Life is a saga

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Life is a saga, a long and complicated story with many details. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you live very long at all this applies. Our life begins on page one, with our birth and if you have ever been in a room of women discussing childbirth, that can be a saga in itself. We live, we learn, we grow and we change.

We all have a story but it’s what we do with our stories that can make a difference. I was discussing this a little bit in my Sunday school class this morning. We go through things sometimes that make no sense, seasons filled with trials and tribulations. They are going to touch each one of us, but oh the difference when we allow God to teach us through them instead of sinking and wallowing in a big warm pile of self-pity.

I’m not saying not to grieve or that it’s wrong to cry, but when we’re done, get up and move on and let what we have learned, even when it was a tough, teach someone else. Some of the things I have been through in my life have allowed me to counsel or encourage other mothers or wives who are now going through the same thing. Can God really take that year of weeping and hurting and use it to impart healing in someone else? Why, yes He can and I can attest to having been on the giving and receiving end of both trial and help.

At times we try to pretend like we don’t know the meaning of grief or affliction and I’m not sure why, as we all are familiar with its sting. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, as long as we are this side of heaven, we will encounter difficulty. It’s how we deal with it that sets us apart.

Wouldn’t it be great to know that your saga didn’t end at your death because even after your demise other lives were still touched because of you? I think we all want to leave this world knowing we have imparted wisdom, hope and truth into others.

I was cleaning out a closet the other day and found an old journal of my mother’s. I’m sure I saw it and positive that I would have looked inside near the time of her death. The other day coming across the old treasure again I opened it up and saw that old familiar handwriting on the yellowing front page. For some reason I leafed through the other pages and buried in the middle were about five more pages that I had never seen before. They were written in and around December of 95’ and into the first months of January 96’. Mom died in June of 96’ so these “new” words were like gold to me. They were a new discovery of some of her personal thoughts in her final months. More of the saga of her much shortened life and they meant so much to me. They touched me and as I read them, I again felt her faith and strength. She imparted another precious gift to me almost twenty years after she met Jesus.

I was blessed to have a mother whose wisdom and guidance has served me well over the course of my life. Whether we are mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters or friends, we too can choose to let our stories help us grow into better people and use their lessons to love on others. Isn’t that part of what love is all about?

 

Daily Prompt:  Saga

Daily Prompt: Pensive

12183926_10153666325746763_7447737793838516270_oThe Daily Prompt was pensive; below is my humble offering….

She sat there, dreamily staring out the window; both hands around her favorite cup, which was still warm from the hot tea he had watched her pour earlier. She was in a pensive mood.

He was familiar with her moods and he’d seen this particular one more after the kids were gone. She would stare out the window, a hint of sadness on her face, sometimes wiping a tear from her eye. He was pretty sure he understood how she felt, but sometimes he wasn’t quite sure how to help. She had also mentioned some lady issue that started with an “m” that made her a little more moody on some days.

He walked over to her chair and embraced her in a hug and said, “Are you missing the girls, babe?” She said, “Yes” with a shaky voice. He gently pulled her up from her favorite chair and she melted into the arms that had held her close for over 20 years.

After a long embrace he asked, “How about we go across the bay and catch dinner?” The smile twinkled in her eyes before it reached her lips and he knew he had brought her back from the walk down nostalgia lane. She ran to grab a jacket and he smiled knowing he had been her hero once again.

Daily Prompt: Underestimate

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The prompt was Underestimate 

Some things we tend to underestimate…..

The power of an Almighty God

The effectiveness of a fervent prayer

The consequence of a bad decision

The contagiousness of a warm smile

The loving benefit of a sincere hug

The influence of an invested mentor

The powerful result of forgiveness

The impact of sincere kindness

The beauty that comes from a pure heart

The way life changes after we have children

The way time flies from birth to graduation

The time it sometimes takes to right a wrong

You can’t change their spots

 

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My love and I in 94′

Since I like to impart knowledge to the younger crowd, I listen to their conversations with great attentiveness to things that bother them.  When I hear them discussing relationships, my ears perk up because I have been married for 22 years and let’s just say I’ve learned a lot.  So, in an attempt to save someone a little heartache or just to make you think, I wanted to share some thoughts.  If you are currently in a relationship, it would behoove you to take great care to notice the things that irritate you now.  Once you have been married for a few years, they will irritate you more.  That cute little snuffling snore will become something you despise.  Trust me on this one.  I write more about it at Sleeping with the Enemy .

