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The self talk that almost stopped me

The self talk that almost stopped me in the beginning was the negative process of words.
I didn’t have enough belief in myself to think that I could actually write something, that would have impact on someone who was reading.
Growing up in a home that was not encouraging it was really hard for me to pull up, “you got this” even after all those years.
Not only was it hard to write the words; the scariest part was to even imagine someone reading them.
My counselor was paid to read and reflect with me.
That is so much different than someone ‘reading’ because they want to.
One of the scariest things I have ever done was to open the blog to the general public or audience of who I didn’t even know.
My mind was full of ‘what if’s .
What if it wasn’t good enough, what if I embarrassed myself, what if I failed miserably, what if someone chooses to steal my words?
So much that could discourage a young writer and I had to make the decision to not listen, to the what if fears, for it could smother all creativity and was that the purpose?
No the purpose was to share from my heart and to follow the leading of what God had began.
Philipians 1:6
[being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.]
I had to trust in this process and continue on just as anyone who wants to be better.
If you want to learn how to hike, you buy good shoes, good socks, you create a path and you move forward.
Every step is a direct result of wanting new results and new hopes for yourself.
We don’t challenge ourselves when we stop. We challenge ourselves when we move past the fears.
Occasionally I would receive a good word from someone and even though it was hard to receive, it was a building block of belief for me.
In order to do what God had pressed within me through the power of suggestion, I had to write on a regular schedule and I had to not worry.
The journey continues and hopefully will continue as time allows. The story is not finished till the words are all shared. (path photo from Laurie H in west linn) .

This beginnning of the story as I moved forward

The beginning of the story as I moved forward; was to learn how the blending mixture of words worked for me throughout the process of writing.
As I sorted out the reason why I wanted to write the challenge was becoming more clear.
Not only did my husband challenge me but I challenged myself in discovering what was important.
In the earlier years when I was growing up journaling was my way of putting feelings on paper so I didn’t have to hold them in so much.
In counseling it is a powerful process of healing and sharing for sometimes words cannot be spoken but they can be written without any rules.
It is a healing place to share and to let the words find their place in a solid form on paper.
In therapy I knew my counselor would read the words before I got in the room so we had ‘topic’ to work on.
When writing on the blog, I didn’t allow myself to think of who would read them or have fear of the power of words that were written.
I just moved forward in baby steps feeling confident that this was a good direction.
As the blog emerged the lessons learned through the process of discovery were; to find a name, find a banner or heading and figure out a brand.
I didn’t know what all that meant but as it took place the birth of the blog happened.
A very special friend of ours made the heading banner for me which is exactly what I wanted.
At the time there were free sites that would hold your blog as a service so I began on blogger.
It was easy to figure out and since I was a new ‘writer’ I didn’t have the expert advise showing me what to do or not to do.
As I grew in the knowledge I realized that the Lord was leading me each direction and as I took courses it was clear to me that what they were sharing was already done.
How funny it was to me that I didn’t even know what I was doing, yet I was doing it right.
I made business cards that looked the same as the blog name and I made it personal using the three crosses that are found at camp Winema on the Oregon coast.Everything needed to match and what I wanted to create was identity.
The goal was to have something personal and creative so that every time someone saw that name it would be a connection to my blog.
This is the beginning of the story and the reasons why I have chosen to write, connection and identity.
In sharing some of my story or writings I hope it can challenge others to do the same.
Without the risk we lose the opportunity to bless others.

