family, Living Life, Uncategorized

If Wishes Came True…

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As a majority of Americans prepare to capture a glimpse of the eclipse about to take place above our beloved country, I find mixed feelings stirring inside me.

 

I am excited about taking part in this rare occasion with my children. It brings back fond memories from my high school years, when my entire school stood on the front lawn as we experienced an eclipse. I want my kids to carry these memories with them and excitedly tell their own children about it someday.

 

And I want it to remind them of the wonders of creation, fashioned and set in motion by God’s very own hands, and I want them to feel in awe at His majesty!

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On the other hand, the more recent conflicts that have taken place in America and across the world leaves me with sadness and a feeling of helplessness. In my tiny, little niche of the world, I don’t know what else to do but to pray, make sure I am guarding my own heart from the darkness of contention and division, keep hope alive, and, if nothing else, wish.

So, if wishes really can come true, here are mine:

 

*That as the shadow of the moon completes its covering of the sun and the new light begins to peek through in beautiful rays, may it also awaken a new heart in those who, today, carry an oppression of hatred which has darkened their humanity, and our homeland.

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*That as the path of the eclipse completes its course, mankind would suddenly see clearly the destructive direction in which it is headed.

 

 

*That empathy would take precedence over coarse speech, the need to express oneself through violence, or the need to shout out in contempt at all. Instead, human beings would see one another not just with their eyes, but with their hearts. And as their brothers or sisters speak those things which weigh heavily on their souls, they would find an audience in our ears and compassion in our hearts.

 

Then, it would be the other person’s turn to share, and they, in turn, would feel heard. 

 

*That, the crest of the moon shadow which cuts away the sun’s rays, would also cut away from every human being the callous, hardened shell of hate, and reveal the vulnerable  heart of mankind. Hearts which all have the same basic needs: to be loved… to be heard… to be valued…

Faith, Living Life

Come & Rest

 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

 

I offer these well-known and comforting words spoken by Jesus as He beckoned those who were weary to come and rest in Him.

Days become weary… we robotically replay daily routines until they morph into one big blur. Some days are just like that, and we feel the need to take a break and rest.

Do you ever feel the need to lean against someone and just release all that heaviness you’ve been carrying around?

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I remember, as a small child, laying against my step-dad’s chest, listening to his long, heavy breaths going in and out, while feeling his firm chest rising and lowering beneath me. Though not soft and pillow-like as a mother’s embrace, that strength and rhythm felt strong, yet soothing.

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As you become relaxed and still in quiet commune with God, feel His strength. Let His Spirit wash through your soul and sooth, as you are renewed and restored. Lay your head on the bosom of His majestic strength and feel the rhythm of His unfailing love for you.  Listen for His quiet, soothing voice saying, “Come, just rest”.

 

Here are some songs that bring me much comfort when I need to put everything else aside and just bask in who Jesus is and His love for me.

 

Enjoy

 

MercyMe- I Can Only Imagine

Kari Jobe- Be Still My Soul

Kari Jobe- Fall Afresh

Playlist Simply Worship #1

 

 

Faith, Living Life, Uncategorized

Until Then Dear Friend-Yet Will I Praise 2

 

Today, I learned that my sweet friend left this earth last week, while I was out of town. I am so thankful that I was able to stop by and see her last Sunday. I knew her time here was short, and though she could not respond, I was glad to see her one last time.

 

It was this dear friend who inspired one of my writings just a few weeks ago, as seeing her firmly rooted in her faith in God inspired me so much.

 

So to honor her, I am reposting this previous entry. Perhaps you will remember it, or are reading it for the first time. Either way, may you find hope and encouragement as you read of her courage and resolve.

 

Rest in peace, my friend.

 

leafy-vine

 

Yet Will I Praise

 

 

I was visiting an older, dear friend today who recently suffered a stroke and is experiencing significant physical effects, as well as having to leave her home and she is in the middle of trying to adjust to this huge change in her circumstances.

 

She expressed her unhappiness at her situation, understandably. Who would ever plan for something like that? Who would ever wake up in the morning and think that by the end of the day, life was going to look entirely different?  Nobody, of course.

