Yesterday was a birthday to celebrate for us.
Our oldest grand daughter Faith Elizabeth turned 19. Now she is a full fledged adult and almost ready to drive. Ready to graduate from high school after a few little glitches. We are so proud. She has a nice little job and a nice boyfriend, too. Hard for me to realize she is grown up.
When she was born she arrived almost 8 weeks early weighing in at 2 pounds 11 ounces.
She was beautiful and very alert and strong. She was 17 inches long with very skinny legs. I was amazed at how tiny she was and in reality she was a pretty big baby in the NICU side where she slept.
I remember how we prayed over her and asking for her health to stay strong and her ability to eat good. She was able to go home after 3 weeks weighing just over 3 pounds 9 ounces. So tiny and so precious.
I like this picture it shows her tiny hands.
At 5 1/2 months she weighed not quite 8 pounds. The normal size of most newborns.I love this pre-school picture of her, it was one of my favorites.
I watched her for almost four years then she went to pre-school and a new babysitter who we trusted. It will forever be a special memory for me, the days and hours we spent together.
It is a great thing to be grandma and caretaker too.
. She is grown now and she is beautiful
Our Faith Elizabeth.
Yesterday was a birthday to celebrate for us.
Today is saw a question on face book and it made me stop and think.
It said, “You have 168 hours each week to spend on something. What are you choosing?”
That is a great question and sort of goes back to what I just wrote about.
Frittering away our money, our time and other resources is just plain wasteful.
What would it look like if we purposefully laid out our ‘time’ in focused chunks?
I know when I am writing I set aside a few hours to do that, since it takes time to process.
How much time do I fritter watching TV? or on my phone? or on the internet?
It is a great question of quality vs quantity.
How do we spend our time and how do we decide what matters?
I try to find good honorable choices. Books written by my friends are good.
Reading blogs of those who I know and encourage is good.
How much time do I prepare for meals, or shopping? It seems like the store is my go to place at least a few times a week. Maybe I could better plan using a list (gasp) Yes my husband has suggested a list.
I don’t use one but would it make it easier if I did?
How much time do we waste in a doctor’s office waiting room or sitting in the car in traffic?
Time is a gift to us. If we wake up and we are breathing the rest of the day is a bonus.
It is truly a blessing to be alive so let’s make the best of it and be productive.
Let’s choose to be wise in our time use. Let’s choose to be positive and encouraging.
Let’s choose to be productive and mark off those ‘to do’ items that haven’t been done.
Ready for the challenge? ready to change the chapters of your life for the better?
Let’s press forward and do it.
picture from Toby Mac – speak life
Our Pastor has continued on the new theme of the time is now.
I find it very encouraging and also challenging, for the time is now for many things.
Our personal lives sometimes have new changes coming as we prepare and wait for the ‘newness’ to settle around us in a new home or in a new job.
The school year is soon to be over and the children will be anticipating summer, or making plans for jobs or college if they are old enough.
There will be many choices as to how to spend our time and also where we choose the direction of our goals.
Our Pastor talked about how the enemy prowls around and waits for any thing that can distract us.
He said he hustles our heart for the treasures inside for where our treasure is kept, there is our heart.
That is hard to grasp sometimes.
God doesn’t want something from us he wants something for us.
It is a blessing of spirit, and a generous attitude.
That is way different than we have been told throughout our life time.
When we give our lives to the Lord many blessings rain down upon us as we serve him.
Choices about generosity determine where our heart is resting in.
For instance my husband and I sponsor three little girls in Haiti through compassion ministries.
I feel the small amount that we pay is nothing compared to the larger amount that we fritter away each week; not counting each time we go out to eat, or purchase a ‘must needed item.’
The time is now to make decisions as to where we spend our time and our money in the future.
It is more blessed to give than receive and I see that when we get a letter from these three girls.
Their prayers for us, are precious. Their thank you notes are genuine.
As Pastor said today, “we do not give from our wealth for we all are wealthy.”We give from our heart. God was generous to us first by sending us his son.
He looked at humanity and said, “you can’t ever earn your way to heaven, I will do it for you.”