The journey of writing began after I decided to retire

The journey of writing began months after my decision to retire from my pharmacy job.
After working full time for many years, it was both refreshing to have free time and a little bit confusing as to what my days would look like.
I found myself slightly bored and not sure of what to do with the time that was now available to me.
My husband mentioned that I should start a blog.
I had no idea what a blog was and I didn’t have any idea what I would write about.
Why would I think anyone would want to read anything I would put on a page?
My husband again challenged me to tell my story.
Since I was still in counseling at the time I didn’t know what that would look like.
My counselor shared with me his feelings on the idea and told me he felt I was qualified to write.
So one day I sat down in front of the computer and googled blog and then googled blog sites and figured out; after a time of prayer what I wanted ‘my personal page to look like.’
I learned how to pace myself and how to take baby steps and how to share things that were once hidden.
I didn’t want anyone to read the words for it was personal to me and very similar to a diary.
Tapping on the keyboard brought healing as I put into words the feelings that were stored away.
The first few years the blog was private only for those who I chose to be active readers.
I was scared of criticism and also scared of sharing my part of what I remembered about life growing up.
I had to face those feelings and allow myself to write in an open hearted way without fear of judgement.
For a few weeks I may bring out a few of those old writings.
It began in the year 2010 and here I am in 2018 still writing and still sharing.
Only time has matured my style and ways of getting around a sentence.
I didn’t want to make my blog public but again my husband said, “If you were to write a book, would you always know who was going to read it or purchase it?”
No of course not. The idea is to write a book and sell it to whoever likes it. That was his point.
He said to me, “tell your story so others can be blessed by it.”
The journey of writing began when I finally decided to not hide anymore.
Hopefully in sharing some of those early posts you can see how far ‘I have come’… in my healing. The fear is not in starting our journey. It is not being true to ourselves to finish it.

After we have challenged ourselves

After we have challenged ourselves to think in different ways and think of different words to use.
It would be fair for us to say, ‘this is new and I need time’ to learn how to do this.
When I am sharing with someone I can say, “Every Thursday we go to the beach and it brings me joy and peace to listen to the ocean and set the time aside to write here in this safe place.”
Now I could have said, “I love the beach…” Which would be true but the descriptive words I used made the sentence more personal as it told the story of how it felt for me.
One can visualize the ocean, and the sounds of the waves, then the quiet tapping on a keyboard.
Often I think we take the easy way around language and sharing; to make it less difficult for us and those reading.
I tend to write the way I present myself in person and often that is in word pictures but also to the point of facts.
For example, “The sky is grey today.” When you read that you pictured in your mind a grey sky.
But if I said, “The sky is full of multiple colors of grey with a mixture of sun breaks and a bit of wind.”
Did you see it differently?
Our words paint a picture for those who are reading them.
I think as a writer it’s important to make the point known and my goal is always to leave a bit of ‘wondering’ when the reader is finished.
That is why when I began this journey of blogging I prayed for a name and I heard the words, “something to think about.”
I want those to walk away with a sort of ‘AH Ha moment’ as well as a challenge for thinking.
My husband’s dad as he moved into the journey of memory loss, would often say to my husband, “I’ve never been on this road before”, and it was the same road he traveled many times.
That is what I want for this ‘space’ when someone is reading it.
It is my hope that my words do not repeat themselves and do encourage those who faithfully read them.
I want them to walk away with, “I’ve never thought of it that way before.”
Writing is hard work and those who do it often know how important it is to make it simple to read yet powerful in presentation.
It’s kind of like our songs at church that stay with us throughout the week. Simple yet meaningful too.
As we challenge ourselves to think in different ways let’s challenge each other in the journey too.

Another look of love for us to explore

Another look of love for us to explore is the ways we use the word love.
Often times we find ourselves saying, “I love a good cup of coffee, or I really love good chocolate.”
It makes sense and is perfectly fine to say those comments; but wouldn’t it be better to use a different word than love?
Love is a powerful word.
Couldn’t we use a word like, “I really enjoy a good cup of coffee.” That makes more sense and it’s personal sharing… rather than using a love word loosely.
It tends to minimize the powerful meaning of love.
The first example, “God so LOVED the world that He gave…”
That is meaningful and it is personal. Because He loved us… deep within who He is, He chose to give something personal and meaningful to us.
When I look up the meaning in the dictionary it says:
a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.
It is from a heart place where we use the word love.
I would much rather hear someone use descriptive words than the word of love.
The word love is used 686 times in the bible which tells me it is pretty significant to God.
[Psalm 44:26
Rise up and help us; rescue us because of your unfailing love.]
[Psalm 57:10
For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.]
[Psalm 59:16
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.]
There are many more examples of LOVE.
I am just sharing a few that bring depth and strength to the word.
[Psalm 66:20
Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!]
[Psalm 103:8
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.]
Are you getting the point yet? when we say ‘we love’ something it attaches itself to a commitment.
In relationships if we say we love each other, it says, above everyone else, this is important.
We think of February as the love month but really any month we speak of love in action is a love month.
December could be a love month because we find gifts from our heart for those who we care for.
The whole point of what I am trying to share is this: There are other ways for us to speak of love.
Perhaps we could challenge ourselves to think of descriptive words besides love when sharing with one another; so that we do not minimize the intent of the word.
Just a little something I’ve been thinking about.

