Living Life, Uncategorized

Should I or Shouldn’t I

I am not a risk-taker. There are pros and cons to that. pexels-photo-555709

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Growing up, I did have a few moments of carefree adventure. For instance, I spent many, many hours riding our horses, galloping down the dirt roads in the middle of hop fields and orchards, and setting up small obstacles, which my horse and I would fly over.

 

 

I drove my Chevy Nova much too fast down the back county roads, while I’m certain my guardian angels were busy trying to keep up.

 

I will end my confessions of reckless behavior right there!

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There is one phobia which kept my feet on the ground for most of my adult life: the fear of flying. A time or two, I would try to imagine myself getting on an airplane and going to my dream destination, but the thought of boarding and taking off on that plane, would cause anxiety to rise up in the pit of my stomach. However, I’ve always said I would do it if it was for one of my children.

 

The point came in my life where it was time to face that fear head-on and conquer new experiences!

 

At the time, I was working for a small but dedicated and growing non-profit organization in my community. As part of the staff, I was to be included in the trip to the annual conference, held on the eastern side of the United States. Although my initial thoughts were filled with apprehension, I was also excited for this opportunity to grow in my job skills, to be part of the growth of this wonderful organization, and yes, I was also ready to conquer the fear that had kept me secluded in my little corner of the country.

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As I prepared for this new experience, I did not allow myself to dwell on fear. I would be in the company of several co-workers, experienced flyers, and the excitement felt really  good!

 

The most difficult moments of the entire adventure were walking onto that first airplane, and the first take-off!

 

As I walked down the corridor towards the plane and it hit me that I was really doing this, I just kept silently talking to myself, “Just breath…Just slow down the breathing, just breath…. Just walk and breath“.

 

Once seated, I was still having that conversation with myself, as my co-worker, who was seated next to me and knew this was a first for me, reassured me and engaged me in light conversation.

I might have appeared to have it all together, but inside, the dialog continued. I did not want to be one of those people who faint. Oh! I could have easily been THAT person!

No, just breath. Slow, steady, intentional… just breath!” And I prayed a lot!

 

The surging power of the airplane during take-off was also cause for my apprehension and calculated breathing efforts, but once in the air, and as I peered out the window, the sight of the earth at that altitude replaced my anxiety with wonder and awe. Once the plane ascended above the clouds, I was certain we weren’t far from heaven itself, as I had never before seen such a thing of beauty as the brilliant sunbeams, shining across the great expanse of clouds, highlighted the texture and depth of each one, and they glowed brilliant white! It was so beautiful!

 

The next challenge involved my short legs moving as fast as they possibly could in order to keep up with my seasoned-flyer co-workers, as they nearly sprinted to the next gate, through these small cities they call terminals, so as not to miss the next flight!

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I’ll never forget it, or all the wonderful experiences as I took in new sights, tastes, and met so many kind and interesting people! This one was worth the risk!

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Risky

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Living Life, Uncategorized

That’s Not Who I Am

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My husband and I took our teenage son for a dental check-up, and at the same time, my daughter was to be seen for the tooth pain which remained since her prior appointment, at which time she had some fillings done.

 

That prior appointment, which my husband took her to, was uncharacteristically  difficult and very painful. The cavity was deep, requiring two numbing injections, which still did not deaden all the pain. But she just layed there and tried to get it through it, while squirming and with tears running down the side of her face. You would think the hygienist would have known she was having difficulty and tried to help.

 

When she got home, she was very upset and never wanted to go back. This is the dental office she has been going to since she was 4 years old. So as her parent, I felt it was important to let them know what she had experienced, because it had never happened before. Not to speak badly about anyone, not to get anyone in trouble, and not in anger.

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Fast forward to our appointment yesterday. I am speaking for my daughter, because that’s what parents are supposed to do, right? Advocate for them when needed? Be their voice?

 

We are escorted to a room by a young woman, and Andy and I mentioned to her about Meg’s previous difficult appointment and that she experienced a lot of pain.

 

 

The woman begins talking about their pain management… sometimes there is pain… they do what they can, etc…… never taking a breath, never pausing to allow me to speak, just continuing on and on…. Not showing any concern, no interest in my daughter’s experience, not one word or facial expression of sympathy or empathy. I had not even begun to speak yet. Honestly, I was waiting for a chance to jump in at the slightest pause in her run-on sentences.

 

She then asked what my daughter was here today for. But because I had not been able to speak yet, I back-tracked and tried to tell her about that difficult appointment, not just the pain, but that it was so bad she didn’t want to come back. The woman interrupted me and didn’t allow me to speak. (I have been sitting down this whole time, my husband and my two kids are standing there listening)

 

 

So I held up my hands to gesture for her to wait, and I said, “Listen…”, never raising the tone of my voice.

 

 

She looks at me and says, “I feel like you are being aggressive with me, so I’m going to go get my manager.” And she walks out the door, as I find myself almost speechless, and words fumble out of my mouth as I try to tell her that I am not trying to be aggressive.

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We are all in shock, and I was torn between wanting to laugh and being in total disbelief! What? What just happened? I barely even got to speak. We couldn’t believe what just happened!

 

Let me tell you right now. I HATE confrontation! I hate it with a passion! I don’t do confrontation well at all! I am a peace-lover! I never speak up for myself, and I rarely share any opinion which I think might cause controversy or debate. I rarely speak up about anything!