It was a generous gift. It is for believers only. Pastor said, “it’s like receiving a medal in the Olympics on a raised platform that is used for presentation of what is due.”
We receive it just as a new graduate receives their diploma.
Pastor said, when we are generous we receive our joy. It is all about a heart condition.
The time is now for us to decide, about giving, keeping and being genuine.
It is a blessing of spirit and generosity of choice. What shall we choose?
The other day our Pastor started a six week series called, “The time is now.”
I love to write in a series, it keeps me focused and structured in topic so I am not bouncing around not making sense of anything.
It keeps the message clear and straight forward too.
He started out with the word OP-POR-TU-NI-TY which is a set of circumstances that make it possible to achieve something as in a goal.
Something – is a key word, and circumstance is the other key word.
He said to make the most of every opportunity, asking yourself, what am I doing that will leave the greatest impact on others?
I pray my blog writing does that in some way or other.
He said, opportunity also means time. In the root of the word Chronos refers to time, clock, minutes and hours.
Kairos refers to substance, richness, experiences that have great meaning and quality.
Time can be our biggest enemy if we allow it to be or it can also become our greatest friend.
He said the time is NOW… Never Omit Wonders.
I honestly think this can be also used as a life goal.
Do you want to lose weight and be more physically fit? then eat better and exercise.
If you want learn how to publish articles and be more mature in your writing? then take time to practice.
If you want to change a habit and move forward to a new one? then you must do what needs to be done.
They say it takes six weeks to change a habit.
Six weeks in a series, to reinforce the movement towards growth and maturity.
I read about a guy who was a severe diabetic who had neuropathy so bad he burned his feet and didn’t even know it.
He got a wake up call, to change and to do a 180 turn and learn better life skills and with new ways of eating.
He lost a lot of weight, got healthy and has no more diabetes.
The time is NOW … Never omit wonders… the amazing can happen. If you believe.
The new awareness can be a lifestyle you have wanted for a long time.
It takes effort and decision making to change the something and the circumstance.
Are you ready to start?The crossing over from what was then and what is becoming is NOW, it’s time to begin to never omit wonders.
Do you believe in yourself enough?
Yesterday my daughter lost her cat temporarily. She has two cats and they are indoors only.
It was scary and hard to think about as the temp outside was 90 and very hot.
It moved me back into a memory when we lived in a different city.
At the time our children were pretty little and we had an assortment of dogs and cats at the house.
One of ours was named Moses and he was a yellow striped cat and one day he went missing.
I worried and fretted and didn’t know how to find him.
I walked the neighborhood calling out, “Moses”… wondering if the neighbors were concerned about me.
My husband saw my distress and went for a drive. He came back with a very angry hissing cat.
When you think about the experience it had to have been pretty comical. Here he was fighting this cat.
He was scratched and showing signs of war, the reality was; he had removed someone’s beloved pet off their property and kidnapped it. Poor kitty.
I had the terrible task of telling him it was not my cat and he needed to take it back.
To this day I am not sure what ever happened to old Moses and I chuckle at the thought of the other cat.
The story he could tell if he could talk human language.
The second funny event was in the same house when our black cat went missing for a day.
His name was Spook. Again we were sad and worried and my husband found a black cat on the road.
He for sure said it was Spook and even though I wanted to see him, he didn’t want me to be disturbed.
So we told our children he was killed and they carried on and cried, as we all did.
We planned a time for burial and had a service in a prime spot in the back yard.
We sang songs and discussed with the children how life is sad sometimes and death happens.
A few hours later our friend was outside in the driveway when a ‘black cat’ rubbed against his leg.
Looking down we realized it was OUR cat, our beloved Spook and we obviously buried the wrong cat.
Then we had to explain to the children that ONLY Jesus resurrects from the dead, NOT cats too.
It was a pretty sad but funny time in our home.
Life sure has it’s moments, and my husband is pretty funny too, in his great love for us he would do just about anything.
This Sunday is another Mother’s day. It’s a day for Hallmark cards and flowers and words that say, “Thank you.”