Fourteen years ago our family was blessed

Fourteen years ago our family was blessed beyond our imagination when our daughter gave birth to identical baby girls almost on Valentines day.
Before they were born I remember going to her appointments with her and seeing them ‘on ultrasound’ screen it was so amazing and convinced me firmly to be prolife.
Baby A and Baby B… is what they were referred as and every time we saw them I was reminded of the passage in Psalm 139:
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.

I always will remember the appointments when those little babies were watched very closely each week.
Our daughter’s first pregnancy brought us a tiny preemie baby girl weighing only 2 pounds 11 oz.
Now she is a beautiful 18 year old with plans for her life and a determination in her step. She was 5 when the the twins came early too, they weighed 4 pounds 6 oz and four pounds 10 oz.
This was the closest newborn picture I could find, we took them to babies-r-us for a photo shoot.
The one on the left is Hannah and the one on the right is Alexis.
I wish you a wonderful fourteenth birthday girls, our almost Valentine babies.
You are beautiful, amazing and a joy to be with and I thank God always for YOU.
Even though you are identical you each have your own personality and gifts and we are proud of what you have decided for yourselves. I pray that as you grow, you also grow in the Love of God who saw you way before we ever did, and choose to make Him a part of your everyday lives. That is our prayer for you.

I have loved you and drawn you with lovingkindness

[The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.] Jeremiah 31
I did a word search and the word lovingkindness is in the bible 184 times.
Think HE is making a point with us?
When I meet someone who is kind, gentle and soft in words I am drawn to them because of the nature of who they are and how they respond to others.
I love the word picture of being drawn ‘towards him.’
Definitions:
To cause to move by force or influence in a particular direction. One definition gave the word picture of relating to the stem of a drinking glass that has been formed by stretching from a small mass of molten metal or glass left at the base of the bowl of the vessel. It is molded and shaped by heat and form.
Such a powerful word picture as I am seeing the molten ‘form’ being pulled and shaped by heat it is an amazing thing to watch and observe. So beautiful when it’s finished too.
During this Valentine season we can challenge ourselves to think of love in many areas besides who we live with.
God has been the first Valentine for us, showing us HIS love through the powerful love of Jesus and the Spirit.
Everlasting means: lasting forever, continuing for an indefinitely long time, incessant, constantly occurring, never coming to an end.
So God in his perfect love for us draws us towards him with a constant never changing always forming everlasting love. Isn’t that a wonderful promise and concept?
It’s not hard to imagine His love, for it has been a choice from HIM that was purposeful.
Just like us going to the store and purchasing a card for our loved one, on a much more powerful way God chose to draw us close to HIM because of His love.
The word kindness is in the bible 44 times.
Micah 6:8
[He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?]
It’s not about us, it all about Him.