 

As several women today gathered around her to offer encouragement and prayer, even in the midst of confusion, uncertainty, and unanswered whys, she firmly proclaimed her trust in the God she serves. Her body is not cooperating in the things she wants to do, but her voice is giving her Lord Jesus sacrifices of praise!

 

Being unsure or apprehensive isn’t a lack of faith. It affords an opportunity to face the circumstance, and then look up to the heavens and confirm who God says He is. When we are at our weakest, He is at His strongest! That’s when we lean on His strength, and we persevere and trust in His steadfastness! That’s not always easy to do!  Seeing that resolve in this dear woman is truly encouraging!

 

So all I could think of was this assuring passage in my favorite chapter in God’s Word.

 

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
 
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
 
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
 
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
 
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
 
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you. 

Psalm 139:7-12

 

 

My sweet friend, while in the center of this chaos, though the fight ahead is daunting and unsure, is finding strength and hope in this truth, that the God she loves will never leave her side.

 

That is the hope that every human life needs. In God, there is hope.

leafy-vine

PenguinPrompt-Persevere

 

family, Living Life, Uncategorized

Once Upon A Time….

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Our love story began long before we ever said “I do” .

 

Once upon a time, there was a 17-year-old young man, handsome, charming, already entering his adulthood. Already full of life experiences, living life to the full, sowing his wild oats, the good and the bad.

 

He and his family were acquaintances and friends with a nice family in the community, a young mother raising her 8 children. His siblings would hang out with the kids of this family, going to school together, going to church together.

 

This young man also knew the family, from the oldest to the youngest, a little, brown-eyed baby girl.

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He grew into a strong, hard-working man, becoming highly skilled in his trade over the course of the next several years, becoming a husband and a dad, and growing grounded in his relationship with Christ.

 

 

In the mean time, that little baby girl was growing up into a young woman in a loving family, with happy childhood days, learning what life was all about, making some mistakes along the way, and growing to love the Lord.

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As a young teenager, she prayed to the Lord about the kind of man she wanted to marry someday. He should be tall, handsome, hard-working, and most importantly, a Christian man.  He would treat her good, and be kind.

 

 
Ironically, or perhaps revelatory of the future, they both happened to attend a Halloween party when she was about 16. It just so happened that she arrived dressed as a man, and he wore a full, womanly costume, complete with a long, blue dress (generously stuffed!), dark wig, and heels. He was quite attractive, actually!

 

One of the party games was The Newlywed Game. Don’t ask me how this fit with a Halloween party, but at that time, it was quite popular and well-known.

 

Guess who was paired up as a couple? And guess who won the whole game? Yep!

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Fast forward a couple more years……

 

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She was now 18, mature, getting ready to graduate from high school, and full of anticipation and dreams about life.

 

 

 

 

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He was now 35 and single.

 

 

 

 

 

 

While in town visiting his family in the early 80’s, he went to church with them one Sunday, and she, being a member of the congregation, was also there. Through their friendly conversation, she shared about some minor struggles in her life. He offered a listening ear and a friendship blossomed.

 

A drive to get a soda… good conversation… a friendly game of bowling… soon, their mutual feelings of affection grew undeniably.

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The difference in their years was a clear consideration for both of them. One evening after church, he said to her, “I sure wish you were ten years older.”, to which she replied, “I sure wish you were ten years younger.”

 

Somehow, the vast span of their ages became less significant, as their love changed the perception of time.

 

In the end, they couldn’t deny their love for one another, and as the old cliché goes, “it was meant to be”. A few months later, they were married in that same small church, surrounded by their loving families.

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This love story is my own, and that handsome young man, my husband. No one could have predicted that one day, that young man and that little girl would fall in love and merge their very different lives into one.

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Yet, now, an unbelievable 34 years later, we continue our paths together, the good times and the hard times, going through life’s changes while holding onto each other.

 

As we celebrate our 34th anniversary, I dedicate this post to my wonderful husband, my friend, the one I love.

leafy-vine

 

 

Faith, Living Life, Uncategorized

Simmer Down Mama Bear

Sometimes, I get a little stinky.

