Friday, June 26, 2015

Tasting Stars


From a delightful Marry Poppins themed birthday party for my friend's daughter, Ava (who has grown into such a lovely little six year old, by the way), I saw the curiosity, determination, delight, and even frustration on the faces of the children all lined up to see who could eat their gingerbread stars fastest without hands. 

Of course, a life lesson jumped from the children's endeavors.  Opportunities come and they look both exciting and daunting. What do we do with it? Jump in with gusto? Ponder strategies before setting in? Secretly try and get along faster (dare I say cheat)? Or maybe wait a bit unsure of our abilities or to watch others for clues? 

And when the initial excitement has passed and you've still got an uneaten star in front of you while others are dancing to the cheery music ... do you give up? 

The most lovely moment I witnessed was a loving parent encouraging a son. His face was full of tears while the line bobbed up and down and the cookie danced before him, just out of reach. The parent gently guided him, told him he could do it, and urged him not to give up. Standing right there with him, the strength was what he needed.

Hopefully we all have those people standing with us. However, even if we can't see anyone around us, there are still two who are ALWAYS available. God and you. 

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (AMP) Therefore encourage (admonish, exhort) one another
and edify (strengthen and build up) one another, just as you are doing.

Hebrews 13:5b (AMP) ... for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you
nor give you up nor leave you without support.
[I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless
nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!]

1 Samuel 30:6b (AMP) .... But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Kisses


From The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us, by Sheril Kirshenbaum

"A romantic kiss does nothing less than set off an avalanche of biological activity. During a passionate kiss, our blood vessels dilate; more oxygen is routed to the brain; our breathing quickens and becomes erratic; our cheeks flush; our pulse quickens; our pupils dilate; dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, oxytocin, and adrenaline levels spike, leaving our bodies awash in a chemical bath. In short, our biology seem to be hardwired to make kissing extremely pleasurable and, to some degree, addictive."

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Life and Love


Life and Love
Heartbeats Intertwine
Creation Begins

Thursday, April 09, 2015

The "I" Project



In 2004, I started the "I Project" which involved rediscovering myself. At the time, I had come upon some shocking news that my husband was a closet pedophile and a master manipulator who had been emotionally abusing everyone near him. Hard to believe until I got involved with professionals who deal with these kinds of things all the time. It was true.  I had unknowingly married an abuser, and I had lost myself.

I started to look through photos of decades past and read old journal entries.  I was looking for things that resonated with the "real me" that I had forgotten.  What I found was AMAZING! 

Without going into details, it turns out that I knew more than I had ever realized.  It seemed like my dreams and even my inner thoughts knew what was happening, but my logical mind fought it because I thought I was being selfish.

The big lesson? TRUST myself ... as long as I was committed to God's will and seeking His path, I should have trusted what seemed like me.  Evidently it was His Spirit in me. 

Lesson learned?  Not quite.  I had to go through a few more years in the opposite ditch before I was able to separate myself from the past - good and bad - and simply seek God.

One night on my balcony, I burned photos and memorabilia that was significant to a subsequent relationship that never quite got to the place of having God first.  It hurt.  But it was also cleansing.

Since then I have had continued challenges, but my foremost aim - even amidst repentance for being human far too much (LOL - like we all are) - is to keep God in His place in my heart. 

I am thankful for grace, forgiveness, redemption, and restoration.  He is a VERY good God, and I am so humbly grateful to be His. :-)

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Hope


Words of the soul
finding voice
finding light
finding peace in the night

When daylight comes
they find peace
like a prize
I breathe in the wind
and take shelter in shade
counting my blessings
in another new day

Colors awaiting
like art in a dream
they bring life to hopes
uttered within

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Gifts


A friend got me thinking about gifts ... not the kind that are wrapped up and given to people on special occasions, but those that are placed in people that can be a powerful blessing to others.

We all have them. Some people don't think they have gifts, but they do.  EVERYONE has gifts present within them. And when they are unwrapped, they bring a whole different kind of gift to the world.

I was very blessed to grow up in a home that encouraged me to be who I was and express myself (with limits, of course - sometimes my creative spirit included clothing styles that the world just wasn't ready for or were honestly inappropriate but I was too naïve to realize [I am remembering my father censoring some shorts that left my "butt hanging out" and I really didn't agree. LOL. But looking back, THANK YOU DAD!]).

Then I experienced a marriage in which many of my gifts were invalidated ... but invisibly. I was doing my best to not be selfish, to follow God, and to yield to my husband.  Little did I know that I was experiencing emotional abuse.  Thirteen years later, I started learning the truth when some secret things were revealed in my spouse's life.  Professionals guided me to resources that I thought would pat me on the head and send me on my way.  To my surprise, the local domestic violence organization shared things with me that rocked my world.  And as I began to follow the guidance I received, more and more was revealed.

The crisis that arose was far more than the emotional abuse I experienced, and I focused on the next steps for my children to keep their world as solid as I could while I transitioned to the life of a single mother.  The challenges were huge.  And to this day, 11 years later, I am still dealing with huge challenges with roots in those years of marriage and still focused on my children.