 

I don’t like feeling like I don’t have the freedom to use my voice like others do, but that’s how I’ve always been. And because I avoid conflict, when it happens it takes a while for me to process it, and it upsets me.

 

 

Another thing I don’t like about my temperament is that when I get angry or upset, eventually, it escapes my body through tears. Just the way I process the adrenalin rush of emotion I guess. And I hate it, because I cannot say what I need to say in the way I want to say it, and the other person just gives me that look, and doesn’t take me seriously.

 

 

So here I go, I advocate for my child, I speak up for her, and this is what happens! 

 

 

Praise God, the manager and the dental tech who came to help were super nice and were receptive and accepting when I apologized that the other woman interpreted what I said as aggressive, and assured them that I did not behave in that manner. And she listened when I explained why I was trying to speak for my daughter. She apologized for the incident.

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But I’ll be honest, I’ve struggled with it, even though I don’t feel that I was in the wrong, and Andy assures me that I was not being rude whatsoever. I told my sister I would let it go, and I’m trying.

 

But it hit me on a personal level and has made me question who I am as a person. Is that really how I come across? Is that how other people perceive me as well? I’m not perfect, I get attitudes and have bad moods, too. I get irritated, frustrated, and impatient just like every other living, breathing human being. But aggressive? Really? Is that the impression I leave on people? Am I that horrible?

 

I know where those questions are coming from. They come from my spiritual enemy, the one who knows the things that will knock the wind out of my sails, and rob me of any confidence or joy which abides in my spirit.

 

But here’s what I do know. I know that is not how I’m wired, though I may have moments that I’m not proud of, just like everyone else. God wired me for peace and simplicity, it’s where I’m most happy and content. I like kindness, civility, pleasant exchanges of words even if they are of a more serious nature, hearing others’ ideas, opinions and viewpoints with mutual respect and intentional listening.

 

 

So this is me, shaking this off, not excepting the self-loathing view of myself this has threatened to darken my spirit with. Although I’m certain I will have my share of less-than-amicable moments in my lifetime, I know that is not my true nature, that those who truly know me understand who I am, and the only good thing to come of this situation is that I can be more careful that my words and actions reflect who God created me to be.

 

 

Faith, Uncategorized

Adorned In His Righteousness

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.  Isaiah 61:10

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Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  1 Peter 3:3-4  (I am not trying to say here that we should not fix our hair, or dress nicely, etc. But I see this scripture saying that our true beauty as human beings is more than what those things may define it as, with the second part of the passage describing from where our beauty should be rooted.)

 

I was attending preschool in the small city where we lived. It was nearly summer, and my class went on a special outing to the city swimming pool.

 

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The city park had a separate, very nice kiddie pool. The large, round pool was a small child’s delight, where one could play and splash with abandon. Evenly spaced around the perimeter of the circular-shaped pool, were small fountains which sprayed water up and into the pool.
Some memories are embedded in our minds because they are marked by strong emotions, so although I was quite young, I have never forgotten this particular day.

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That day, my Mother dressed me in a red, one-piece, very plain swimsuit. I remember clearly like it was yesterday, feeling so terrible in it. Even at preschool age, I apparently had some awareness of fashion, or perhaps it was an early introduction to peer pressure, comparing my attire to that of the other girls. Either way, to that small, shy girl, it was not a good day.

 

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I felt ashamed, embarrassed, and I sat along the shallow edge of the pool that day hanging my head and crying. I didn’t want to play.
I can still see myself sitting there. I would liken it to going to the prom dressed in a plain, hand-me-down, dull, lifeless dress, while all the other girls wore beautiful, sparkly gowns. You would want to find a corner to shrink into.

 

 

That’s what I felt that day. I’m not blaming my Mom. She was a busy mother with limited resources, and I’m sure she dressed me in something we already had, and probably thought it decent and adequate. I can only speculate that my teacher must have spoken to my mother about what took place that day.

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What I can tell you is that my wise Mother put her seamstress skills to work that evening, hand-crafting a new swimsuit for me. The next day, when my preschool class went to the pool, I donned a cute, two-pieced, brightly colored swimsuit!

 

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My countenance changed, and I played and splashed, laughed and dipped along with all the other children! (This too, I remember like it was yesterday.) I was a different child. I didn’t feel like a shy girl that day!

 

 

 

What I wore that second day changed my countenance! It changed how I felt inside.
And what I felt inside, showed on the outside.

 

Oh, you know there is a life-lesson in this story, right!?

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In a secular sense, we change our outward appearance in order to change how we feel on the inside.

 

But God works differently. He begins on the inside of our being, and the inner changes manifest in our outward reflection.

 

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When we no longer keep God confined to the sidelines of our lives, but invite Him to dwell within us, becoming vulnerable and moldable, surrendering our will to His, we are changed from the inside, out.

 

When we allow God to change us on the inside, His righteousness and His goodness begins to manifest in our thoughts, words, and deeds, and we begin to reflect the characteristics of Christ.

 

 

Although His love and abiding presence brings humility to our nature, we don’t hang our heads in shame. No!
Our spirits soar, and dance, and play with delight in Him!
We no longer wear that dull, lifeless old swimsuit. We have a new suit! It is new, and colorful, and it was fashioned by our Father’s own hands!

 

 

Shake off the shame of that old suit, and raise your hands in freedom and joy and dance in your new suit!

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Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.   Colossians 3:12-14