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I normally don’t share anything here unless I have come to a conclusion as to what the lesson is in my life experience. However, at this moment I’m not sure what that is. I only know that I am sad because I lost a dear friend today. You see, she’s been battling cancer. When I saw her about two weeks ago, she looked great. She had this colorful, stylish turban to cover her head and a beautiful smile that lit up the room.Her attitude was amazing. My friend and I told her she was a true inspiration. She still had her sense of humor, but also showed a tender side that revealed how much she loves her family and her Savior.

When asked how she does it – how she stays so positive, she said it was a “win-win” situation. If the chemo didn’t get her to the point to where she could have a stem cell transplant, then she would be with Jesus. If it did, and she got to live for a few more years, then she would watch her grandchildren grow up. She would win either way.

Robin, thank you. Thank you for sharing those words. Although the tears we shed are because we love you and will miss you so much, we rejoice that you are now with Jesus. Your ultimate goal.

Romans 8:18

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

Thank you, Jesus.

Color

A couple weeks ago, friends from our church gave us a lovely house warming gift from their home – cone flowers. I watched as she carefully dug them up after a good rain. I couldn’t wait to plant them in our flower garden. They were special of course since they came from a friend, and they just happened to be one of my favorite colors. Some of them were already blooming, and some were not. However, I already knew what color they were going to be — or so I thought.

When we recently got home from our trip to Texas, we noticed one white bloom on the flowers we had recently planted. Needless to say, it stood out from the others. I know that some flowers change colors due to the soil etc. I just found it interesting that the whole stem didn’t produce the same color.

If you’re like me, you realize there’s a lesson in everything.

I love the fact that one bloom was different. Most people have a favorite color. however, how boring would a bouquet be if everything looked the same? I don’t care if we’re talking about flowers, cars, clothing, or people, color is something we ALL notice. That doesn’t make us bad, it just causes us to be curious and appreciate how God can make things different.

No matter what color of skin you have, it’s unique and beautiful because God made you – YOU. I may not know you, however, I do know that everything about you is different than me – like your appearance, life experiences, thoughts, opinions, hobbies, strengths, and weaknesses. Whatever those are, I’m thankful He created you to complete HIS bouquet, so to speak.

One day, when we are in heaven, I don’t believe we will even notice any differences because we will be unified – gathered for one purpose – to praise Jesus. Worshipping Him. Loving each other. Loving the one who created us. What a beautiful bouquet that will be.

Count with Me

After many delays, we finally flew home from Dallas late last night. I had the window seat. Although that’s normally my preference, I was a little anxious after learning that my husband had to sit a few rows back. It’s not that I mind flying. As a matter of fact, I tend to relax as soon as we are up in the air. It’s like you are in your own little world and far away from all your troubles.

It was a full flight, so when I discovered that Mark wouldn’t be sitting next to me, I couldn’t help but think about the phrase we would tell the preschool kids when someone was upset because they didn’t get their way – like getting to sit by their best friend, or not getting to choose their favorite color when we were making a craft. “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” Life lessons are not always fun.

The ironic thing was that the seat next to me ended up being empty – only because the little girl who was supposed to sit there was fast asleep on her mother’s lap. I watched her carry her on the plane and that little girl was out! It was unusual that the flight attendant allowed this, but isn’t everything unusual right now? Her father was on the other side of the empty seat in my row. It wasn’t until we started to descend that his older daughter, I’m guessing she was five, came out of nowhere and sat on her dad’s lap. This was her first time to fly, and it was obvious that she was afraid.

Her dad wrapped his arms around her and had her look out the window so that she could see how close we were to landing. He tried his best to comfort her by asking her to count down, beginning with 10. First, she just listened as he began. He stopped and told her she needed to count with him. He said, “We’re doing this together.” As soon as we felt the wheels touch the ground, they said “one.” That’s when she smiled. You could tell the weight of the world was lifted off of her shoulders as she danced around in the aisle.

