Hope for Tomorrow

I don’t normally write this soon after posting something here. However, what I shared yesterday is heavy on my mind. This is what I’m thinking about every day. I need to learn how to achieve my goal that was shared in my last paragraph. But how? You don’t see memes, books, or studies that talk about someone MY age who is struggling to find a way to overcome this world’s standards or expectations. Beauty. Fitness. Purpose. Where do I fit in???

As a believer, my hope has always been found in God’s word. Period. Why on earth I’ve neglected to look there for answers is beyond me.

“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

Thank you, Lord, for redirecting me. You KNOW I’m a work in progress.

Goals of a Grandmother

Do you ever have something spark a memory and you don’t want to stop thinking about it? It’s like a wonderful memory that was almost forgotten, but for some odd reason you were reunited with it.

Here’s mine….I remember the days when I would watch my mom apply makeup, do her hair, and then stand in front of her closet as she pondered what to wear. I loved it when she was getting ready for a special occasion – which was rare. She always made little pin curls with bobby pins and lots of hairspray. I can smell it now. Like, why use perfume when you use all that hairspray? It smelled sooooo good!

She would always add a little dab of perfume on the inside of each wrist and on both sides of her neck. It was like the finishing touches before she headed out the door.

I always thought she was beautiful and I wondered if I would look like her when I grew up. I was told I resembled her when I was little, however, our personalities were nothing alike — or so I thought. Unfortunately, we butted heads many times when I was growing up. There were so many things that would really annoy me. I’m sure she felt the same. Never in a million years did I think I would be anything like her, but here I am – so much like her.

What no one tells you when you’re young is that it’s not easy growing older. Not for women, anyway. I wish I would’ve known that years ago. Maybe it would’ve helped me to understand my mom and why she did the things she did. I remember the day she started coloring her hair. I couldn’t understand why. I thought the little bit of gray made her look classy, but she disagreed. Then, came contacts. She hated wearing glasses and told me she looked “younger” without them. Why does she want to look younger, I thought. Last, the change in diet. It was like she was eating off a different menu than us. I never understood it.

Listen, If you’ve given birth to at least one child, every part of your body changes. I admit it’s a little depressing to listen to younger (even 5 years younger) women talk about their exercise regime and diets. You go home and look at your body in the mirror. It’s like you’re not sure if you should give up and accept things as they are or try to do something about what you don’t like. Is it worth it, or am I trying to achieve something that isn’t attainable? Are those days of feeling good about yourself gone? Maybe I should just appreciate the fact I’m still alive?!

Then, you stand closer to the mirror and look at your face. Here’s the thing. As your children grow up, your days are filled with busy schedules, sleepless nights, lots of decisions, and many prayers. Every wrinkle on my face is a testimony to all of that. Why some women don’t have wrinkles, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because they have good genes, stayed out of the sun, or drink gallons of water every day. What I DO know is that I’m jealous of them. One benefit of wearing a mask during Covid is that it covers up what you don’t like. The downside is I’ve become comfortable hiding my face. It has become my security blanket. Not kidding.

After writing all of the above, I realize it all sounds totally vain and that I’m probably putting too much emphasis on an outward appearance rather than my heart. Perhaps that’s true. But the reality of looking “older” isn’t easy and I pray I’ll accept the next change that comes along.

The truth is, I don’t want to waste my “last” days on this earth constantly feeling embarrassed about my dry, skinny hands, wrinkles on my face, my love handles, out of shape tummy, and my not so firm thighs. No, I want my days to be filled with appreciation that there’s still breath in my lungs. I want to focus on my love for our amazing Savior and letting others know how much He loves THEM, and that I’ve been blessed with my wonderful family and friends. Goals.

This simple truth

Every day after lunch, our preschool students take a nap. Well, most of them. I set out the cots, and then the teacher hands out their nap stuff while they take turns going to the bathroom. The teacher who I work with has it down to a science. However, sometimes it can be a challenge when you have little ones who don’t want to cooperate! And what I mean by that is some of those littles can be very talkative when it’s time to be quiet. It’s like they have something important to say all of a sudden – you know, like they have a scratch on their hand or their sock is twisted. Haha. You get the point!

