Book it

To those of you who don’t me, I recently retired. This fact will make the following make more sense. I’ve recently made it a priority to read. I’ve never been an avid reader — mainly because my mind tends to drift off to ALL those things I should be doing instead of sitting still — if you know what I mean.

My first goal is to read the New Testament. Every word. I most likely have read most of it, however, it’s on my list to make sure I’ve accomplished it. I’ve tried to read the Bible in a Year via an app that lays it all out there for you each day. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work for me. If you haven’t checked it out, It’s like an author picks out different sentences or paragraphs out of different chapters of a book in an attempt to help you complete the whole book and understand its meaning all at the same time. I know it works for many, but not so much for me. My drifting mind – drifts, and then I catch myself asking what I just read. So, I started reading in Matthew, and I’m not going to stop until I reach the end of the New Testament. My goal is to complete the whole thing without a hiccup.

Next, I’ve been reading novels. I can’t EVEN believe I’m saying this. A daughter-in-law loaned me a few when I was visiting the kids a few months ago. I thought, why not. I started reading It Ends With Us, by Colleen Hoover, on our flight home and couldn’t put it down! Would I recommend it? Let’s just say — 400 pages later, I was sad it was over.

I recently told a (an avid reader) friend that I couldn’t believe I read a novel that had so many pages (ha). Her eyes lit up and told me I HAD to read The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah. She didn’t tell me it was more than FIVE hundred pages (!) when I told her I would love to give it a try. I admit, I am loving it. What has been a little more challenging is that the author uses some vocabulary that I’ve never heard of, so I’ve had to look up some definitions. It’s been a good challenge for me and a good feeling of achievement.

I guess the purpose behind this post is to encourage you to try something new. It truly lifts your spirits and gives you a feeling of accomplishment. People often think of experiences like jumping out of a plane, going on a big trip, or joining a group of some type. Although those are all good and admirable, sometimes that something new can be as easy as grabbing a book and shutting out the world.

Storms

A summer storm just darted through our area. It’s been a long while since I’ve heard the rolling thunder in the near distance. Clouds were somewhat dark, and the rain gently tapped the windows. I have to say, it was refreshing. There’s just something soothing about a summer storm. Although there’s absolutely nothing you can do to change its course, it can certainly change yours.

When we lived in Florida, we experienced a much stronger storm – a hurricane. Needless to say, the only refreshing thing about it was when we realized it was over. We were warned a couple weeks ahead that it would be coming, so we had plenty of time to prepare. Even though our friends encouraged us to leave the state, we chose to stay. We had hurricane shutters put up to cover all the windows, and we purchased all the things they encourage people to buy – like plenty of bottled water, non-perishable food, lanterns in case we lose electricity, and battery operated phone chargers.

Prior to its arrival, we heard about it on the news, for dayzzzzzzzzzzz! I heard about every detail and scenario until I just couldn’t listen to it anymore! I turned off the news and headed out to find something to do to take my mind off it. The bad thing was, my surroundings had drastically changed. Vehicles were whisked away from dealership parking lots. Shelves were almost empty. Water couldn’t be found anywhere. Cars were lined up to fill up their tanks. An hour wait became the norm. I guess that’s when I realized it was real. There was no hiding from what was to come. Ignoring the inevitable didn’t work.

The time finally arrived for us to hunker down. I will never forget listening to the howling wind for hours as we whispered many prayers in the dark because we immediately lost our power. It was finally here, and It was out of our control. But, ohhhhhhhhhh – that feeling I had when it was over and we finally could open the door and step outside. There was damage all around, but the sun was shining.

Storms in life are similar, aren’t they? Some are terrifying. They cause you to make choices – like if you should stay or leave. Some are refreshing because they cause you to be still as you wait…. Finally, they make you realize that you are not in control, but God still shines.

Trials are inevitable. I pray you’ll be prepared as much as you can, and remember to seek the ONE who can bring you through the trials of this life. Jesus is dependable. He walks on water. He gives life. He restores the soul. Trust Him.

Thank you

Friends. I went to my good friend’s viewing this afternoon. I sat in awe of all her pictures that were put together on display on boards and in a video. It wasn’t a feeling of envy – not like how you feel when you see pictures on Facebook. Rather, it was a feeling of peace because my dear friend had a full life. It was filled with love from her family and friends, and friends of her kids who considered her to be a second mom.

No one likes this part of life. It can really throw you for a loop. However, my friend was a believer in Jesus – therefore, I know where she is and where she will spend eternity. It just doesn’t get better than that.

I will miss her. I’ll never delete her text messages. I’ll never forget her. No one could tell a story like her. I would smile before she even started because of her facial expressions. No one could cook or bake like her. Simply amazing. I guess the best thing about her was she made you feel loved and wanted in her home.

Thankful God had our paths cross. So very thankful….

No Title

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.