But what about me? Initially, I thought certain gifts would come flooding back as I found myself free from the "emotional version of munchausen by proxy syndrome" that I had lived in for years. But it didn't happen like that. My counselor encouraged me to be patient. Those years of abuse will take at least as long to undo as they did to form ... and maybe longer.

One gift was music. But it felt like it had died within me. I used to write. It was my outlet. I found shortly before the separation with my former husband that it threatened him and he was afraid of losing the spotlight. I was stunned. The spotlight? I had never wanted one. I just wanted my expression to make a difference in the lives of others ... and it did then. I requested that he leave a keyboard for me when he left our family. But I would sit at it dry ... the only thing that would come was tears.

But over a year ago, it started to awaken. Just seeds of songs. And it may be starting to grow now.

So this is where I consider gifts. If this is my gift, I want to set it free. And now? I am afraid. It's as if the invisible bars I had let imprison me are still there. But the gift is getting stronger and my fears are fighting harder. Because of some very unusual circumstances, I am in a position to be able to explore more and have talked much with God about the struggles in setting myself free. His encouragement is always powerful and brings a challenge. I know the key. But now I must do it. I believe the key is in God's Word. And to release that, I need to meditate and speak His word. It will strengthen me on the inside and where I once would struggle and shut down, I can experience strength and confidence and success.

Marking this moment today ... I will take those baby steps I have begun accustomed to taking, just doing what I know to do, and trust Him.

John 6:63 (AMP) It is the Spirit Who gives life [He is the Life-giver]; the flesh conveys no benefit whatever [there is no profit in it]. The words (truths) that I have been speaking to you are spirit and life.

Luke 1:37 (AMP) For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.

Romans 11:29 (AMP) For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]

Monday, April 06, 2015

F***!


FART! Fart. f.a.r.t.

I don't swear, so I need to be creative.  My substitute for h*** is "hooty-hoo" ... just ask my daughter. LOL! When we listen to music in the car, sometimes a word pops up to surprise us in the lyrics and the substitutes come in very handy, send the message that the language isn't appropriate, and usually get at least a semi-entertained response from my teen.

Today held a different kind of disappointing surprise. Conflict has risen to the surface. I want to trust and believe the best. However, my fears from the past cause me to be reluctant and skeptical. AND ... it seems like my fears win out over my idealistic perspective when they shouldn't and vice versa when they should!

We have had a string of good weeks, which is AMAZING for us. It also had me secretly concerned. My concerns were valid. Discovering that erases those weeks of cross-my-fingers-maybe-a-turning-point-has-come hopes.

I want to list all the challenges ... tell the world ... but it would hurt others and possibly discourage me. Neither of those are good. So, like King David in the Bible, I need to encourage myself.

1 Samuel 30:6 (AMP) David was greatly distressed.... But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

John 16:33 (AMP) I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

Joshua 1:9 (AMP) Have not I commanded you? Be strong, vigorous, and very courageous. Be not afraid, neither be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Easter



John 20:11-13 (MSG) But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?”

Why do I weep?

Maybe because I am a woman? (LOL).
Because my heart is engaged.
I miss someone.  And sometimes that someone is me.
My heart is drawn out to God.
My dreams are torn.
Worlds collide.
I feel relief.

But this weekend, I wept because I saw new life. I watched others as they probably felt all of these things while they heard about new beginnings that could spring from the God-shaped hole in each of their hearts.  Not just a beginning ... a NEW beginning.  Fresh. Clean. Beautiful. Worthy of tears.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Delays

Delays just happen.
They wear invisible suits
And strip when they want!

Friday, April 03, 2015

Cougars

This one will be big! I have to come back later as a migraine diverted my day. :-(

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Before

Before midnight's hour
Bask in chaos of the day
The words find meaning

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Absence


I have been absent quite a while. But I am coming alive. My world is long overdue for an awakening.

"But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing!"
Romans 13: 11a, The Message

The perfect opportunity to bloom is a challenge! I've decided to be part of a fabulous month of blogging called the A-to-Z Challenge.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Screwdrivers ... In My Purse

There are days when I realize that "normal" really isn't normal.  That happens both in good and bad ways.  Today was one of those days to an extreme.

As I sit here typing, I just finished up some work that I planned to do as soon as I returned from a day of meetings ... and then rest. JUST REST.

My daughter was at a friend's house, I probably could have asked the friend's parent to bring her back when the evening was done. I thought it might be a wonderful opportunity for sleep.

NOT.

As I got in my car, loaded down with the extra lunches that had not been claimed (YAY! Feed my family - and another family! I love to share blessings) ... a call came from the school principal. My daughter had skipped her afternoon class. :-(

Thankfully, I was already on the way to her friend's house with treats galore. But instead of only dropping off food, I had to pick up my daughter and start the process of crisis intervention.  Sadly, it started with rounds and rounds of lies (both my daughter and her friend).

It escalated.

I knew she had some form of technology. I had been secretly scouting for days but couldn't catch her with it. But today? I heard those familiar buzzing sounds and it was not from my phone!