One day last week, the little ones were really wound up. It’s rare that we have to tell them that they can’t talk at all, but this day was the one. After instructing them that there would be 0 talking, I heard a couple whispering behind me. When I turned around to look at them, (hoping that would be enough), one boy informed me who was whispering. I assured him that I already knew. “You guys, I KNOW your voices. Even though I don’t see you, I KNOW who is talking.” ~ Silence…..

During my lunch hour that day, I thought about the stunned reaction I witnessed when they heard me say those words. I can’t read minds, however, I’m almost certain they now think I have eyes on the back of my head. lol. That simple truth that I recognized their voice seemed to make a huge difference and they both were quickly doing what they were supposed to be doing.

Maybe we need that reminder, too. Because God isn’t visible , we seem to think we can get by with whatever our heart desires. Sometimes we justify our actions — been there? Or perhaps we behave like a preschool student and place blame on someone else. “Well, Johnny is doing it, too! He started it!” The difference is, God not only knows our voice — He knows our heart. What a game changer.

This season, I’m not giving up anything for Lent. I’m giving more – more effort to get to know the One who saved me. The One who forgives me. Truly loves me. Lifts me up when I’ve fallen. Thank you, Jesus.

“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” ~ Psalm 119:11

When you need to vent

With the way the local and national news is reported these days, no wonder Facebook has drastically changed. I mean, if the reporters can get away with being so rude during their interviews – why wouldn’t we follow suit? I may have disagreed with a lot of what former President Trump said (more like how he said it), but I agree with him 100 percent that most of the media stirs the pot. They create nothing but anger and hate – to the point it provokes revenge.

When I first created a FB account several years ago, I loved catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. I loved seeing pictures of their family and seeing what they were doing with their life. It was such a boost to receive a friend request from someone. It was like you were thrown back in time and someone new wanted to be your friend. Those were the good ol’ days.

After a while, people started putting very personal info out there. Their FB page became an outlet for them. Many were thrown under the bus because they were trashing their spouse, their ex, or complaining about their kids. I remember thinking how thankful I was that my parents weren’t on FB when I was a teenager!

At one point, a few of my friends started sharing funny, heartwarming, and serious life-lessons that made you aware that you weren’t alone on your journey or in your valleys. I hesitantly joined them and it felt so good to have the freedom to share. For me, it gave me a platform to share with others what I didn’t have the guts to say out loud — or in front of others. The only time I regretted being so open was when a FB friend stopped me out in public and asked me about my post. “Didn’t they realize that story was private?” ~ thought the one who posted it for the world to see. And then there were those who would jab at your spelling or grammar errors. Sorry, Karen, this wasn’t an English assignment for a grade. I think you missed the message because of your critical eye.

Then came the political posts. You know, the ones where people share articles that were sometimes true and sometimes not. The posts that had multiple reminders to do a fact check before posting. Comments were made from people they really didn’t know but were connected through a friend of a friend, that more or less said that person didn’t have a heart because they believed in what they shared. (FB post creator is thinking – WHO are YOU, anyway? How did we even become friends?!) And then there’s those people who steered clear of attacking a politician’s views because they knew their friends were tired of it. However, they very pointedly made fun of that politician because of their weight, hair, or face, or…… Yes, I’m pretty sure we all fall in one of these categories.

Thankfully, private groups became available and popular so that you could voice your political (or whatever type of) opinion until the cows came home. No more worries if someone is going to unfriend you because those who disagree won’t see your post! I agree that there’s something nice about talking with people who share the same views. However, there’s something powerful about being able to talk with someone who disagrees — yet you still remain friends or on friendly terms.

In a world that is demanding change, let’s hold on tightly to grace. It was given to us by our Creator when we didn’t deserve it. Let’s remember to do the same.