 

My attitude, that is.

 

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Sometimes, my mama-bear claws come out and I want to start growling in defense of my young one. I don’t want to use the nice words and have a heart-to-heart talk laden with honey and sweetness. I just want to roar, “Hey! That’s my baby, and knock it off!”

 

 

But, nothing good is going to come from that approach. (I tried already, to no avail.)  I know my only choice is to bite my tongue, breath and simmer down, lest I make the situation worse. You mama’s and papa’s know, when it comes to our babies, that’s not easy to do!

 

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But when the choices made by another person are beyond my own control, what other solutions are left? It leaves me angry, frustrated, and feeling helpless.

 

So, I mentally give it to my Lord, take some deep breaths, and try to, as that infamous song says, “Let it go!, Let it go!”

 

I also want my child to learn a better way to manage these situations in life, being careful not to adopt the characteristics being exhibited by this other person.

 

I don’t want to harbor bitterness or contempt in my heart. It almost literally hurts in my gut. It’s not good for me.

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So I pray:

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139:23-24

 

 

 

 

For I cannot change that other person, I am not responsible for their actions and stinky attitudes. But I am responsible for my own.

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So even though that circumstance has not resolved yet and I see no signs that it will be in the near future, I will pray for my child and for that person who can’t see beyond her own self at the present time.

 

 

Lord, I give this circumstance to you. I trust you.

Living Life, Uncategorized

Laugh Out LOUD

What kind of laugh do you have?

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Is it more of a little giggle? Do you suppress it, maybe covering your mouth so as not to show your grin? Maybe it escapes in little snorts, or chuckles.
Does it come out in loud, short bursts? Or does each round of laughter take you to the very end of your breath, your face turning beet red until you use up every bit of oxygen left in your lungs and you are forced to pause and breathe?
With social media now such an integral part of our communication with others, a lot of our laughter can only be expressed by using the appropriate acronyms: LOL, haha, or ROTFL! They just can’t always convey the intensity of our laughter.

 

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When my sweet granddaughter laughs, she goes all in! No holding back, letting it all out, laughing with every muscle in her face, and full of volume!
She can’t help it and she can’t contain it. She just feels it fully.
I have a niece whose laugh is so contagious, there’s no way you can witness it without being drawn into it, if for no other reason but by just watching her. Full out, mouth wide with joy and sincere delight, spreading into the very sparkle in her eyes! Ya, my family knows who I’m talking about here!

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What makes you laugh? A good comedy or comedian? Hanging out with your friends?
Whatever it may be, indulge as often as possible, for life is indeed too short and the cares and weights of it all become way too heavy.
Laughter is good, and we should do it often!

 

The person who can bring the spirit of laughter into a room is indeed blessed. ~Bennett Cerf

Carry laughter with you wherever you go. ~Hugh Sidey

Living Life, Uncategorized

Volunteering

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The year I turned 40, I began to examine my life. By that time, we had celebrated 22 years of marriage, and I had been a stay-at-home Mom for about 18 years and counting, and I was feeling like I hadn’t done anything of great significance with my life.

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So I began to search for a way to fill the void which I felt was present in my life.

 

 

 

God led me to an opportunity to volunteer at a place in our small community which served people during times of crisis. It was, and still is, an amazing organization. During the seven years in which I was involved, I learned many new skills, grew as a Christ-follower, and just as a human being. The education I received in this field taught me how to see people in a different, better perspective, with less judgement and more kindness and compassion.

 

I became involved to make a difference in some way, to someone, and I left feeling that, as much as I may have contributed to that, I received so much in return.

 

My more recent volunteer position has allowed me to gain more work skills and a sense of belonging to my small community. This organization helps those in need through a food bank & thrift store. It was more of a behind-the-scenes role in providing services to the community.

 

I say all this because I want to encourage others to get out there and volunteer.

 

It’s a way to give back, to contribute to something bigger than ourselves, and to take a break from the day-to-day busy-ness of life which seems to cause the days to all blur together in a rush.  Giving away a small part of our own existence to benefit another human being adds lasting value and meaning to life.