A good marriage is work; it doesn’t just happen and it’s not 50/50 like so many say; it requires each giving 100% for the best shot at making it work.  Because it isn’t easy, you should be careful when you begin to consider a spouse; someone you intend to spend your life with (because in my opinion that should be the goal at the onset).  If you are looking at it as something you can jump out of at a whim, you’re going in with the wrong attitude. Unfortunately, that seems to be how many younger folks see it, but I digress.

One of the things to consider is the fact that you cannot change someone.  They are who and what they are and no amount of whining, griping, threatening, withholding or pouting is going to change that.  That will only serve to make both of you more miserable.  So, if you already have a growing list of the many things you do not like about your “love”, you better think long and hard about this.

When you’ve been married a couple of years and the baby has been up all night, the ac is out and your checkbook is in the negative, it takes patience and stick-to-itiveness.  At times like these, when your knight in shining armor has let his facial hair get all prickly and he is sitting in his favorite spot in his boxers all puffed up like toad, you have to dig deep, sister.   It’s not always like the movies…wait, it’s rarely ever like the movies.

What I am trying to convey is, don’t settle now thinking that your Mr. (or Mrs.) with the problem(s) is going to change once you marry, or once you have a baby, or once they get a job they like.  If they have an addiction problem, they are going to carry it into the marriage and, in my opinion, keep it until they allow God to deliver them.  If your “girl” has a spending problem, and you are very frugal, think twice or you might be paying off credit card debt for decades.  If they aren’t romantic and you are sappy and schmaltzy and not happy if you aren’t having dinner by candlelight, think it through.   I hear way too many of you young ones say, “Things will change when X happens”.  No, they won’t.  Don’t fool yourself.

No marriage is perfect, but figure out what your deal breakers are.  I am saying this as a woman with a failed first marriage that lasted 10 years and a 2nd one that has lasted 22.  I love my husband dearly and I am grateful that we can talk things through and we have overcome many obstacles and have been through many storms together.  We had family values in common and that is important.  We don’t believe in going to bed mad so we don’t let things fester and get bitter over them.  We are experts in the art of compromise.  I would be remiss if I didn’t give glory to God for giving me the faith, grace and love to be a godly wife as I’m sure things wouldn’t have gone as well without His divine hand.

Remember what real love is and ask yourself if this is the kind of love you have.  Obviously we all fail at some of this at times, but following is a good set of scriptures to meditate on and have been a source of strength for me in the darker hours.  In the words of St Paul – Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Laughing with Mother

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Mom loved getting cards!

With vivid clarity, I can remember her laughter coming from the other side of the Hallmark aisle, where she had found a card funnier than the one we had just shared a laugh over.   She would say, “We better stop laughing so loud, or they are going to kick us out of here”.  My sister will remember the good times in the Hallmark stores with Mother too.  She loved cards, loved giving and receiving them and we could spend half an hour finding funny ones and reading them aloud to each other.  Then, we would get the giggles and with tears coming from our eyes and our bellies sore from laughing, we would finally move on to another store.

This is just one of the memories I cherish with Mother, who went home to be with the Lord almost 20 years ago.

A couple of days ago, when I walked the aisles of the card store, picking out cards, I felt that old, familiar pang of loss like I always do around Mother’s Day and several other times throughout the year.  You don’t ever stop missing a presence that made your world brighter.  My mom was like a ray of sweet sunshine and anyone who knew her can attest to that.

So, for those missing your mom on this special day, who like me, have already experienced their departure from this world, take time to honor their memory today.  Look at old pictures, laugh, reminisce.  You can have one of those downright ugly cries and use a whole box of tissues if you need to.   But when you’re done, get up and honor that memory by being the best mom you can be.

For those of you who have lost children or desperately long for them and are unable to bear them, my heart breaks for you and I pray God’s peace and presence with you on this day and always. If you don’t have children of your own, or yours are grown and gone, there are plenty in this world that need a mother figure to guide them.  Surely there is one out there, just waiting and yearning for your nurturing.  God instilled that nurturing in us and we can greatly impact this world if we share it freely and broadly.

