dearanonymousfriend

Ramblings from a would be writer

There’s a spiritual lesson in there somewhere…

I try to find lessons in all areas of my life.  I think I have done this most of my adult life.  I have learned things cleaning a toilet.  I try to see things from how I think the Lord would talk to me.  I guess that means in parables, or stories.    I have a whole list of things that I have learned that way and for all of those little lessons, I am grateful.

I have nursery duty this month at church.  It really isn’t a duty because I get to snuggle with a little boy who is usually ready for his nap and he is willing and ready to be rocked.  You can’t beat rocking a baby to sleep while sitting in a comfy rocker knowing that rocking is the only thing you are required to do at that moment.

Anyhow, today the little boy was awake the whole time he was in the nursery.  But, he wanted to be rocked anyhow.  We rocked and played and he giggled, which is like heaven whenever a baby giggles.    He left early since his mom had to work, so I was able to sneak back into church and catch the end of the sermon.

From what I heard the pastor (a guest speaker from Michigan) was encouraging us to keep the flame lit.  Not to run short of oil.  It was great and I will need to go back and listen online to the beginning of the message.

We came home and had a lazy afternoon.  Earlier this evening we sat out on our screen porch and hubby started looking at the pool.  There was a faint green line around the bottom of the pool.    He looked at me and said, “you have some algae growing in there.”   Not exactly what I wanted to hear when I really wanted to do nothing the rest of the day.

I asked if I what I was thinking it needed was right.  I was right and I started to grumble about doing it today.  Hubby told me to wait until the morning and I almost agreed, but, there was something else.  By waiting, it would give the algae a bigger hold on the pool.   So, grabbing the necessary things, I went to the pool and started working on it.  I brushed it and loosened the growth (really not much), then I shocked it and added a few more chlorine tablets to the chlorinater.    Easy stuff, actually.

You see, this week, I haven’t done any maintenance on the pool.  It has rained non stop and when it has taken a break, I have been in the middle of something else.  We tested the water a couple of times to make certain it was okay and it was.  So, we waited.

The spiritual lesson here, at least for me? We can be washed cleaned by the blood of Jesus. We can have the right balance to us.  But, if we decide to just ‘be’ for a while, we have the chance of becoming stagnant.  Thin lines of green can form in our souls and if we do not stir ourselves up and renew ourselves with the bleaching of the Word of God, or prayer, that spiritual algae will continue to grow in us.   We will begin to grow murky and not be good for much.

In the New Living Version of the  Bible, Psalm 51:2 says, “Wash me inside and out from my wrong-doing and make me clean from my sin.”

Today, the lesson for me made me think about how clean I am.  I am going to spend some time this evening seeing if there is any spiritual algae growing in me and what I need to do about it.

I know this is a bit different from my usual writing, but, it is something I wanted to share.

Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate you.  DAF (Cathi)

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Resting…

I usually do not sit still.  I wake up with a full agenda and try to keep on task with each thing I have thought about before waking up.  I usually add to the list once I am up and around, but, for the most part I am focused.

Over the weekend, I realized that I was tired.  I was weary.  Motivation left me and I just did not feel like moving.  At first, I was fearful that I was coming down with something, a cold or possibly the flu.

So, on Monday, I ignored everything and dug into putting away Christmas.  Sorting and folding ribbons according to color and dismantling artificial trees and putting them away.  I made great progress, but was grumpy while doing it.

So, yesterday, I did nothing.  I sat and I even took a nap.  Today, the day is half over and I still have not gotten busy.  I woke with no list running through my brain.  It was an odd feeling, but, I am purposely going slow.  I know later this afternoon I will head back to the Christmas decorations and work a bit, but, I will not drive myself to completing the task.

I have reminded myself that in September I started to do a Bible study on resting.  I know I put resting on the back burner and I tend to think (for myself) that when I do not have a list a mile long then I am being lazy.  There is a part of my brain that knows that is just ridiculous, but still, this is me being honest.