Think about THESE things

If you’re in the habit of waking up at 1:00, 2:00, or 3:00 am and then have a difficult time going back to sleep, welcome to my world. I don’t have nightmares, nor do I toss and turn. It’s like I’m in a sound sleep and someone whispers my name.

One early morning, I woke up with such negative thoughts about something that I became overwhelmed with anxiety. I stayed there in bed, praying that God would help me stop this – whatever it is. That’s when these words came to my mind: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

Believe it or not, I was able to fall back to sleep after quoting the above Scripture. Later that morning, I realized I’ve not just been battling low self- esteem and maybe some jealousy; I’ve been in a spiritual battle. Oh, friend. Let me tell you how real it is, and the only way to overcome it is to know Scripture. If you’ve never read the Bible, now is the time. If you don’t have a Bible, order one or at the very least Google it. You can look up verses for times of despair, grief, death, betrayal, happiness, jealousy, joy, love, sadness. or confusion. Whatever it is you need to live this life and live it to the fullest is printed out for you to read, to learn from, to memorize, and to say out loud if necessary.

Love, Liz

About 14 years ago, I received a call from the nursing home that my grandmother wasn’t going to make it. I immediately called my husband to see if he could meet me there. Saying goodbye was something I didn’t want to do alone. Unfortunately, he was working about an hour away and knew he wouldn’t make it there in time.

When I walked into her room, her beautiful blue eyes met mine. I pulled up a chair and sat there for a while. Who knows how long it was. A minute felt like an eternity.

My emotions were so overwhelming — I couldn’t speak. I would try to smile at her, hoping it would send the message that I loved her and that I was there for her. The nurse came in to take her vitals, and that’s when I decided to walk over to the hospital, hoping to see a friend who worked there. Unfortunately I couldn’t find her. Deep down I was hoping I could persuade her to come back to the nursing home with me. There’s something about having a friend with you when you have to face something you dread.

My stomach was churning and I really didn’t want to go back to her room alone. I didn’t want to say goodbye. However, I knew it was the right thing to do.

The interesting thing was, when I got there – someone had pulled up a chair and in it was grandma’s Bible. I never did ask, but I assume it was one of the nurses who had placed it there. I sat down – opened up her Bible, and that’s when I found this card tucked inside from her best friend, Liz, who lived miles away.

There was no doubt that I was supposed to read it. As I read the words, tears streamed down my face because I realized that God had given me the words to say before she took her last breath. Friendship is an amazing thing, and to be reminded that you are loved by your friend and by Jesus is the best send-off to eternity.

Friend, if you’re struggling with knowing the right thing to say — pray. God will give you the words.

Page One.

I’m thinking about writing a book that would reveal to parents exactly how many times it takes to get through ONE page of a story when you’re reading to 20 preschoolers.

Don’t misunderstand me, I know there are some who would sit and listen all day, however, those are far and few between. We should never give up on encouraging children to love books. One day they will want someone to read to them. Until then….

Once upon a time, there was a dinosaur who went to school.  It was about 30 inches tall (about YOUR height – pointing to students), and it LOVED to eat ….. (Johnny, please sit down on your pockets. Thank you.)

Page 1.

Once upon a time, there was a dinosaur who went to school. It was only about 30 inches tall (about YOUR height), and it loved to eat… (Johnny, please sit down on your pockets. Thank you.)

It loved to eat carrots ….. (Jeremy, please put your mask on. Thank you.)

It loved to eat….. (Betsy, please stop staring at Johnny. Look forward.)

It loved….(Eddie, please stop stomping your feet.)

It…(Yes, Cindy, you can go to the bathroom.)

(No, Camillia, it’s not time for lunch. We just had snacks.)

(Cindy raises hand. Cindy, you JUST went to the bathroom. You REALLY didn’t go, did you?)

It loved to eat carrots and students who don’t want to hear a story about dinosaurs.

The end.

Looking for Change?

There’s two lessons I’ve recently learned that are so good, I had to share.