And for those of you who don’t know your mother, don’t feel like you have one or maybe your childhood wasn’t like the ones you dreamed about; God bless you!  And in the words of my daughter last night at dinner, “Jesus can be a mother or father to anyone who needs Him to be”.   Yes He can.  He can fulfill any desire that your heart is longing for.

Happy Mother’s Day my friends.  Enjoy!

 

 

Daily Prompt: Contrast

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The Daily Prompt was to write a post in response to the word “contrast”.  Here is my humble offering. (and this isn’t about anyone I know, just made it up)

He could be unpleasant, but she was a dear

How they ended up united remained quite unclear

She was charming and gracious, always polite

He was quiet, and none too appealing by sight

But oh how they loved and no matter the weather

Contrasting characters but together forever

Daily Prompt: Divide

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After work today, when I clicked on the Daily post and saw that the Prompt was to write a post using the word Divide, I headed outside.  I wanted to park myself in my chair and enjoy this already spring-like SW FL weather and meditate on the topic and see what transpired…..

In this season of political uncertainty, amidst the myriad major issues facing not just our beloved United States, but the entire world, can we just stop for a minute?

Can we take a moment to remove our focus from the voices telling us the numerous reasons we should be divided and instead remember all that we have in common?  Social media and the news media are ripe with ideas on how to tear each other apart, but who says we have to buy into the hate and the drama?

We are all humans; we have a heart, mind, body and soul, with warm rich blood flowing through our veins.  We all have feelings, even though we may express them differently.  We were all created in the image of God, our Divine Creator.

Let’s love one another.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

This may seem a little too maudlin for some, but it’s what’s on my heart.  Peace.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.  I Corinthians 13:4-8

Costco conflict

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The lady was rude; there was no doubt about that. She was rude in a way that made me physically hurt for the person the rudeness was directed to. My much younger companion, the victim of the remark, swallowed the bait and bit back, with a snotty retort, more to assuage her wounded pride than anything else. I wanted to hide under my shopping cart.

“Just walk away, I pleaded. It’s not worth it, she is an elder, and she may have recently lost her husband or something equally traumatic. I didn’t raise you to behave this way.” Alas, there is only so much you can say to an adult child.

My youngest responded, loudly enough for everyone on the same aisle to hear her “Well, I will report her to management for how she is treating customers, then.” I was mortified as I felt the stares. I loathe confrontation to begin with, and I certainly didn’t like the unforgiving spirit I saw in my precious woman-child. She continued to mumble and complain about Costco and how it’s too full of people and she was never going back as I wondered who she really belonged to and how I could get her out of there before she blew a gasket.

Gently and cautiously, I continued to suggest reasons people behave insensitively and how we give them the benefit of the doubt. She calmed down but when we got close to check-out, she said, “I’m still reporting her”, but I noticed she smiled when she said it. Then she said, “I tell you what, Mom, buy me a hot dog and I won’t say anything.” I said, “Done, while I reached into my wallet and grabbed a bill”.

This was her way of pleasing me without having to admit she had lost the zeal to persecute. This made it look like I had to bribe her to keep her from doing the deed, but she knows I would have bought her the $1 hot dog, either way. I’m calling it a win.

Who will cast the first stone?

another FL sunset

another FL sunset

Sometimes I feel it building up and if I don’t get it out, I will explode or maybe implode.  I don’t know, but I do know it means I have to write.  Today I am frustrated with people who say things flippantly and sometimes ignorantly, seemingly calloused to the impact their words may have on others.

I live in a small town and like many small towns we seem to be facing an increasing drug problem and everyone is on edge about it.  It’s everywhere, but you feel it most where you live.

Let me say right up front that I hate drugs.  As a matter of fact, I hate alcohol, a drug that has caused me far more pain than anything illegal ever did.  The definition for drug that I found is “a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body”, so yes; I throw alcohol right in there.  It’s the one that has ruined many of the good “stories” in my life; I’ve watched many loved ones struggle and thankfully, some overcome that battle.  Those on this side of that conflict will tell you that their victory came through Christ.

Now, with that said, does it do any good for me to belittle people who are fighting what very well could be the biggest battle of their life; the battle of addiction?  Does that help them in any way?  Do they not already have a clue that they are in serious trouble?  Does my loving them in spite of it mean I condone the action or behavior?  Not hardly.