I stopped researching rest in October when I allowed myself to become busy to a fault again.  The beginning of a new year brought the usual parade of things in my mind.  Right in the middle of the parade was the topic of rest.  My initial response is, “After I get the Christmas decorations down and packed and put up the Valentine decorations and clean the house and reorganize things from the holidays and so on and so forth”

Over the weekend, feeling void of any motivation the parade started creeping through my brain.  Between each thing I felt the need for rest.  I watched and listened and committed to start, once more, to learn the meaning of rest.

I also have determined to be more open in my blogging this year.  More transparent.  This is my first step at this.  So, as I learn to rest and be more ‘me’, I leave you with a scripture that has been blatantly sitting on my brain.  It is my hope that it will move deeper into my heart and soul.

Matthew 11:28-30New Living Translation (NLT)

28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

I have known He is right there with me.  I go to Him often.  This time, I need to allow Him to teach me to rest.    Thanks for stopping by,  DAF

 

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Litte Man Lessons

It’s been a while since I wrote about a lesson I have learned from Little Man.  Little Man is truly a little man now, at three years old, he is no longer baby or toddler, but a boy.  A boy Pinocchio would have been envious of.

The other day I went on Facebook to see a post my daughter had written.  It said, ” Little Man, upon waking from a very early nap, to me: Mama, you’re like a sweet present filled with sugar.”  My heart melted.  So did several other hearts from the response the post created.  Hubby and I chuckled and remarked how precious Little Man is.

A few comments and several hours later, my daughter commented once more on her post.  “In keeping it real, 20 minutes later, he told me I should go stand in the trash.”   After reading that, I howled with laughter!

The following day, as hubby and I were making our daily trip to Home Depot (they loved that we moved into the area), we talked about the comments Little Man made.

We laughed and talked about his cuteness (we are grandparents after all)  but, we also talked about his innocence.  He can say things that are in his mind and they come out without anger and bitterness.  He does not say things with a purpose to hurt or destroy.  He hasn’t learned that part of the world yet.

Hubby and I went on to say that this is something we need to remember.  To be able to speak things with truth but not harm.  Unfortunately, there is too much of the harsh side of the world that clings to us and sometimes our words are not kind.

I Corinthians 14:20 says, “ Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.”

We talked more about this, but, this was the gist of the conversation.

Later on in a Skype with my daughter and Little Man, my daughter said that Little Man was actually standing by the trash can holding the lid open when he told her to go stand in the trash…  She confessed that he must not have agreed with what she wanted him to do.    Gotta love a three-year old’s logic, don’t you?

Thanks for stopping by today… DAF

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Cousins….

I know I have already written a post for today, but since the last time I wrote before this afternoon was September 10th, I figure one more post is not going to shatter world records.

I previously wrote about going to the home where I grew up as an adult.  It has not been a destination of mine for the past five years, but the past three weeks is a precursor to a few upcoming visits.

Little Man is about to have a cousin.  Little Miss is about to make her appearance.  Her mom has been on bed rest since the end of June.  She managed fine until about a month ago.  I went to help her out for three weeks.

It was a full three weeks.  Her home, although looked after, was not looked after the way she likes it.  So, I cleaned her house.  I cleaned the hood over the stove, I cleaned her countertops, I cleaned her floors, I cleaned her deck.  I cleaned and she smiled.  Sometimes it just takes your mom to fix things the way you want them.  I hope I did that well.

I also got to start in on the nursery.  The room that was to become Little Miss’ room was a mess, well, not exactly, it was a storeroom of sorts.  We got that cleared and I painted.  I painted that room two and half times.  The first time it was a basic covering, the second coat went on well and covered up most of what it was supposed to.  The third time I hit all the places missed the first two times.    The room is a sunny yellow, very bright and cheery.  Perfect for Little Miss.