When we arrived at home, there were several discussions that had taken place. The most notable was the window of time for her to return devices with questions unasked.  When she said she had to go to the bathroom and I told her I would hold her backpack while she did ... she balked. In fact, she almost got physical over it!  I told her to trust me, I was just holding it. That's all.  Eventually, she acquiesed.

Of course, that was a huge red flag. When she returned and tried to go to her room, I told her I needed to search her backpack. A physical wrestling match followed with her mantra of "LEAVE ME ALONE" echoing through the air.

Ryan, my practically adopted son (who makes me feel a little more whole since my own son is so far away) was there and tried to talk a little bit of sense into the situation. Then he offered to call the police.  I was glad ... gave him my phone with the non-emergency number ... and she finally let go.  Of course, there was a stolen phone in the bag.

A man assisted her truancy. I will be filling out a police report yet tonight.  But it gets even more dramatic.  The summary with my daughter is that after the initial situation diffused, she turned into a hugging, happy girl who didn't seem to connect with the former atrocities.

So after experiencing the full spectrum of my daughter ... which is VERY broad (Borderline Personality Disorder is what professionals are diagnosing lately) ... I was finally catching up on work quite late when frantic doorbell rings and knocks broke through the night.

A neighbor girl was seeking refuge. Her mother had been cheating and her father found out. The boyfriend was there with a gun. He knocked her (the girl) down and then told her to leave. She found a haven with us. Naturally, we called the police. Thankfully, I have a bit of history with crisis! It came in handy tonight.

We kept her safe. I periodically went outside to eavesdrop and "glare" at the perpetrator. I probably shouldn't have done that. But after the police arrived in many, many cars I felt even more empowered. LOL. But I just watched. And when a few of the cars left, I figured it was safe. I walked to the nearest cop car and told them that "Lilly" was safe with me. Later, her father came to get her.

And then I thought.

I have many blessings to count. I don't have boyfriend/husband concerns. I don't have anyone crazy with a gun after me (that I know of). I grew up in a home where things like this didn't happen. And I know I won't have an environment like that for my kids.

My heart breaks.

This sweet girl ... she was so scared. No one knew. And all of a sudden she is faced with her mother's "boyfriend" wielding a gun. He knocked her down and then told her to leave.  Our doorbell started ringing incessantly at that point.

I am so glad I am well-versed in crisis.

We kept her safe. We counted our blessings.  We prayed for her.

My heart is soft toward those who need healing and restoration ... my own issues are significant, but I don't know what my new friend Lilly has had to experience.  I pray for her. I hope you do, too.


WAIT A WHOLE DARN SECOND!!!! I didn't get back to my subject!!!!  Did you know that I travel with screwdrivers in my purse? They are essential.

My daughter, who has been suicidal and exhibited risky behavior, has to have pills, sharp things, technology, and even tools locked in a closet.  It has not been quite the anticipated answer for our situation as she has learned how to use a screwdriver to open the bathroom closet - locked for her own good.

So ... in a temporary effort to keep her from entering my room at all, much less my bathroom with the coveted closet, I will lock my door from the interior and carry screwdrivers to regain access to my own living space.

*sigh*

But it will change.  I belive that!  I NEED THAT!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

BITTERsweet

A moment in time ... elements of hope and struggle. As my daughter and I go through another "intake," I noticed the irony of what was on my wrist. A bracelet she made while in residential therapy last spring symbolizes love and dedication and hope. A set of keys to lock away pills, technology, and sharp objects speaks to the struggles we have been enduring since the spring of 2012. As I sat there with her last night, backpack full of clothes for yet another stay in a facility to stabilize her and keep her safe while we navigate the risky behavior that threatens her existence, I am holding back exhausted tears. I haven't spoken this publicly of our challenged path.  But I wonder if I should start. Certainly we are not the only ones dealing with the cascade of attacks that would suck the life out of one so young and gifted.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Venetian


Color, life and light
Playing through frozen fountains
Swirling and bending
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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Love to Give


Love - it’s what she longed for.
not just to get
but to give ...

... give passion that knew
no bounds within the sphere
of her heart’s true love.

... give joy that overflowed
from the quiet places
to the open spaces.

... give peace that anchored
the souls of those she adored
deeply and securely.
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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Quiet


Candles. Music that brings my heart to God. The silence in my soul was starting to feel cold and lost ... maybe my quiet moment will fill the silence with some peace that will gently soothe and prepare me for the road ahead.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Walk With Me


The words "walk with me" have started tracing a path in my heart. I looked for something in scripture to capture the moment and found Matthew 11:28-30 from The Message Bible.

Matthew 11:28-30
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

WALK WITH ME ...
It is such a simple invitation, yet so full of wonder and hope. It's almost profound.
WALK WITH ME ...
To where? I don't know yet. But I know I'm not walking alone.

WALK WITH ME ...
That "unforced rhythm of grace" sounds so beautiful.
WALK WITH ME ...
Do I trust enough to take that first step? And then another? 

I do.
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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Needed That!


Thankfully, I have friends who help make these moments possible.  WOW did I ever need that little getaway!  And it was even more energizing with ALL of us carting cameras around as we explored.
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