I recently read the following in a devotion through YouVersion. It’s called, “Reset Your Mind, Overhauling Toxic Thoughts.” Here are the words that struck my heartstrings….

“Maybe you’re still focused on the broken and damaged thoughts you’ve been thinking for years. It could be that you’ve been playing an outdated recording in your mind that someone said to you during your childhood.”

BINGO! Nothing from my childhood, but still I want to say, “Alexa, stop that stupid recording – NOW!” I’m so tired of replaying those same hurtful, and frustrating thoughts through my mind – every day! I’ve often prayed that God would wipe those memories from me, but so far — it’s still there. The sting is still there.

However, I have finally discovered that rather than praying that God would just erase the memory that hurts me, I should pray that He would transform me. This has to be what He wants, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this piece. I know that transformation takes place when we know the truth and allow it to change us. Where is that, you ask. It’s in God’s Word. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

Second, a lesson given by Todd Mullins, a Senior Pastor of Christ Fellowship in Florida. This is paraphrased, however, you will get the point.

We can all agree that we need water in order to live. The more we drink, the healthier we are. When we don’t drink enough, we suffer in many ways. The same with reading and studying God’s Word. We read one verse and think, “Ahhhh, that felt so good. I needed that!” However, reading one scripture is like taking one sip of water — it’s good, but not enough.”

In conclusion, studying His Word is the key to everything. It fills us with knowledge, hope, and love. It gives us the strength we need to overcome.

Start today. Study His Word. Be transformed.

Being Real

Hey, friend. I may not know you personally, but if what I share ricochets in your spirit — there’s no doubt you’re my friend through Christ.

I don’t know about you, but I’m having a difficult time being motivated to do just about anything. I hate feeling like this. Between all the political stuff, Covid, people drama, other crazy madness that goes on in our world — I am tired. It’s like I’m in a fog and I want normal more than ever.

We had dinner with friends tonight. We met at a restaurant. Abnormal. We’ve always hopped in a car together. We were only at the restaurant for about an hour and a half. Abnormal. We’ve always taken up at least three hours together to catch up on each other’s week, laugh about stupid stuff, and then discuss the problems of the world. With the way things are today, that could take FOR-E-V-E-R! Right?

I hate all the changes that this virus has caused. I desperately miss spending time with my friends and my family. Life feels so shallow – so empty.

I recently read a book that was written by Lysa TerKeurst. She made a reference in it that really stuck with me. It was something about how ironic it is that feeling empty can be so heavy. So very true.

So, that’s where I’m at tonight. Heavy. Tired. Desperately needing change. However, I’m hopeful because I’m a believer in the One who can move mountains.

My First Love

Many years ago, when I was in elementary school, I noticed someone was interested in me. I know this sounds young, but it’s true. He didn’t tell me directly, however, he sent a message of interest through other people. He became my secret close friend. He was someone I could pour my heart into without worrying that he would tell anyone else. My parents were always fighting, and my mother was always drinking. My mom left to be with another man. My life was torn apart. He became my safe place where I could receive comfort.

When I entered the 7th grade, I became interested in other guys. Mainly one. He was so different than the other guys. He invited me to his church youth group and always talked to me about God, Jesus, and the encouraging words that were found in his Bible. He was my first crush, but we soon learned that we could only be friends. And so here we are, 40 some years later — still friends.

I dated several guys throughout high school. However, I only became ‘serious’ with two of them. Those relationships were your typical teen relationships that involved a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs. With one, I really thought I was in love. How I felt when I was with him told me so. However, when I left for college, I knew that my heart was lying and it simply wasn’t true. He was a wonderful person, he just wasn’t the one.

When I started college, things felt different. There I was, away from my friends, the house that I had lived in since day 1– away from everything that gave me comfort or security. I knew there was something better than finding another relationship with a guy. There’s more to life than that. That’s when I was reunited with my first love — the one who pursued me all those years ago. The one I could truly trust, yet I never pursued him. The thing is, he never gave up on me. He always sent little messages of love, wisdom, and caution through other people. True love. Jesus.