Door number two

SONY DSC

Let’s face it, some days are just harder than others.  Every once in a while you wake up realizing immediately that your attitude needs adjusting and sometimes all seems well until a challenging situation comes out of nowhere.

You wake up on time feeling ready to take on the day.   The aroma and taste and just right temperature of your coffee pleases 3 of your senses.  Your devotion reaches down to touch you in the very depths of your soul and your prayer time is heavenly.

Your cereal doesn’t get soggy and your toast doesn’t burn and you find the perfect outfit on the first try.   You get out of the door with time to spare and notice that your hair looks almost perfect in your rear view mirror.

You run some errands.   Everyone is pleasant.  Traffic is light and you find a nice shaded parking spot.  You’re in a marvelous mood.  That’s a pretty easy accomplishment when everything is going your way.

Then boom, out of the blue, just like that it can all change.  The day that was so agreeable just a few moments ago takes a turn for the worse.  Sometimes its a call or a text.  At other times, it is something more subtle and sneaks up behind you and grabs you before you know what hit you.

Either way, from this point forward something shifts, the atmosphere around you that was filled with peace and hope now feels like turmoil and dread.   Your once sincere smile turns into a pinched and pained one.  Tension hovers over you like a cloud ready to burst.

It is what you do at this point that sets your course.  You can choose door number one, the one our flesh wants to chose every time, and open it up to continued strife.  You can embrace the sour mood, wallow in the unpleasantness, welcome the surly attitude and guarantee more negativity.

Or you can choose door number two, and press in to prayer and worship.  Find your strength, peace and love in Christ and let Him be your rock.  Lift your head up, forgive quickly, remember to Whom you belong and encourage yourself!  Amaze yourself (and others) in your reaction to what the enemy tried to use to defeat you.

I’m learning to choose the second approach and save myself a lot of stress and grief (and repentance).  I don’t always succeed but I can definitely say my percentage is improving and that’s a start.   Mom always said, “it’s the little foxes that spoil the vines”.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Later

IMG_4268

LATER

I will tell him I love him later,
I will whisper it in his ear
Not now, but I’ll do it later
He knows, but he still likes to hear

I will call and apologize later
Right now I’ll just sit and stew
It’s not my fault that she took it that way
We just have different points of view

We will play catch outside a little later
After the dishes are done
When your bedroom is back in order
Then I promise we’ll go have some fun

The frustrating thing about later
Is that later sometimes doesn’t come
So let’s do it right now and not later
Please don’t wait til’ the sinking sun

Uncharted territory

12029681_10153651247701763_6600053614237868420_o

Life is like an expedition of uncharted territory.

We start out wide eyed, confident and seeking adventure, anxious to see the spectacular sights along the way. We want to see, smell, taste, touch and hear it all to our hearts content. We don our traveling apparel and forge ahead.  We are explorers, making our way across the great unknown. We are blessed to have direction and signs along the way but we don’t always pay attention. Sometimes we choose to go our own way and end up in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

At times the terrain is flat and easy going, filled with fragrant green grass and flowers. At other times it can be cavernous, cold or treacherous. There may be perils ahead, hiding in the darkness. The mountains loom, the seas rage and the valleys can be daunting. We often travel on with scars, hungry and afraid. At times it doesn’t seem as if we will ever make it, but when we think all hope is gone, mercy shows up and alas, we continue.

Our companions come and go and we meet new friends along the way. Even in this, we must use discernment as everything isn’t what it appears to be. Some are sent by the one who would kill, steal and destroy to make us lose our way.

As the seasons change, we learn new lessons if we are wise and teachable. We are given the tools for a successful journey if we but utilize them properly.
The scenery is beautiful and changes frequently, but time begins to become more precious as it seems to pass by ever so quickly. We live and laugh and love and experience so many new things along the way. We also hurt, cry and mourn the loss of hopes, dreams, and others.

We alone can choose how we will participate in this expedition and where our journey will ultimately take us. The trip will be much more pleasant if we choose love, hope and joy; if we choose a positive outlook and have faith. If we on the flip side, approach it with negativity, dreariness and dread, we will certainly find more of that ahead.

When our final destination is looming, we become more thoughtful and realize more than ever what was really important. If we are granted more time on this earth, we attempt to impart that to others.