Doesn’t our Heavenly Father do the same for us? All we need to do is trust Him.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Psalm 34:4-5

Be Strong and Courageous

I have recently listened to several different stories and prayer requests for people who are struggling to make it through this life. I’m talking about people who are exhausted because they’re battling something that is threatening their life.

As the details are unraveled before me, I feel the heaviness of all the layers of their heartbreak. Each layer is significantly unique — like new chapters that tell you “and then.…” Their eyes tell me “I’m not sure I can do this anymore” as they try their best to hide their hopelessness.

I’m not a doctor or a professional counselor, but I’m a believer in Jesus Christ. I may not have all the answers, but HE does. My relationship with Jesus is what provides MY peace.

Friend, If YOU are fighting for YOUR life, if you do nothing else — call upon His holy name. Don’t be afraid. Just think aboutI His scars from when He was crucified for our transgressions. He already knows your pain and He knows the solution. He loves you more than anything. You’re not alone in your battle. There is hope.

Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Mr. Jones

Childhood memories.

Years ago, when I was about 5 years old, I lived next door to a family that had 3 sons. This is what I remember most: The mom, Irma, was very nice but very strict. I’m embarrassed to admit this; (but hey, I was only in kindergarten!) I once lifted up my top and asked one of her sons if he had “these” – to which I soon heard his mom open their front door and yell for her son to come in the house. IMMEDIATELY. Of course my mom received a phone call within minutes — letting her know that I (her FIVE year old daughter) lifted up my top in front of her son. My mom’s response? “And you think it’s ok for your boys to pull down their pants in your backyard and pee??” I can hear it now. Those were the days….

So many things about Aunt Bee from “The Andy Griffith Show” reminded me of Irma. Her hairstyle, style of clothing, and her build. She made the best popcorn and grew the most beautiful flowers. Here’s the thing, I had a huge crush on one of her sons named Alan – you know, the one who saw my chest. I don’t recall how he spelled his first name, but I remember his last – Jones. How can you go wrong with that name? I once fought over him with another female neighbor. I think we’re both thankful it never worked out for either one of us. Ha. Alan was the first boy I had ever met that was close to my age. I guess that qualified him to be my future husband at the time. You can laugh. (Please note: I was much more pickier when I became an adult!)

How ironic that I would walk by this bench when my husband and I were on a walk in Florida. Who knows if THIS Alan is my former neighbor. I lost contact with him and his family so many years ago. Anyway, it was fun to reminisce although it caused me to reveal a story I’m not exactly proud to share!

LIFE!

What’s Next?

Retirement.

It’s one of those things you look forward to in many ways – especially those days when you are crazy busy with life topped off with having to deal with difficult coworkers, customers, patients, or the general public every day. Yes, that’s when you think that you can’t WAIT for the day when you can make your own schedule, choose who you’re around, and have time to the things you enjoy.

Mine has just begun. I admit that I’m relieved, however, I still want to contribute and feel needed. I want to make a difference and not just exist. Can you relate?

If you’ve been retired for a while, drop me a line and let me know how it’s going. Any tips? What do you regret? What are you thankful for? I would love to hear!

I’m working on a hobby. We will see where this takes me!

Hope your day has brought you blessings…and that you have taken the time to bless someone else.

Love you, dad

My dad. Unfortunately, I only have a couple pictures of us, but the memories I have in my mind are more than I can count. I loved him so much. He was a very quiet man, but his actions revealed so many things about him. He was faithful to his family. He was a hard worker. He loved his kids. He served his country. He loved to watch sports, make chili almost every Saturday (when it was cold) and he made the best burgers on the grill. He liked to mow. He would flat-out tell me the truth. His famous saying was “OHHHHH boy!”

I am so thankful that he was my dad. He wasn’t perfect, but he was the perfect dad for imperfect me.

Trust

One of the BEST moments for me after I meet someone’s child (who is around toddler age ) is when he or she finally feels comfortable enough to make eye contact with me and then next — cracks open a smile. However, the most exhilarating moment is when that little one r e a c h e s out his/her arms – wanting me to hold them. They aren’t capable of verbalizing what they’re feeling, but words really aren’t needed. That action reveals their trust.

