Live, Laugh, Love


Living is what we do daily and how we do it greatly impacts everyone around us.

Have you ever noticed that laughter is contagious? Think about it – name one time that regardless of the circumstances you were unable to at least smile inside over the deep, real, engaging laughter of someone truly happy about something. And you can tell – a fake laugh never makes it to the eyes. For an example of truly happy laughter watch a child abandon themselves to it.

Their eyes light up, they grab their tummy, and they roll with it. The entire body gets involved in true laughter. And with cheeks hurting, sides splitting, and breath coming in short gasps – you feel a release inside. A welling up of happiness, satisfaction, and peace.

They say laughter is the best medicine and in some cases they’re right. Laughter allows our body to produce chemicals that make us feel better. The better we feel the more we laugh… the more of the chemicals our brain produces, and the better we feel… it’s an amazingly beautiful circle of life – that most of us pass up in lieu of more important things

School, work, chores, home, bills, children, responsibilities. These things all take a toll on our ability to laugh freely and with abandon. Or at least we generally give them the power to do so. Have you ever opened a bill and started laughing? No, not many people do – unless it’s the sarcastic “they really think I have that kind of money” type of laugh.

No, adults tend to have more and more on their plates to prevent that whole-hearted laughter from pressing in and making them feel better.

Without laughter this no real living. Without true living there is no real love.

We must learn to embrace this life with laughter. Find the humor in the small things and let yourself get carried away with it from time to time. It won’t hurt – I promise… well… maybe just a little soreness in the cheeks from smiling and in the ribs from laughing… but it’s a good pain – and the great feelings you get are worth it.

Want an even better feeling? Lose it with your kids! Show them how to laugh with such utter abandon that you literally roll on the floor laughing out loud. They’ll enjoy it, and I promise – so will you!

What makes you laugh out loud?

Anticipation


June is almost upon us. I find this remarkable. It seems that just yesterday we were celebrating the new year – and now suddenly we’re six months in! Whew – talk about time flying.

We are supposed to start shopping for our homestead this month. Choosing a property to which we will retire and become self sustaining. I anticipate this being many things… a lot of work, exciting, and even heart rending I’m sure as we agonize over which place will suit us best.

I want to be closer to my grandsons – and am being pulled in that direction. Yet I don’t really want to leave these mountains, and I honestly don’t think he does either. So… we shall shop – and we shall find that perfect place… the one for us. And we shall homestead the hell out of it.

What about you, what would  you look for in a new abode?

On Forgivness


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On Forgiveness

You guys who’ve been around awhile know that last year was a long year for me. Lots going on, things that weren’t so happy and things that were. One of the “not so happy” things was the loss of a friendship that I’d had for quite some time. And while I’m totally okay with the choices of said friendI am not okay with how things were left between us. Mostly, because I think this person believes (incorrectly) that I am waiting around for them to return.

So… with that said – let me just clear the air for you a bit dear former friend.

A few months back you were kind enough to contact me and let me know my dog had died… you didn’t want me to “find out via FB”.  Kind of you for certain. Then not long after it was that your husband was sick.

During that conversation you said something that has burned in my head for all this time. I just have to respond.

You said “I want you to know you’re forgiven”.

For what are you forgiving me, exactly? Because, I didn’t do anything to you. I neglected to share with you that your husbands best friend was not my choice for a permanent life partner. Mostly because he was your husbands best friend. Just… no. sorry. I’ve known you for 12 years. You can’t keep anything to yourself. It wasn’t information to be shared. So, I kept my mouth shut… Until all parties directly involved knew. That made you mad enough to spit nails… and in a small way – it hurt your feelings. However, again I’ve known you for a long time – what followed wasn’t hurt feelings… no… what followed was just plain vindictive mad.