 

As a former volunteer coordinator, here are some important things to consider:

  • Many non-profit organizations, especially those which receive no federal or state support, can only function because of their dedicated, reliable volunteers!
  • If you only have 2-3 hours per week or even per month to give, it is valuable.
  • No matter the amount of time one has to volunteer, it is important to be consistent and dependable.
  • Volunteers learn valuable work skills which can be beneficial in future employment.
  • Every community has opportunities to volunteer: schools, local food banks, non-profit thrift stores and organizations, parks & recreation departments, the possibilities are many.

 

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Studies have shown that volunteering not only benefits those who are served, but also those who volunteer.

 

 

 

To learn more about it, and lots of other information about volunteering, here is a link:

 

Corporation for National & Community Service

 

There are many in the world dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love.
– Mother Teresa

 

family, Living Life, Uncategorized

Baby-Sister Forever

Baby-Sister Forever
Growing up in a large family was wonderful. Being the baby of the family was even better.

 

 

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I know there are stigmas that go along with that. That we are spoiled, self-centered, and get away with everything. That may be so for others, but I think my family was exceptional, so I feel like I escaped some of the negativity that plagues my position in the birth order.

 

According to my personal experience, I’ve compiled a list of pros and cons to being the ‘baby sister’.

 

First the not-so-fun parts:  For instance, big sisters sometimes take on the ‘mom’ role. I had 5 big sisters but I’m proud to say, they were not forceful in this aspect.

 

However, one particular memory is forever etched in my mind! We visited a small church one Sunday. I was probably about 2-3 years old, simply because if I was any older, I don’t think I would have fit in the ‘torture chamber’ my siblings put me in.

 

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They took me to the nursery and put me in the crib. This was not an ordinary crib. It was more like a wall unit, which had a double stack of smaller, enclosed cribs, and each one had wooden bars which were pulled down to keep a baby or small child safely inside without the danger of falling out.

 

To my recollection, it was more like a cage, and I did not like it one bit! Obviously, as I still remember it! Oh, it’s very comical now and we’ve laughed about it many times.

 

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Debbie would try and try to get this extremely shy little girl to sing, either on a tape recorder or in front of people. “Sing, Robin, sing!”, she would say. I suppose I should thank her, since now I can’t stop!

 

Being called “baby sister” can be good or bad, depending on your point of view.

 

If you’re a teenager who is trying to be more ‘mature’, you don’t want to be called that. But when you reach the age of forty or above, being called baby anything is ok! I don’t mind it at all!

 

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As I’m sitting here writing this, I’m finding it difficult to recollect other examples of  ‘baby sis’ disadvantages. Other than the normal sibling teasing, and fighting with one of my sisters over her clothes (she knows who she is!), it was actually pretty nice!

 

 

 

There was the time that Gwen was pushing me on the swing at the city park. I fell off and gashed my forehead. She carried me all the way home, while I bled all over her.

 

And after jumping on the bed one day, I fell off and knocked the wind out of myself. My brother Kevin came to my rescue and pounded me on the back til I caught my breath again. It was very scary and I’ve always credited him with saving my life.

 

Of course, it’s easy to remember more of the positives! My brothers and sisters loved me! And I loved them! They were my playmates, my protectors, my examples. I celebrated their successes, shared their heartaches, and learned from their mistakes.

 

 

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After they grew up and moved out of the house, I spent a lot of time with my sisters and my oldest brother in their homes.

 

 

 

They loved having me there, and I loved it, too. They always made me feel special and loved.

 

And they still do.

 

Come to think of it, maybe I am that spoiled baby sister. But in the best way possible:


 I am spoiled on love.

 

 

 

 

Living Life, Uncategorized

Unraveling Stress

This post is a little different from most of the others I’ve written. But hopefully, will be worth sharing. Life can be worrisome and stressful and we all need a little extra help from time to time, right?

This is a mental exercise on how I unravel a stressful day.

Many years ago, I came up with my own technique for stress management, which sometimes helps me to release at least some of the worry when it all piles up and becomes overwhelming. I am no professional counselor and cannot say that this will help every situation or person, but I want to share this with whoever might find it helpful.

