it’s low bar of expectations into our daily lives.
I take a deep breath, and begin “It may be just a song, but the lyrics are endorsing things that God finds objectionable. God does not want us listing to or participating in things that go against His Word.”
I get the look…..at this point y’all I was done. I just wanted to smack her “upsidethehead” and then reach in and retrieve her brain and give it a good firm shake.
Parenting is so hard y’all, being a Christina in an evil word is even more difficult. Daily I find areas of grey. Confession, as a mature Christian I struggle to weed through the crap the world places before me, what will I watch, what will I read, what will I participate in. I have to make choices, I may want to watch this or that, but I have to consider what God want first. I fail sometimes….I fail a lot actually. But I know where the lines are drawn. In my head and in my heart I know almost instantly when I cross it. Most of the time I listen, I delete a move from the DVR, or I switch the channel or delete a download from my Kindle. I am a work in progress like we all are. Our teenagers, even more so. They are so influenced and bendable by the things and people they come in contact with.
For our young people it is much more perilous. The have the disadvantage of walking around with the axis of the world shifting with their every step. With their limited world view, the emphasis placed on everything being acceptable it is a perilous thin line they walk every day. All they see is that all of us uninformed adults are trying to tell them what to do. We don’t know anything and they know everything. The axis of the earth really does shift with their every step because it is anchored firmly wherever they may be standing.
Rearing teenagers is not for sissies or cowards…
Did she here what I said, probably not. Her response to my comment about God not approving of the content of the song…..”Well, everyone is entitled to their opinion Mom!”
I’m thinking “upsidethehead” again but since we had just entered the family center at church I thought better of it.
Here’s a thought! Wouldn’t it be great if teenagers where like computers. When they get full of viruses and garbage you could just wipe the hard drive clean and replace all the junk with clean new programming…..THAT’S WHAT I WANT!
But we don’t live in a perfect world and I can’t wipe my child's brain clean.
I can continue to place the right ideas before her. I pray for both of my children every day. It truly is my best line of defense again the relentless and enticing evil that pervades the world today.
Against my better judgment I did a Google search for the two songs that were on the radio last night. If you want your brain to explode as well you can follow the links below.
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
I was listening to the radio this morning.
I love listening to Victory 91.5. This is a station based here in the state where I live but you can also listen on the internet if you want to check it out. They are truly a radio ministry. They read scripture and pray on the air several times a day. If you haven’t tuned in you should!
In my prayer time this morning I was seeking some direction, some discernment in what I need to do. Do I need to seek some part time employment, no I need to commit to facilitate a bible study, do I need to sign up for a bible study, do I, do I, do I……I was asking for direction. A LOT of direction. The great thing about God is that no matter how much or what you place before him his well of attentiveness is bottomless. He never fails to draw near to listen.
As I was driving this morning I was listening to a small teaching moment in between songs and the subject matter was the Parable of the Talents.
The theme of the teaching moment was focusing on money management, however when they closed out the speaker said this:
“God expects you to use the gifts he has given you.”
It was one of those moments, very small, however it was like God was waving a red flag in front of me. I snatched a pad of paper from the floor board of the car and at the next red light I quickly scribble the sentence down.
In the parable (MT 25:14-30) the first servant took the resources that his master had given him and made a smart investment, so did the second. However the third servant was motivated by fear and took the money his master had given him and buried it in the ground. He allowed his fear to influence him and he missed the blessing that God as well as his earthly master had waiting for him.
I began to think about the questions I had been placing before God earlier in the day.
It was a flashing yellow road sign and it said.
“God expects you to use the gifts he has given you.”
I am not sure what will happen next, I am not sure where working with the clay will lead.
What I do know is that God has placed this opportunity before me and I need to be obedient and see where it will lead. I may still seek a small part time job, I may still do a bible study but I feel certain that working with the clay will be a big part of my life, at least for right now anyway.
Here is what I found on Biblegateway.com, love that site too….
Talents in the Bible: Matthew 25:14-30
In the "parable of the talents," we get an idea of what God expects us to do here on earth. We're all given talents, some great and some small--but whether your talent is epic or miniscule, we glorify God when we use it to further his kingdom. God isn't rating His followers based on the number of converts they win over or the number of church pews they fill; He's interested in the passion with which we use whatever gifts he has given us.
The Parable of the Bags of Gold
14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag,[a] each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’
21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.
28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’