Here is what bothers me the most, especially now that we have so much airing of dirty laundry (usually not our own, just everyone else’s) on social media.  When we report things in an insensitive manner, using names and harsh words and innuendo, there might be a child out there who loves that parent who is getting blasted; a child who has been through things that some of us have never had to go through, nor do we understand.  A child who doesn’t need to see and hear over and over again how worthless their parent is; a child who would benefit much more from our prayers, as would their parent.

There is a mama or a daddy or a grandparent, who is walking a road they never wanted to walk; who did all the right things, who prayed all the right prayers, who did the best job they could and for some reason, their child or grandchild fell right into the trap anyway.  A loved one who hurts and cries themselves to sleep and tries to do the best they can; a loved one who doesn’t need to be reminded that their very flesh is making all the wrong choices, by people who have made plenty of bad choices themselves.

I love the scripture that says “let those of you without sin cast the first stone”.  You notice how they all scattered when Jesus said that?

I believe we should follow the law, unless it would cause us to sin.  I believe people who do illegal things should have consequences.  I believe people should rise up in unity and fight the drug battles in their communities by letting dealers and users know we see, we know and we want it to stop and we will do whatever we can to that end.  We don’t want it around our children.  We don’t want needles in our park and we don’t want people who are too messed up to walk, speeding around in automobiles. Dealers should be run out of town if they aren’t going to change their ways.  I agree with all of that and I’m willing to jump on that bandwagon.

However, I also believe in love, mercy and compassion.  I also know that the minute you say, “my child would never do that”, you need to be prepared to eat your words.  I have learned this from experience.  Many people have not learned this yet.  Some think they know everything already and they aren’t open to learn; they have an unteachable spirit.  It’s easier to observe and judge and form opinions based on what they know “up until now”.  Until you have been through something, you have no idea; you really don’t.  None of the people suffering this fate woke up one morning and said, “I think I’ll become a drug addict today”.

The sad thing is that some people seem to take some kind of sick pleasure when neighbors or their family members fail.  This is the saddest thing of all to me.    My hope for all of the people struggling is that they would be WHOLE and FREE and live the life God created them to live.  So the question I ask myself is, “how do I play a part in that happening”?  Quite frankly, my role most of the time is to keep my mouth shut and pray.  I asked a very wise young man who suffered from addiction for many years how to pray for people who are suffering the same fate and he said, “Pray for them to receive a divine revelation of the love of Christ”.   Thank you, I will do that ❤

Be Blessed!

Lift them up

rain drops on hisbicus

rain drops on hisbicus

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Cringe-Worthy.”

Do you feel uncomfortable when you see someone else being embarrassed? What’s most likely to make you squirm?

It bothers me to see anyone being embarrassed, but I think the worst I have ever been confronted with is when a man or woman belittles their spouse in front of others.  It makes me sick.  Sure, we all tease sometimes, and depending on how close you are with friends or family, there may be times you tease a little more due to histories together.

I was in Walmart the other day and a married (judging from the fact they both had on rings) couple were shopping for cards.  He spoke to her with the most condescending tone and looked at her like she was beneath him.  She was trying to find the perfect card and he was obviously tired of waiting.  It was almost as if he knew I could hear him and was enjoying that fact that he could humiliate her in public.  I was embarrassed for her and hurt for the pain she must be feeling.

When I see this situation, I can’t help but wonder what makes someone so bitter and miserable that they treat people the way they do.  I realize that my glimpse into their lives was just that; a mere glimpse.  To give him the benefit of the doubt, perhaps he was having a bad day, or had a medical condition or there was some logical excuse for treating her so poorly.

For the others, the ones who make it a habit and lifestyle of it, I pray that they would realize that others are not impressed, and that their behavior is not even remotely acceptable.  Often, people do this because they are so insecure themselves and they are trying to prove they are in control.

I am thankful for a husband who shows love and affection and appreciation for me and never tries to humiliate me.  We are here to lift each other up and support one another.  And in keeping with my mother’s day theme this year, I will again express thanks to my mother who taught me better than this.  She always taught me that you never disrespect someone you love, especially not in public.  If you have something to discuss that could escalate, save it for later.  Don’t put someone you love down, life them up.

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