Time withers away like grapes on a vine and finally, our journey must come to an end. After all, we were only pilgrims passing through! Let us pray we have left someone better than we found them and shared the way to heaven with many.

Optic Flow

cardinal

At lunch today, I enjoyed warm sun, a nice breeze and fresh air; an elixir guaranteed to induce tranquility and on occasion deeper than normal thought.

The chair I was lounging in was positioned so that I could look across the creek to a more densely wooded area.  Although there is a small clearing, the foliage is pretty dense, so I have never seen much except a few birds and a lone raccoon foraging for food.  Birdsong is plentiful from that direction though and today with me having just scared all the black birds away from my cardinal feeder and scattering over there, it was exceptionally loud.

There are always multiple bird species around, but today I noticed something I had never paid attention to before.  I was watching a particular bird fly from somewhere behind me into the wooded area and I noticed that he flew into the foliage and managed to dodge branches without even slowing down.  Having just watched the raccoon pick its way along the branches and move along carefully, the difference was made all the more obvious.

So, once again, I sat amazed at the wonders of our Creator.  I googled it later and found out that birds do this by a trick of the eye called optic flow.  Optic flow is the way our eyes perceive motion as we travel thru a landscape.  It is the illusion that trees and buildings are passing us by; the greater the optic flow the more quickly things seem to be moving.  Below is a short pbs.org video, in case you are interested in knowing more.

Optic Flow Video

As I sat and thought about this, it reminded me how the bird fully trusts his Creator; he forges on ahead using the talent God gave him.  And as God cares for this little bird, He cares for me.  He sees every obstacle ahead and prepares me to meet them head on.  I just have to do my part and trust Him every step of the way.

Matthew 6:25-27 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

The Anything But Ordinary Day

13511042_10154214939926763_6505748762857644676_n

Today started out like most ordinary Fridays, with me peering through half closed eyes at the clock to check the time, then realizing its almost seven and feeling like I’m wasting the day away.  I stumbled to the bathroom and on to the kitchen for coffee.  Thursday is my Friday, so today I allowed myself to sleep late (for me) and take my time getting the day started.

Most Friday’s I do errands and this day would be no exception.  As I journeyed to town, I took the time to thank God for the beauty all around me and to ask for His mercy throughout the day.  I thanked Him for loving me and loved on Him as I enjoyed the view and the drive.  I felt such peace and such a spirit of gratitude enveloped me.  I determined in my heart that nothing would take that perfect peace away today.

I thought of a quote I had read this morning that said something about how we could be standing right next to someone who is completely broken and never even know it.  I would approach others with this thought in mind and show love.

As I drove on, I didn’t sense any agitation over other drivers or traffic.  I had a busy day ahead and many things to do, but I turned up “The Message”, sung along and resolved to do each errand without rushing and with patience and kindness.

Part of my list today included picking up some of my granddaughter’s medications.  This can be a test in and of itself because often they aren’t ready, doctor hasn’t approved yet, they require a specialty pharmacy or a compound pharmacy (all things I would have never known about until Cali).   I called the farthest pharmacy away (the compound pharmacy) and although that one wasn’t ready yet, they said they would text me when it was.  My first actual stop was another pharmacy.  The prescriptions weren’t quite ready here either, but they told me to come in and by the time I got to the counter, they would have them.  They weren’t all covered by insurance, but the cashier offered to find a coupon that saved me $20.

One of these meds needed to be refrigerated, so I bought an inexpensive cooler and ice and was on my way to grab lunch.  My hubby’s business needs required my next two stops and I found what I needed without delay and readied myself to kill time waiting on the other prescription.  But, I got a text hours earlier than anticipated and proceeded to the other place, where everything was ready.

I went on about my day and every single conversation and experience was a pleasure.  Traffic seemed to be waiting to give me the best spot in line; everyone was kind and helpful and returned my smiles.  At my last stop, I talked to lady who was busily stocking shelves and she gave me a much appreciated compliment and then at the checkout I got to hear a story about a man who is helping build homes in earthquake devastated countries.