You trashed me to anyone who would listen. You called me every name in the book. You made sure every single person around you knew how much you despised me. How I used you. How I hurt you. And yet, I never said a word about how what you were doing hurt me. How I felt that you called me a user. That you stole from me, and wanted me to PAY YOU FOR IT and that you attempted to steal things that were of great sentimental value. That you put me in the same category with others that you felt had intentionally done things to hurt you. My choices were never about YOU. But you made it all about you. And I was the evil person who crossed you.

You know, at first I was hurt beyond belief that you would make such a huge mess of our relationship over this. After all, I had apologized, begged forgiveness and practically prostrated myself before you just for those three little words – you are forgiven. And if they’d been said at any earlier point in the mess – I would have rejoiced, jumped for joy, and been delusionally happy.

But you waited too long. You offered too little, too late. You see, you gave me plenty of time to analyze my actions, talk them all through with my God, and realize that I didn’t need forgiveness from YOU. As if you were some benevolent god who held my future in your hand… Nope… you’re just some controlling busy body who believes the entire world should follow her advice and that we can’t be your friend if we aren’t following your prescription for our lives. I don’t need your forgiveness – I have the only forgiveness that matters – and I didn’t have to grovel for it either… I only had to ask; and it was given freely – without guilt.

And now, because He forgave me so willingly and completely, I am able to say that I forgive YOU. Yes… you heard me right. I forgive you. For all of it. Every single thing you did that I know about… and all the things you did that I don’t know about. I forgive you. I refuse to allow my anger and near hatred of you spoil my life any longer. Your hold on me is gone. I find that from this point forward… I truly and honestly do not care what you think about me or my life.

I have a God who protects me, and provides for all of my needs. I have an amazing job. I’ve got family and friends around me, who love and support me regardless of my choices. I love and am loved by a man who treats me like a queen and has proved to be exactly what God wants for me. I don’t need your approval, I don’t need your friendship, and I most certainly do not need your judgement. Nor do I want any of it.

The last year, and even most importantly the last two months, have taught me that I don’t need the approval of earthly beings to be complete. I don’t need you to proclaim me worthy to be worthy. I always thought of you as a certain type of role model – such a good christian wife and mother…but once you scratch the surface… the interior is dirty, ugly, and foul.  You have put a face on for the world to see, but behind that face – you’re just like everyone else… a sinner, tarnished by sin and unrighteousness.

I hid behind a beautiful facade for a while myself. But this is me – clean before my Lord. I am doing exactly as He has commanded me to do. I forgive you. I love you with all my heart – as a sister in Christ and one who I once counted a “best friend”. I will always love you.

I will not however ever have that relationship with you again. Just because I’ve forgiven, and will forget the hurts… does not mean I’ll ever be able to allow them to happen again. That is truly where the struggle lies – in letting you go completely. However, I know that for me to achieve true forgiveness, I must let go – and let God do his work.

I hope that you have a nice life. I hope that God heals your husband – for you and your children’s sake. I hope that your parents live long and prosperous lives and that you don’t have to face losing them any time soon. I hope and pray for all the best for you and yours. I truly do. I love you friend. May Gods blessings rain down upon you and make your life a joy to live. May you find in Him true love and forgiveness; for that is all one really needs on this earth.

A Sunday Musing.

Turning of Events


After work the other night, I got sick to my stomach. I don’t know what caused it… I just know that even my pheneregen from Norovirus didn’t stop my vomiting. But then something weird happened. I started having pain in my chest, neck, arm, and shoulder… like really bad. I took one of my regular pain meds and went to sleep. About 3am it woke me up, and kept me up part of the morning. When I got up to go to work around 8 am it wasn’t too bad, but it gradually kept getting worse, and worse. So, off to the ER we went.

I got there just after 9 and was taken right back… they ran an EKG and ruled out my heart, but the chest xray showed what looked like a spot of pneumonia. They drew a bunch of blood…and something in the blood work was high so they sent me off for a CT scan.Apparently the blood work was similar to that of someone with blood clot in the lung.   then came back with these big bottles of fluid and drew more blood, a sample from each side of my body – which I thought was odd. They said they wanted to see what type of bacteria it was. I’ve had pneumonia several times before, and this has never happened….