The same is true for us and our relationship with Jesus. We don’t have to know fancy, King James Version type words in order to let our Savior know that we trust him, love Him, want Him to hold us or carry us, OR that we need HIS love and forgiveness. We just need to be willing to let go of whatever it is that’s holding us back and either clasp our hands together and tell HIM what’s on our heart — or lift up our hands as if we are reaching out to God, our father.

Letting go of my past and surrendering my life to Jesus was the best moment of my life. It was humbling. Exhilarating. Life-changing.

Thank you, Jesus, for waiting on me to trust you. Thank you for embracing me with your love.

Know the Difference

You know, I think most of us try our best to be good humans. At the very least, people try to be good at something. What makes life frustrating, however, is when you experience something that just isn’t fair. For example, like when you are doing your best and it’s still not enough. You still say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, forget to do something – and so on. It certainly makes you feel like a failure when something you say, or didn’t say, backfires. This isn’t a vent session – it’s just an observation after experiencing something that was frustrating and seemed so unfair. We’ve all been there, haven’t we?

I guess the important thing to remember is that we live in a fallen world. That sounds so cliche, however, Scriptures tell us that we do. Not everyone, including myself, will seek God’s wisdom in every thing we say or do. What a different world we would live in if that were true!

No matter how “perfect” we try to be, we still don’t have control over what people think of us. I have found that the harder I try to be in control, the more I take my eyes off of God – the One who knows all and has control – and then I find myself focusing on me, myself, and I. Unfortunately, I become consumed with who I am and who I’m not.

I’ve learned that Satan knows our weakness(es) and tries to separate us from our one true love, God, through temptation. On the other hand, I realize that God knows everything about us and uses everything – including those things we need to work on – for the good. For His glory.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

What. a. difference.

Sometimes our life experiences aren’t as good or fair as we had hoped for, but God is always good and just. Know the difference.

Do you see the good in life?

I know most of you don’t know me, and If I had to describe myself, I guess the positive side is that I normally try to find the good in life situations and in people. I really don’t think it’s that difficult, although there’s been a few situations when I struggled to see the purpose, the lesson, or the good.

I believe my positive outlook on life in general was a coping skill I developed at a young age after experiencing challenging circumstances. I’m more and more thankful every day that my past experiences growing up didn’t mold me into someone that no one would want to be around. Ok, maybe there ARE a few people who choose to keep their distance, but you get the picture!

I remember back in the day when my parents were constantly fighting and I couldn’t understand how they could say some of the things they did to each other. If I didn’t know better, I would’ve guessed that my mom hated my dad. It would go on and on until my mom would slam her bedroom door, lock it, and crank up some of her favorite music. School nights were the worst. Did I mention she played it all. night. long? Needless to say, my dad slept on the couch. He was pretty quiet most of the time and hardly ever expressed his feelings. I suppose that’s where I got THAT trait and why I’ve enjoyed blogging. I find it so much easier to put feelings into words in written form.

Sometimes I thought my mom overreacted in certain situations and I would find myself trying to get her to see that it wasn’t as bad as it seemed. For example, our washing machine was located in our kitchen and it would often overflow. There would be suds and water all over the kitchen floor. I remember saying something like, “At least we will have a really clean floor!” She never argued with my statement, however, I’m pretty sure I only made things worse. The problem was (which I didn’t know then) she was mostly frustrated with my dad because he wasn’t fixing the problem!

Now that I’m an adult, I get it. Life is hard. There’s so many expectations that we don’t even talk about with our spouse or our friends, yet we get mad at them for falling short. People hurt us. They let us down. Bad things happen. Sometimes you don’t feel loved. Other times you aren’t capable of loving others. There are tragic events that are hard to overcome – like losing a job, a friend, family member, or a spouse. All of those are devastating, however, the most devastating loss is when you lose your faith in God.

That’s what has given me hope and the will to overcome the most difficult and challenging times. I pray you’ll allow Him to do the same for you.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28