My mother is gone now, and my husband’s mother is too, neither of us have grandmother’s and it’s ok.
We all know mom’s who we can encourage in this journey of motherhood.
It is hard and sometimes weary. If they are married or single it is still a road to walk of sacrifice and giving.
I remember being a young mom and how many times I asked the question, “will I ever rest again?”
Looking back I can say, Yes rest comes, and as we release the burdens we put on ourselves it comes much easier.
If I were to talk to a young mom today I would first say, “chill out.”
“The to do list will always be there, the work is in front of you when you see little smiles, hear little giggles and listen to endless questions, it does get easier and it also gets more difficult. Both are true.
When they are tiny you worry about teething and sleep, then they start to walk and you worry about safety. Then they move into the years before preschool and you wonder if they will ever get out of diapers.
My answer is always yes. I have never seen an older child in them, it does work and they will graduate into the big boy or girl pants. I promise.
The school years you worry and fuss over them and you don’t know if they will grow right since they don’t eat their vegetables or drink their milk. Believe me they will be fine.
Grade school is rough and the kids can be harsh but hang in there and be involved.
After they graduate from junior high you worry and gasp at every ‘thought’ of them going to dances or dating.
Believe me I tell young mom’s it is so much easier when they are tiny ones at least you know who their friends are and where they sleep at night.
High school is whole other topic. They are growing into themselves, they are making choices on their own.
They must do that in order to develop and mature. Do not take that away from them.
You cannot make all decisions or do all things for them. They must grow and in that growing they will fail and make wrong choices.
Your job is not judging your job is encouraging and walking alongside them like a cheerleader.
They need a mom who believes in them with a knowing ‘deep in their heart’, “My mom will be here no matter what.”
The role of a mom is a difficult one. We are asked to give our selves on many levels for many years.
It is a great honor to watch your child develop and grow into a man or woman of character and maturity.
At the end of that road you can pat yourself on the back, put lotion on those praying knees, and thank God that it all worked out. Believe me mom’s your heart will stretch and stretch more when you become a mom.
I say, chill out, and enjoy these moments, from a mom who has grown children. This too will pass much more quickly then you can ever imagine, then it all starts over when you become a grandma.”
In the middle of a stress filled week; I am listening.
Seeking the direction of my writing and searching the ways that I will continue to share.
There is power in the seeking.
There is also power in the waiting and resting.
I cannot always allow myself to feel overwhelmed or fatigued by ‘personal goals’.
This place of writing is a sacred place for me.
It is not only my outlet for others to share life with me but also a place of healing.
I have shared matters of my heart to those who read and choose to understand me.
I have also shared struggles and joys.
It is good to be open and vulnerable and also know that even in the word it says, “be still and know.”
Life has taken a little skip these last few weeks; as I have had dental appointments and vision appointments.
Growing old is not for the faint of heart.
I have had to push myself deep in order to do the testing or the correcting that was needed.
Both appointments pushed my comfort zone far into the ‘non’ wanting to be there zone.
I am strong and resilient and did survive.
It was not easy but who said life is? We are here to grow and I feel I did through these experiences.
I do not like doctor appointments or dental appointments. I really don’t like to be messed with.
Sometimes we must do what we don’t like in order to find out what is wrong.
I learned to breathe.
I learned to push myself into a place within me that is a ‘survive and it will be over soon’.
Have you ever had those moments where you just don’t want to be there?
WE all have those at some point in time.
The moral of the story is this, we will get through it and we will then have something to share.
It might be good or it could be not so good; but either way we will take our experience and learn something from it, I think it’s the only way to survive those uncomfortable ‘moments’ in this path of life.
The hardest part of writing is coming to the terms of what it means for me and also to realize that I am learning to be better.
It is a journey of believing in myself and believing in the process as I move through it.
In the writers group that I am in they said the other day, “We already are and we are also becoming.”
That brings me hope and restores the vision for me.
They said for us to write for ourselves, not following a mold that someone else laid out.
“A good writer is comfortable with themselves and shares all that they are to the reader.”
I share a lot of who I am with the reader, and yet I also hold back some truths.