A while later they came back in the room and told me that what the found in the CT looked like tumors. Also that a couple of lymph nodes are involved. I met with an oncologist Tuesday morning at 9. He’s sending me for an MRI tomorrow, a biopsy on Monday, and a PET scan on Sunday the 2nd. I’ll meet with my doctor again. We will know then what we’re dealing with and how we’re going to do it.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m scared. I don’t know what what is going to come. I do know that I’m trusting that God has control of the situation and will carry me through it. I believe that I will be okay. I intend to fight for the ability to watch my beautiful grandkids grow up and start their own families. I want to see my great grand children.

I guess this is a new chapter in my life. One that I face with faith, and the strength that comes only from God. With the love and prayers of others I will make it through this.

I’ll be posting a bit more as I have time. I’m going to try and work as much as possible during this time too, just to keep my insurance current and paid .

So – send me your prayers guys – I’ll take every one I can get.

Thanks!

 

The Good Wife


I know what you’re thinking, and no… while I did watch The Good Wife the first season and found it enjoyable – this post is not in fact about the show.

It’s about something else altogether – something kind of different from our dear wife on television.

This is about the true definition of a Good Wife. The one set forth in Proverbs 31  – and what she might look like today.

Proverbs 31:10-31

English Standard Version (ESV)

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10 An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.

I want to take just a moment to stop here and really look at these first three verses. As women, this is something we see our entire lives. We look for someone who sees us as more precious than jewels, who trusts us implicitly in all things, and that we never feel the need to walk away from.  What kind of woman does it take to snare a man like this… well – read on!
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.

Now I see this as the typical working mom here. This is the one we all know (and sort of envy a little). Even though we know she works tremendous hours… she still has time to:
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.

Yeah, that gal – the one that’s up two hours before she needs to be because she cannot trust her family’s nutrition to just anyone. They will leave her care well fed from a home cooked breakfast.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.

The powerhouse executive, who still makes plenty of time to make every single ballet recital, AWANA award ceremony, and Sunday morning program. She is a career woman, yes… but her family is an always will be a top priority in her life and it shows.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.

And with everything else she has going on she still finds time to volunteer at the shelter, or church… never hesitates to prepare an extra meal for a family in need; and is usually the first name on the list for the prayer chain.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.

If she doesn’t make them herself, she makes certain that her clothing and that of her family is a compliment to her husband and herself. She ensures that without wasting money, they all look good and wear clothing that is comfortable and clean. She doesn’t squander, but man she can make her kids look so cute with bargain finds!
23 Her husband is known in the gates
when he sits among the elders of the land.

The fact that she is an amazing wife and mother shows in the fact that she is also an amazing friend and coworker. She’s known by everyone around her as one of the nicest and most giving people you’ll ever meet. Yet she is a fierce prayer warrior who stands in intercession for any and all who ask.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

She never fails to be on time and ready with anything she needs to do. She shows the world her grace and silent strength. She does not fear the end of time for she knows her heart and the hearts of those she loves are right with the Lord and they will join him one day in His Kingdom.

27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

She does not spend her spare time “catching up on Facebook” or doing unnecessary tasks. She spends her spare time doing things that have meaning, and that benefit her family.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

Nobody has anything bad to say about this woman. She is loved by everyone she meets. She does not evoke jealousy among other women for they long to model themselves after her, and treasure her friendship and open advice. Her children nominate her for “Mom of the Year” every single year, and the essays they write bring tears to the judges eyes. Her husbands eyes never roam, for he knows that his heart, hearth, and home are are top priority and he loves the fact that she has eyes only for him. She makes him proud in the way she handles not only their household, but her working and church life as well.

This is the wife we should all strive to be. The woman we should all desire to become. The prescription for the Good Wife is right here in Proverbs. We could learn so much from her. We could become this wife – should we only try.

How do you see the Proverbs 31 wife?