(If I am alone, I’ll do this aloud. Sometimes the best thing to do is get all those negative words that keep replaying in your mind out. I find that speaking them brings relief.)

I often have lively prayer and praise time with the Lord while I’m driving by myself in the car. It’s a great place to pray, sing and just talk and cry it out!

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From time to time, I will have a day that wears heavy on my mind and soul. Not regarding any one stand-out situation, but I just find that I’m mentally weary and tired, and I will realize that I’m stressing about stuff.

I will ask myself, “Ok, why am I so stressed out today?”

I will go through a mental checklist, identifying and separating each circumstance that is causing me to stress. Then I will talk myself through each one.

~Is there anything I can do to remedy or solve this? (with God’s guidance)

~Do I need to make a phone call, take an action, or do I need to talk to someone?

~Is it something I need to do that I’ve been avoiding?

If there’s something I can do to resolve it, then it takes that item off the table so to speak. I can make a plan to take care of it.
However, if I find that it is a situation which I have no control over, and there’s nothing I can do to fix it, I will pray about it and leave it in the Lord’s hands. Maybe the solution is the responsibility of someone else. It is their choice to make, not mine.

I can still be concerned, especially if it has to do with a loved one. After all, the situation doesn’t magically disappear, but by putting it into perspective, as far as my ability to change it, I find the heaviness is at the very least lessened.

It is scientifically proven that stress brings with it unhealthy physical and mental effects. I have found that this method of examining the collective causes of my stress helps bring relief and lightens my weariness.

Oh My Soul – Casting Crowns

I leave you with this:

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“When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.” Proverbs 3:24

 

 

Home Life, Living Life, Uncategorized

June Bugs!

June Bugs. 

At least that’s what we have always called them. The proper name is- Ten lined June Beetle. 

Let me describe this little creature, in case you don’t already know about it. My most sincere apologies to anyone with a bug phobia! I can hear my sisters now saying ‘Ewww!’, and now laughing. 

When I was growing up, this dreaded little bug struck fear into the very depths of my being! 
I was an outdoorsy farm-girl. I loved frogs-and still do-I played with worms, ladybugs and rolly pollys (sow bugs).

I baited my own fishing lines for goodness sakes!

So what is it about these tiny crawly-critters that I hate so much?

First of all, they are not tiny. They are 1- 1 1/2 inches in length and up to 3/4 inch wide, off-white in color with greenish-brown stripes on their hard outer shell. They have large, fuzzy antennae. 

But the worse feature is their long ‘sticky’ legs. By sticky, I mean they stick to things- like screen doors in the summer evenings…and skin…and hair! Makes me cringe just thinking about it.
They come out in the heat of the summer, usually in the later part of the day, and are attracted to the light. So just about every evening, we would find at least one or two of them clinging to the screen door. We could examine and poke at them from the ‘safety’ of the indoors, but wouldn’t dare go out there and risk having them land on us.


Many years ago, after I got married, all the family gathered at my Mother’s house in the summer for a hot dog/marshmallow roast. It was dark outside and we had a big, roaring fire going. It was great fun. But all of a sudden, we were invaded!




June bugs love light and heat, and they began flying all around- oh yes! they fly, too!- and we all started ducking and flailing around, putting whatever we had over our heads, because you do not want one of them landing in your hair, and we dashed for the house! A few of the critters hitched a ride inside with us. Oh my! What an exciting time, right?! Oh, I can laugh about it now!

I forgot to tell you one more thing about June bugs. They hiss! Loudly!

One particular summer evening, two of my sisters and I were rehearsing some songs, using microphone equipment. It was hot and stuffy in the room, so we had opened the door.

All at once, we heard a sound…a hissing sound. We looked around, and there it was.


Sitting on Debbie’s shoulder was a huge June bug, the microphone amplifying it’s already loud hissing! I don’t recall Debbie’s reaction, but I’m certain that if it had been me, there would have been some screeching, and jumping, and carrying on.

I know the unique June bug has a purpose in the balance of nature, although I could do without them!

 
More information and pictures in case you want to know more:

inaturalist.org

(photos- public domain)