They told us, “The right people will get you – they are the ones you are sent to serve.”
That is another word of encouragement because those who have cheered me on in this process are those people who are family or good friends.
They know my heart and my desire to ‘tell the story’ in whatever way I need to.
Writing is a lonely process and so many times I find myself up here in my room, isolated from others.
In saying that it is also a powerful time of listening and leaning in towards the words that are forming.
The writers group told us, “you want your voice to come through and be heard.”
Yes that is very true. I tend to write the same way I talk in real life, it is from my heart.
My words need to paint a picture of hope and encouragement while telling whatever story at the time.
They told us this week; that this is about the journey not the destination.
It takes a lot of time and effort to write on a continual basis.
Just as in any other commitment it is daily and even sometimes hourly.
We ‘writers’ learn to carry paper with us in case a line or two comes to us in a store or wherever we may be at the time of ‘listening.’
The other thing we learned this week is to practice rest.
When our mind is rested and not cluttered with many things we can write more clear and more real.
So the goal this week is to rest, listen and to write.
I pray you stay with me as I move through this process.
After my last writing I asked my husband what he thought about it.
I wasn’t sure where to go next, since the writings about the family story has ended; and I didn’t have a clear new direction.
He said with great enthusiasm and firmness, “That is the way I like to see you write. You do your best when you write from your heart.”
I have tried to write honestly while gently opening up some of the hurt and pain of growing up.
It is a challenge to paint the pictures with words so that those who are reading can sense or feel the scenes in a very real way.
Recently I have joined a professional writer’s group and one of the comments they said is this,
“If you have been given a message from God you can’t bless anyone if you don’t speak it.”
That was such an encouragement for me.
It was like a tall glass of refreshing water on a hot day.
I want to write and feel that it has been a gift given to me, but at the same time I don’t want to keep repeating the same stories over and over.
It is my heart’s desire to share life with the readers who choose to read in this space.
The writer’s group said, “you have been asked to share your message, so how are you going to do it?”
What a challenging question. To write within a conversation with those who are reading.
Telling a story that brings not only a ray of hope in a world that doesn’t offer it and also a vision of life changing truth.
The writer’s group said, “This is why it matters. When you write with your real authentic self, when you have fun with your words and be yourself, you will have readers that will return over and over.”
That is my hope. To tell the stories from my perspective, without causing harm.
If it’s real, and raw and close to your heart, the sharing will come natural.
That is my prayer.
“Never be ashamed of a scar, it simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.”
Now that I have shared part of my story, I think it let’s the reader know a little more about me.
The other idea I have come to terms with lately is the aspect of DNA… and connection.
My husband and I did a test that let’s a person know their DNA and where the family tree fits.
It is very interesting to see how generations of ‘family’ traveled to different regions.
It also shows the make-up of their heritage. For instance we are Irish, Scottish and some German.
With a little bit of other people groups thrown in there.
My husband’s family is made up of other people group’s much different than we thought, it is very fascinating to look at the data.
When I first met my dad, I was amazed as was my husband, how much I was like him.
Not being raised by him, not seeing him every day, I still had mannerisms and character traits that were very similar to his, even a bit of his humor.
We were related because of genetics and I was my dad’s daughter on many levels.
My husband and I often would joke about how stubborn I was, or how determined.
But it was another confirmation of ‘dad’ that I carried within me.
His ‘strong’ will and determination, took him to many places with different results.
I have often heard of stories of twins who were separated at birth, yet when they found each other they had made very similar ‘life patterns and choices.’
Genetics play a huge role in that.
I guess we can say the same ‘concept’ could apply to God as our ‘spiritual’ father; since we are uniquely made in his image with his ‘heart’ print placed upon us.
In Psalm 139 the words say: ”
[13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.]
Isn’t it both amazing and wonderful to see and understand the genetic aspect of who we are?
I find it interesting and not only that, I find it to be a wonderful confirmation for me.
God knew us before we were even a tiny thought in our parents eyes and heart.
He formed us, and knitted us together to be the unique person we were to become.
That is definitely ‘something to think about.’