Before I left, the room was almost complete.  The new carpet was laid, the furniture arrived and put together and the bedding washed and laid out.  The storeroom was now a sweet feminine room. Bright yellow mellowed by a gray carpet and white furniture and linens and curtains a combination of gray, white and butter yellow.  All waiting for Little Miss.

This was all fun, but the best part of the visit was the appointments my daughter has.  She has to go a couple of times a week to check on our little girl.  My daughter has been in a high risk pregnancy and it is one that the doctors did not think would progress past 30 weeks.  They were thrilled when she went past 34 weeks.  This week will start her 36th week.  We are thrilled.  Our Little Miss is spunky.

I have had the joy of being able to see our Little Miss via the twice weekly sonograms that are required.  Tears of joy filled my eyes when I first saw her.  I was then able to see her often and notice that she has her mother’s profile.  At one point she turned and looked at us with her eyes wide open as if to ask us what was going on.  Her eyes are the shape of her mom’s eyes too.

But, perhaps, the greatest thrill came when we went to the pregnancy specialist appointment.  It is an appointment my daughter dreads, and it is a stressful time.  This time, though, was fascinating to me.  I saw them measure the length of her little legs, I saw her heart beating, her lungs functioning and her brain waves measured.  I saw them watch and record what they were seeing.  It was all very clinical, but, to me, I saw a miracle.  Psalm 139:14 says, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works,  And that my soul knows very well.”  (New King James Version)

So, our Little Man will be a cousin soon.  He will be a good one.  I hope he chases her and teases her and pulls her hair.  I hope she does the same.  For, I have a cousin, who, as children, we chased each other around.  We wrestled and because he was a boy, he would win.  But, there was this one time where I got the better of him.  This is what I hope for my grandchildren.  So, that when they grow they can visit and remember the times that were only once in a while, but filled with the best of memories.

We will head out west again soon, only this time I won’t have to look at a screen to see our Little Miss.  I will be able to hold her and see her little eyes filled with anticipation of things to come.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF

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Being Uneasy…

There is a conversation from the movie, “While You Were Sleeping” that I often think of.  The conversation is between the late Peter Boyle’s character and Bill Pullman’s character.  It goes like this:

Peter Boyle: “Life is a pain in the ass. l´ll tell ya. You know?  You work hard, try to provide for the family, and then, for one minute,  everything´s good. Everyone´s well. Everyone´s happy.   ln– ln that one minute, you have peace.”

Bill Pullman: “Pop, this isn´t that minute.”

This has been my life the past few months.   Life has been that proverbial pain for the past few years, but, in that time I have had seasons of peace, hope and encouragement.  The past few months, well, it is sort of like eating a wonderfully sweet chocolate cupcake and washing it down with tart lemonade.  It just doesn’t set right.   It makes you uneasy.

This has been a summer unlike any other in recent history.  Nothing is right.  I am watching my husband deal with situations with his brothers that should have been dealt with years ago.  They weren’t dealt with, and it built up and now we are in our hometown for an extended period trying to undo years of build up.

I see my youngest  who is a wonderful mother and wife and that part is great.  She has that one minute of peace, for the most part.  For the most part, except she is struggling with career issues.  Nothing to panic about, but, still issues that make her life complicated and hard for her.

My oldest is dealing with things that complicate her life.  I hear in her voice concern, and I am trying to be there for her, but these are things she is dealing with.

In fact, all around me are things that others that I love and care about are dealing with.  I truly cannot help anyone.  I can’t make anything better.  I would like to smack some heads , but, in the long run, that would not help anything or anyone.

I am frustrated, and uneasy.  My nature is to nurture, and help, and fix things.  I have no tool belt to fix any of the situations this summer.  There is no fine print in my mother’s contract or my marriage contract that can direct me on how to ‘repair’ any of this.

I am useless.  Yes, I know there is support in the way of conversation and fixing food and washing clothes and prayer.  I have done all of this.