Another look at the love chapter

Let’s take another look at the love chapter in 1st Corinthians chapter 13.
[If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.]
Have you ever met someone who professed to have ‘special gifts’ from the Holy Spirit but as you watched them in their lives you questioned their motives?
That is what this is talking about. IT Is JUST Noise… and there has been a lot of noise lately in our world from those who say ‘they love’.
[2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.]
We have at times seen someone with prophetic gifts that healed others or told others about their lives but we also in turn must look at their ‘fruit’ of their lives. Without love it is just performance.
[3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.]
Again if we do not see the actions that match the behavior it is nothing… empty.
[4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.]
Have you ever met someone with great patience and kindness? if they spoke of ‘God’s love you would listen?’ Pride cannot stand in the same room as gentle love.
[5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.]
Have you met someone who often talks down to others? It is not a good witness for sure.
[7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails.]
If someone truly cares for relationships this is true. ALWAYS 4 times… in love.
[But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.]
Eventually these manifestations of the Spirit will go away.
[9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.}
When completeness comes, we will not need anything else.
[11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.
When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.]
This is maturity… leaving behind the childish ways.
[12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.]
This is a bit of a mystery to me, I think it means we will be fully known in heaven.
[13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.]
It all boils down to this.
If we don’t have genuine love for one another it doesn’t matter what words we say, our truth will be known.
The greatest of these is love, so let us love in word and deed so that others will hear and see our truth and pray that they will know we are Christians by our love.

Today is February 1st the month of love

Today is February 1st, what we know as the month of relationship and love.
It’s the word we think of when we see February on the calendar.
We also know that Valentines day is one of the most marketed holidays starting just as soon as Christmas ends.
When I used to work at a florist the days were crazy right before the 14th..
I often told my husband to not get me anything just because Hallmark says he should, or the calendar reminders.
I would rather have something when I am not expecting it, not even planning it.
It is way more intentional to give a random ‘thoughtful’ card then a guilt producing ‘need to get it done’ gift.
I think the word of God in the Bible tells us a lot about love and what is expected of us.
Actually there are a few but the one I want to focus on is in 1st Corinthians of the New Testament.
The Excellence of Love ~ 1st Corinthians ~
13 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The greatest of these is love.
I wish we all could fully grasp the fact that the world is watching us if we say we are believers.
Love is powerful on many levels. Read the above again, slowly.
The word ‘if’ is used 8 times, which tells me it is a mandate or condition of heart.
If I say this, then this is what you will expect of me.
The other half of that is the ‘but do not have’ statement.
This is definitely something for us to think about.

The intentional gift of friendship

The intentional gift of friendship is something we don’t often give ourselves.
Sometimes it happens without a plan when we meet someone new.
Sometimes it happens as we allow the phone calls and visits to encourage our new friendship.
It was a bible study I believe which brought us together. She came in and sat by me.
She was wanting a group to join and reached out with questions and commitment to the study.
It has been over thirty six years since that first day in church.
In the beginning we grew in friendship as our children would play together and we would chat over coffee.
Our sons were close in age, and they would often play cops and robbers and shoot with their imaginary guns as they ran around her basement or back yard.
Her boys always thought it was funny that my son would only shoot at the sky.
I told him never to point at someone, so he pointed upward at the ceiling.
We still laugh at that one, especially when he became a police officer.
Our friendship grew and we not only encouraged each other but prayed for each other and it was good.
There was a season in time where we moved away to different cities and time separated us.
Then the day came when we saw each other again, in the same city and eventually in the same neighborhood.
It was as if no time was lost between us.
Then the day came when her husband passed away. Our long time friend, her long time companion.
Her life changed on that day, it was very sad and life altering for her.
Many Friday nights I would drive over to her home and we would sit together and share.
Through the hard times and the good times, our friendship grew stronger.
Our friendship is a gift we unwrap every time we get together. It is intentional. It is beautiful.
After years of being alone, filled with lots of prayers and tears, the day came when LOVE found her again.
It is amazing and it is what God wanted for her, to be happy, safe and in peace.
We don’t live in the same neighborhood anymore, it is a long drive to visit the very beautiful home they have made together. The drive is intentional. Just like our friendship.
Miles cannot separate us, phone calls that take hours along with handwritten cards in the mail sent with words that say, “I’m thinking of you”, keep our friendship alive and special.
That is the gift of a real friendship. I will always love and value the times we have spent together.
It is always sealed in prayer and encouragement, in hope and in respect.
God designed us to have a heart for each other. I am blessed to have this very special friend in my life.
I am thankful each day and today is her birthday, so my wish for her is; may you have many more.
I send my love to you, Debbie on this very special day of yours. Happy birthday.