I left there with a grin on my face and the realization that today had been an extraordinarily good day; a day filled with peace and laughter.    Many days are filled with impatience and agitation.  Some “errand Fridays” I complain about traffic, rude people, long lines and anything else I can think of.  Today, I didn’t!

Yes, I know that all days aren’t amazing and bad things happen, and we are faced with trials and troubles.   However, I also know that how you approach your day makes a big difference in the outcome.  Oh, the problems are going to show up.    It’s how we deal with them that matters.

If I mediate on and implement the scriptures that say “love is patient and kind and long suffering” and the ones that say “think on good things” and “say things that edify others and build them up”, I know without a shadow of a doubt my day is going to go better than if I gripe, grumble and complain and look for the bad.  If I meet others with a long face or a scowl, guess what I will probably get in return?  If I greet the day with a grateful heart, thankful that I am saved by grace and given this precious gift that comes with such amazing peace I am much more likely to stay on the positive side of things.

As I sit here, errands done and the day winding down to a close I am thanking God again for His many blessings and for this anything but ordinary day.

Slow and Sure or Fast and Faulty?

SONY DSC

Like much of the time spent in my car, I had my music on low, enjoying my time alone with my Father.  Driving down one of the major roads in my area, I was again touched by the beauty that we pass every day, often taking for granted.  I thanked my Creator once more for the profound splendor He freely bestows on us daily, if we just take the time to notice it.

If you live in SW Florida during season, (Jan/May’ish), you know what it’s like to be at the end of a very long caravan of cars on a doubled lined, two way road with plenty of curves and no hope of passing.  The little green bug at the front was going all of 40 (in a 55) and I decided to just fall back and enjoy the drive.  Yes, I could start passing one of the 10 cars at a time, or pass on a double line like the maniac in front of me with a death wish but I know from experience that the best thing to do, in order to retain my peace, is to keep my distance.  I remembered someone saying how they had passed every car on this road, only to see those they passed pull up beside them at the first red light. Slow and sure won out.   This decision was likely influenced by the fact that I was in the midst of prayer at the time.

I looked ahead and saw a couple of older gentleman standing on the side of the road, waiting for the procession of cars to pass.  I slowed down even more as I noticed one of them, who just couldn’t wait another second, begin his jaunt to the other side.  He had a fishing pole in one hand and a tackle box in the other and he practically skipped to the other side.  I chuckled at his very apparent excitement to get to his fishing perch.

His friend however, stayed motionless on the side of the road, likely realizing I was the last car in the line.  He would just wait and take his time.  It might take him a little longer, but he would get there safe and sound.  I looked in the rearview mirror as he cautiously ventured out and across the road at a leisurely pace.

It may seem silly, but it warmed my heart to see these aged men out enjoying themselves on a beautiful day.  Watching them made me think of how some of us are like the first man, always running out ahead, leaping out in faith that we’re on the right path, anxious to move forward and arrive first.  This is great, but sometimes we find ourselves in a dangerous situation because we bolted ahead and didn’t think things through.

Others are like the 2nd man; we might be in pursuit of the same goal, but we approach it more cautiously, we wait for just the right moment and the best conditions and then we slowly and carefully progress, eyes wide open for danger.   But, could this cause us to miss out?  Doesn’t the early bird get the worm?

For a few moments, I focused on trying to ascertain which man used the best method to reach the goal.   I think I am little of each but I think I often tend to be more like the 2nd man.  My desire is to be as sure of the outcome as possible, before I venture out.  My goal going forward is to be a little more like the 1st man and just jump right in sometimes, especially in matters of faith.  Where faith is concerned, I don’t want to wonder and ponder; I want to dance to the other side knowing Who is in control.

I found myself unable to pick an all-out winner though because either scenario could serve us well, dependent on the particular circumstances.  One thing I do know;  in this case, they both arrived at their intended destination, with their bodies and equipment intact.

The other side of the fog

Sunday morning Word

This morning I was studying the story of Joseph from his coat of many colors and the telling of his prophetic dreams, to the jealous brothers casting him into a pit, and then selling him into slavery.  But all along God had a plan and He positioned Joseph to save Egypt and Canaan from famine.  A good outcome didn’t look possible to the human eye, guided by the flesh.