Dear hubby has told me over and over his quote for situations like this, “Worry is like an ugly dog, it looks worse coming, than going.”  I get what he means, but, somehow, that just doesn’t cut it.

Again, hubby has quoted the wise counsel of my younger sister, “Will this matter in six months?”  Usually, I look at him and say, ‘No,’  because I know that even in six weeks something else will come along and all of my current thoughts will have been long forgotten.  When hubby asked  me the other day the question about six months from now, I thought for a moment and was truthful.  The truth being that in six months some of this will still matter to me.    He asked if it would still matter in a year.  That, I did not know, and told him so.

What has struck me about all of this, is that although I am an easy-going person who can roll with the punches, I have found that this summer, I cannot.  Each roll of the punch feels like it is a stomach punch.  It hits hard and the pain lingers.

I know that there are seasons in life where pain is constant.  Things happen and life happens.  I have had these experiences before.  It’s not that I fight it, because that makes no sense to do that.  It is just that sometimes there are constant reminders of what is happening in your world, and sometimes joy is absent from those situations.  Are these bad times?  No.  I don’t believe they are bad, just difficult.  I know that growth, personal, emotional and spiritual all come in hard times.  That is a good thing.

What has made this season difficult is I am not among my own things.  I am not in my home, my kitchen, my laundry room.  I am removed from those who would encourage me with hugs and distractions.  I am in my hometown that has reminders of my life all around me.   A life I left almost forty years ago.

So, I go on.  Uneasy.  Close to tears, always.  I keep thinking of the story I have heard often in church, how the eagle stirs the nest when she wants her eaglet to take flight.  It is in reference to Deuteronomy 32:11,

He was like an eagle hovering over its nest,
        overshadowing its young,
    Then spreading its wings, lifting them into the air,
        teaching them to fly.
(The Message)

Underneath all that I am feeling, I have a sneaking suspicion that I am once more learning to fly.  It is my hope that this is what it is, because sometimes I am feeling like I might have fallen out of a nest high up and the ground is approaching sooner than I am ready for.

I know this was not a short, light-hearted post.  Thank you for sticking with it, if in fact you did.  This is what has churned in my mind while not writing this summer.  It was what was tied up in my post about words and the effect they have on you.  Sometimes in life you hear words uttered that you never wanted to hear and once you do hear them they echo about, bouncing on your thoughts and again you eat a chocolate cupcake and drink some lemonade.    Uneasy.

Thanks for stopping by, DAF

 

 

 

 

 

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Love and High School Friends.

When Little Man’s Momma was in high school, she had two very close friends.  The three of them were together through the last couple of  years of high school.  They would go to the dances together, spend weekends together, spend summers together.  They were fun and truly were three amigos.

During the summer before their senior year in high school, I got them each a charm bracelet.   I got three charms exactly alike.  I did this a few times during their senior year.  They each attended local universities, so they would get together during college years, although, it was not a regular time together.  By their senior year in college, they hardly saw one another as a group, but they had their memories of the times they had spent together.

When our daughter got married, one of the girls came.  She spent the time with us and we had a great time reconnecting.  Two days after my daughter’s wedding, she got engaged.  Thus began of time of reconnecting, not only with this one girl, but also with the third amigo.  All three girls married the same year.  I attended a party and both of the girls were there (our daughter was then with her hubby across the country).  At the party I gave the last of the same charms to the girls.  It was fun for me.

Now, that was five years ago.   This past week one of the girls flew and spent some time with our daughter.  She got to meet Little Man and catch up on a friendship.  I have no idea how the visit went, except for the pictures that have appeared on Facebook.  She also posted two videos of Little Man, which I have played over and over.

Friendship is a gift.  Sometimes we meet people in our youth and then lose contact with them and are left with only memories of the times spent together.    I prayed for forever friends for my daughters.  Those friends whom you can be with and continue conversations that started years ago.