 

Welcome 2014!


One year ago, I was in a deeply dark place in my life. I contemplated all manner of ways to get out of that dark place, and I made some unpopular choices. Unpopular with some because I wasn’t choosing to live my life the way they felt I should. Unpopular with others because it directly affected them in a negative way. I’ve made my peace with all of that, and hope that one day they too will make peace and learn to truly forgive.

Today I stand on the cusp of a bright new year and all that it brings – new opportunities to share my life experiences, new chances to help others, and new experiences to enjoy.

It also brings the opportunity to bring about more change.

I’m ready. I’m willing. I’m Excited!

2014 promises to bring amazing joys and triumphs. I for one am waiting with baited breath to see what some of that will look like.

I’ll be celebrating an anniversary this month – one year in the arms of a man I never thought I’d speak to again – much less have the opportunity to share my life with again. I am so truly blessed and awed by his unconditional love and devotion to me. His innate desire to please me, make me feel loved, and show me each day how much I mean to him. He has done more for my self-esteem and heart in the last year than I felt from my previous relationship in 10 years. I’m the most important thing in his life – and he shows me every single day just how true that is. Everything he does he does for me.

I have learned so much about myself in the past year. I have learned to truly love again, and it feels amazing.

I’ve always lived my life knowing that everything happens for a reason. We are put in others lives for a purpose. We are removed from, or remove ourselves from others lives for a reason. God has an ultimate plan in everything that happens… and His plan will be served regardless of our desires. Look at Jonah – he tried so hard to run from what God wanted of him… but in the end, God did what God was gonna do… and he used a whale to do it.

I firmly believe that I am where I am today because it is truly what God intended for my life in the beginning.

 

 

So, hello 2014 – I cannot wait to see what you bring!

Quiet Reflection


I am consistently reminded of how much I don’t know. How much I falter, and step down instead of up. How much I rely upon myself, instead of relying upon my Maker, Creator, my God.

Today it has been on me to write a little about my favorite verse of the Bible.  Romans 8:28

It goes like this:

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Wow. That is pretty powerful, at least in my mind. All things work together for good – so that cup of sugar I dumped on the kitchen floor this morning, that made me 10 minutes late leaving the house? I could say that it probably saved my life – if I had left on time, I would have been the car in the intersection when the semi lost his brakes and plowed through another large vehicle (no one was killed – thank God). But that could have been me.

Now, I know you’re thinking it was just coincidence that I spilled that sugar, then saw an accident that happened just as I would have been in the intersection. That’s alright – it’s what skeptics do, and I love you just the same.

But God didn’t leave us with just this promise – he left us with much more. The passage goes on to read:

29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Wait… what did you say, God? You predestined me to be conformed to the image of your Son? He is the firstborn of many brothers – my brothers in Him? Wow. Thank you, God for seeing in me something I never saw before. I am so beautiful and precious in Your eyes – and I never saw it in myself.  Even more goodness follows this:

30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Glorified? So… let me get this straight – you Glorified me? Wow! Some days I don’t feel glorious, glorified, or anything like it… but You said that I am… How special! But why God, why would you do this for me, a simple sinner who is not worthy of you?

Well… that too is explained:

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  (OK I have to admit, this makes me feel pretty powerful, doesn’t it you)?

32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Wow… he sent his Son, his only Son – his precious baby boy to death… For me. For you. For the world. and He will stand against any power that comes against us, if we simply accept His Son! (John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”) Wow. OK, so He loved this world so much that he allowed His only Son to die and bring eternal life to us… that’s Love!

And that’s something that cannot be taken away from us – even if we are suffering with financial issues, pain, bullies, hunger, homelessness, or danger – it does not matter! See, He says so:

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

He says plainly – we are more than conquerors through Him.

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Wow… Nothing can take us away from His love because of Jesus. He willingly sacrificed His Son, to bring us this wonderful gift. What are we willing to sacrifice for Him?

Just a thought…

Happy Sunday!