I was reminded of one of my recent trips to Miami to be supportive to my youngest daughter and visit my almost 8 month old granddaughter, struggling with an infection in her lungs.  Since her diagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis, she has fought and won many battles in the short time she has been around to bless us.  I attribute this to many prayers.

On the particular morning, the fog was thick and blanketed everything for miles.  My travelling progress was impeded as I slowly navigated my way through the unknown.  Visibility was limited, and I found myself a little nervous because I couldn’t see the cars coming toward me from miles away and I was unsure of what was creeping up behind me until the headlights broke through the fog.  I found myself focusing on the fog and its dangers, ready for the sun to break through and begin to burn it all away.

I felt the stirring of the Holy Spirit as I realized that once again, God was trying to teach me something.  You know, if we slow down and pay attention long enough, we can hear that still small voice.

Such is life.  In this journey through the vast unknowns with Cali, I know that on the other side of it, there is clarity.  I cannot begin to figure it all out now, to predict what is coming or to visualize the hidden hazards along the way.  I can apply this to so many situations in life; those where I can barely navigate on a daily basis, much less discern the outcome.

But, this I do know; on the other side of the fog, there is a Son and He always burns for me.  His will may not be understandable at times, the outcome may not always make sense to me, but I will continue to live in the knowledge that He wants the best for me.  In the midst of a broken, fallen world, He is my hope, my strength and my refuge.

Remember, it was never God’s intention that we live in a broken, fallen world that is filled with sin and hurt and hate.  And, He loved us enough to send His Son, to give us a chance at redemption, restoration and an eternal life, a life much more important than the short one we will live out on this earth.

Just give me my binky


14184334_291927831180064_7708206476541397998_n.jpg

We sat there in the dark watching her fight sleep, contorting her little face every which way trying to hold on to her binky when it threatens to fall.  A binky is otherwise known as a pacifier for those of you who may not have heard it referred to that way.  She loves that thing.  I’ve heard folks voice their opinions on them both pro and con and have probably stated my own in the past and likely in a negative way to some poor new parent.  This is something else I have learned; don’t judge the child still sucking a binky or maybe still wearing diapers.  I don’t know their journey.

13912343_280314879008026_5289825603233603215_nCali will be 5 months old on the 13th of this month and all she knows up until now is the inside of a room without outside windows.  It is mostly white and very sterile.  Thankfully, we can dress up the crib a bit and bring some toys in, but it’s just not home.  We can’t roll around in the floor or fall asleep with her nestled on our chest.  We have to wear yellow gowns to hold her and she is still attached to several lines or tubes.

I try to imagine her discharge day and the way her little eyes will behold so much newness in one day.  She will leave the room she has grown up in thus far, see sunlight, ride in a car, see her own home and sleep in a new bed.  As anxious as I am for all of this to occur, my heart goes out to these little ones making these big adjustments.   They are used to the whiteness, the machines, the beeping and blinking and the cries of other little ones.  Maybe I’m just emotional because this is my little granddaughter, but it’s something I have never once thought about until now.

I am determined to learn from this experience, resolved to be a better person because of it, and adamant about increasing in compassion and empathy for others.  This brings to mind the verse in Hebrews, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.”

We should be able to empathize with the weaknesses of others and consider their voyage through this life and the ups and downs and tests and turmoil.  Maybe I’m being too transparent when I admit how blind to the predicaments of others I have been in the past.  Perhaps some of you will think less of me because of it.  But, when I decided to have a blog, I always intended to openly share experiences, always hoping my stories would help shed light on someone else’s path.

I am sincerely grateful to God for every opportunity I get to show love and compassion to someone else, even though I still often fail Him.  I still fail in recognizing needs or simply stay too busy to do all that I would like to.  You know, part of loving others starts with really listening, taking time enough to know a need exists.  We are a busy people and we have to make a point to slow down and be attentive, even in our own families.