Sometimes, though, the conversations started years ago can be interrupted with life and turmoil.  Major events happen and change lives.  This is the case with the two girls that reconnected this week in Little Man’s home.   I hope, though, that this week was a week of  revival for this friendship.

So, today, I think of the three young girls in high school.  I hear the echoes of their laughter and remember the antics that went on.  I think of the three of them today, two of them busy mothers and teachers, the third a busy wife and business person.   I know that the three of them will be forever friends.  Going through life’s adventure, being able to share some of it, and going alone through other events.   They are gifts to each other, and I had the blessing of seeing them from the beginning.

“Friends love through all kinds of weather, and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.”  (Prov. 17:17) The Message

Thanks for stopping by today.  DAF

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In the Midst of Winter…

I have skirted around winter topics all month-long.  One thing I have thought of and was hesitant to write about is the winter of our lives.

As I read several blogs today they talked about God’s perfect plan for our lives, about enduring through trials, about hope and trust in God.  I was encouraged by the words I read.

I have felt like the past few years of my life have been winter.  That season where calamities strike dramatically.  Pipes freeze, cars won’t start, sidewalks and driveways ice over and you fall.   Also icicles form, fall, sometimes breaking windows or shattering things underneath them.  Things happen in winter (and other seasons also).   The things that happen in winter seem more severe, maybe because of the cold.

The past few years have felt like this for me.  I have noticed my age and stage in life more.  I have often said, “this is not where I expected to be”.  At times, I have withdrawn, shielding myself from talking about the reality of where we are.  Other times I have been bold and known without a shadow of a doubt that I serve a God who is in control and loves us.   Both are extremes and are not where I am most days.

Winter is a time where things go dormant.  There is a quietness and a stillness that pervades the world around us.  Leaves fall, snow falls, and both give a blanket and covering of the earth.  Growth happens in winter.   Growth that bursts forth with new life and new color and new softness.

I asked the Lord to give me a word for this year.  Not a task or a job or anything difficult.  I asked for a word to hold on to.  My word?  Hope.   I am learning hope this year.  It is a word filled with anticipation and I am hopeful that this winter of my life ends soon.  That soon I will see the blossoms of spring in my life, that this feeling of age and weariness will be replaced with the newness and the beauty of fresh life that comes each spring.

I know that this winter time of my life is producing growth.  I just can’t see it. I know that things are happening and not happening in accordance to a loving God who is watching over me.   I know this to be truth.   I have yet to see the buds of new life poking through the cold hard ground.   It takes faith and endurance for a crocus to be one of the first flowers of spring.  I hope I learn a lesson from that sweet flower and that I will emerge from this winter as lovely and fragrant.

Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent,  and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever. They will not be disgraced in hard times;   even in famine they will have more than enough. (Psalm 37:18-19, New Living Translation) 

Thanks for stopping by today, DAF

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Treasures…

This morning as hubby was reading the Christmas story from the book of Luke, I heard a phrase that I have often heard, but, for some reason it stood out today.

The phrase is, “but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.”  (Luke 2:19, New Living Translation).

Mary treasured things in her heart.  Not much different from the rest of us, is she?

Today I know I have already experienced things to treasure in my heart.  A text to my hubby from our son-in-law that brought tears to our eyes.  A reminder that he is an answer to our prayers.   An invitation to Skype so we could see Little Man open his presents.  We got to see him learn to untie package bows and tear into paper.  We got to hear a book he got today, and see his abacus with the ABC’s on it.. and got to see him look at his xylophone, not certain exactly what to do with it yet… the mallets were fun to throw though.  He called it his ‘lylo’.  Seeing him was a gift that was such a joy to see.

An email from my sister that touched my heart more than she would expect.  I sobbed.   A gift that was unexpected and knowing it was from my sister who had to fill my Mom’s shoes at an age when she should still be a child.  I still tear up thinking of her love in sending this email.

A knock on the door and seeing two friends with their hands filled with goodies, homemade salsa and chips to enjoy and baked goods to finish it all off.

Yes, treasures all… and I will keep all these things in my heart and think of them often.

May today be filled with treasures of your own today.  Merry Christmas.  DAF

 

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Advent….

Christmas is one month from today.  Basically, four weeks.  I was raised in the Catholic church.  I went to a parochial school.  I loved when we got to the season of Advent.

Our school had an advent wreath.  It was located by the school office and it was on a lever system that raised and lowered it from its position up near the ceiling light which was an ornate fixture.  Each Monday during Advent, the school would gather in the foyer and we would light one of the purple candles.  The advent wreath has three purple candles for the three weeks leading up to the week of Christmas.  For the week of Christmas there is a white candle. 

The principle, Sister Elizabeth, would light the candle as the school sang, “Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel…  who ransomed captive Israel, who mourns in lonely exile there, until the Son of Man appears…. Rejoice! Rejoice! oh Israel!  To thee shall come Emmanuel.”

The strains of that song linger in my memory and each year at this time it occupies my thoughts.  

Those memories of not only having Christmas coming, but also being able to cut into class time, a necessity for any student this time of the year.

For a child is born to us,
    a son is given to us.
The government will rest on his shoulders.
    And he will be called:
Wonderful Counselor,[a] Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

Isaiah 9:6 (New Living Translation)

Thanks for stopping by today,  DAF

 

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Worry… 31 Days of Observing

31 Days Observing

Today’s sermon talked about worry.

I listened and thought about it.  I felt like it was aimed just at me.  Purely for me.  I worry.  I am a worrier.  Give me a reason and I will worry.   So, after church I did what everyone does (yes, this is sarcasm..) I googled worry.  The definition that popped up first was this one: give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.

Yep, that’s what I have done.  Glad to know I was doing it correctly.

Part of the sermon talked about giving your worries to the Lord.  That statement resonated in me.  I thought of other times in my life, when things were overwhelming for me.  I turned easily to the Lord.  I did acts to make a remembrance of giving things over to the Lord.  Good things happened.  I survived times that I didn’t think I would.

Worry is a complete cycle of inefficient thought revolving about a pivot of fear.  ~Author Unknown

So, what makes this time different?  Why am I worrying now?

As you know the past couple years have been challenging.  Interspersed in these two years have been conversations.  Good conversations.  Talks that have left me encouraged and lifted up.  Talks that have made me relax.  Talks that have brought forth cleansing and healing tears.  Good things.  There have also been questions posed to me that have been easy enough to hear and to give some answers to.  But, these questions also lurk in the background of my mind.  They peek out the corners of my conscience and whine at me.  They are sinister at times.  They are filled with the ‘what if’s’ and ‘why not’s’ and the ‘how come’s’.   These questions attack me throughout the day and at night.  Most of the time they are ignored, but their forces increase over time and my resistance grows weak at times.

It is not the cares of today, but the cares of tomorrow, that weigh a man down.  ~George MacDonald

Today, I have heard words that encourage.  They don’t make it magically all better, but they encouraged me.  I need to deal with my worry.  Hubby always says that worry is like an ugly dog, it looks worse coming than going.  I usually roll my eyes at that comment and I cannot believe I actually wrote that out here, but, he is right.

I am going to attempt to put my worries in the Lord’s lap.  I will approach the throne of grace in prayer and put my arms around all my fears and concerns and plop them right on the lap of the heavenly Father.  I don’t want it.  I don’t need it.  I can’t do anything about any of it anyhow.  So, this is what I will try.

Do not be afraid of tomorrow; for God is already there.  ~Author Unknown

Will I succeed in all of this?  Honestly, I won’t say I will.  I would love to say, yes, and there have all worry put aside and forgotten.  I am human, though, I am flawed.  I know that I can pick things up once I have dropped them off.   I guess I will have to repeat this act often until I get the hang of it.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. (IPeter 5:7, New Living Translation)

Those are my thoughts for today, thanks for stopping by DAF

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