PS – Cali is doing much better.  They removed her PICC line this week.  Her bottle feeding has increased greatly as tube feeding has decreased.  She is up to 8 lbs 1 oz and if she continues to do well on feeds and continues to gain weight, our discharge date will be closer 🙂

Related articles:  When life throws a curve ball and Cali; the gift that keeps on giving

 

A Few of My Favorite Things

IMG_3416

Inspiration from the Discover Challenge: The Poetry of List Making

A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS

  • Rising before dawn to have coffee and spend time with Jesus
  • Reading in bed until I am drowsy enough to fall asleep
  • Bear hugs from the ones I love
  • Good morning or good night texts from my daughters
  • A nice meal shared with friends or family around a table
  • Sitting outside in the shade enjoying God’s creation
  • Reliving old and making new memories with my girls
  • When my husband calls and plays our wedding song over the phone
  • The hauntingly beautiful sound of a hooting owl outside my window
  • Time spent in worship or fellowship with my church family
  • Sunset boat rides and fishing with the love of my life
  • Travelling anywhere with someone I love along for the trip
  • My quiet devotion time in my favorite chair
  • The satisfaction of a full day’s work
  • Anything and everything to do with my granddaughters
  • Autumn and falling leaves, cooler temperatures and pumpkin everything

Rain or shine

Storms never last

It was a muggy Sunday afternoon and the steam rose up from the pavement as I traveled towards Miami to visit my granddaughter in the hospital.

Thankfully, I was nice and chilly thanks to my Explorer’s air conditioning unit.  As I took in the beauty around me and prayed for our little Cali and other needs, I remember becoming very aware of a Florida weather phenomenon if you will.

One minute it was raining, pelting down all around me, wipers rushing side to side on high speed, struggling to keep up with the falling drops.  The next minute, the sun was peeking out, I caught glimpses of that steam rising, and I could see blue skies ahead.  Then again suddenly, the clouds overhead would fight to shed their moisture, seemingly all on in one area and then I would burst forth out of the deluge again and readjust the wipers.  As soon as I thought we were down to that low intermittent speed, the skies would open up again.

If you are from Florida or traveled Florida much in the summer, you are likely shaking your head in agreement, as the same thing has happened to you.  Maybe it happens in other places too, but I’ve only experienced it in my home state.  Rain is pouring down on my neighbor and my grass and foliage is begging for a drop.

Anyway, all of this is occurring as I am fervently praying for answers and help with all of the complicated little vignettes of drama in my life.  The same thing occurs 4 or 5 times, and I was beginning to think it was getting a little creepy like I was in the twilight zone.   Finally I go through what was to be the last storm and I see the light…the sunlight and no more clouds.  I see perfectly beautiful, clear skies with no rain in sight.   I feel like God is showing me that there will be days of rain and days of sunshine, there will be storms, there will be times when you aren’t sure what to expect but in the end you will make it through.  There will be days of bright sunshine again.

Then I feel that peace, that wonderful peace that always assures me He has heard my cries.  And I know that he will continue to give me strength for the journey.

Blessings!

Daily Doodle

by PMu Ink

The Anonymous Writer's Notebook

Create, Share, Inspire

Fearless

Diagnosis of a Chronic Disease Turned My World Upside Down

pinkiebag

A blog all about my love of cups of tea and dairy free food

Let The Light In ~ Reflections

Reflections of a Christian (Cafeteria) Roman Catholic on Religion, Faith and Life Today

The Meat & Potatoes of Life

By Lisa Smith Molinari

The Shepherd's Presence

Living under the guidance of the Good Shepherd. All of living should be lived in light of God's Word. I enjoy taking life's litte parts and making them practical, yet have spiritual depth.

Laura's Lens

Taking a look at the beauty around us

Trailing Ellipsis...

Pausing Every Day To Find Jesus On The Trail

Believe.

Let your children believe.

Artsy Wanderer

a stroll through life

Austenprose - A Jane Austen Blog

Join the celebration of Jane Austen novels, movies, sequels and the pop culture she has inspired

average2athlete

EAT like an Athlete, TRAIN like an Athlete, THINK like an Athlete...BE an Athlete.

THE RIVER WALK

Daily Thoughts and Meditations as we journey together with our Lord.

Storyshucker

A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

Long walks and dark chocolate

Life as a wife, mom, nana and follower of Christ; hoping to share from lessons learned

This Caring Heart

From a heart that cares ... sometimes too much

Good Time Stories

Inspiring and Heartwarming Stories

Wendy L. Macdonald

My faith is not shallow because I've been rescued from the deep.

%d bloggers like this: