Door number two

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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.

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!

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.

One and only reader

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Singular Sensation.”

If you could have a guarantee that one, specific person was reading your blog, who would you want that person to be? Why? What do you want to say to them?

Where I escape to find my strength

Where I escape to find my strength

This post will be short and sweet and might sound cliche’ to some, but it’s the truth.

I would want that one specific person to be the one specific person who really needed that post today.  My joy comes when someone says, “that hit home”, or “that really resonated in my spirit” or something of the sort.

I would say to them that I do this not only because I genuinely love words and writing, but because if I can help someone think in a way they’ve never considered or be a little kinder today than yesterday, that’s enough for me.

We live in a world filled with negativity, pain and turmoil,  My life is a life of a peace that passes all human understanding, in the midst of it all; it’s a peace I long to share.

God Bless you!

another FL sunset

another FL sunset

Goodnight December

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I’m sitting inside, a couple of hours away from 2015, enjoying my Christmas tree for what will probably be the last time this season.  As much as I look forward to what the new year will hold, it always saddens me to pack away the Christmas decorations. There is just something about Christmas; the spirit of love that is in the air, people are nicer, and family members and friends seem more appreciative of one another.

The hubby and friends are outside playing corn hole, there are fireworks blasting in the distance, and other faint sounds outside of parties and traffic in the neighborhood.  Being the introvert that I am, I would rather spend my time quietly reflecting on the past year and meditating on God and what His will is for me for 2015.

This has been a tough year in many ways for many people.  The news has been overflowing with sad stories and bad news and full of fear inducing possibilities.  I hear it said that we could say that at the end of every year, but I have to disagree.

The thing I know to be true is that when I place my faith in God, all of the worry, fear and hopelessness vanishes.  When everything is falling down around me and I feel the strength of the waves of oppression and the heat of the battle, I have an Advocate.  This coming year, that is what I will hold on to.  No matter what situations may arise, God always has a plan.  It might not fit into my self-established agenda, but if I will follow it, all things will work for my good.

Have a happy and blessed New Year – Find out what God’s plan is for you and adhere to it and experience the joy that will follow.

Love and Blessings,

Lisa

Warning signs

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As I opened up the mirrored door on my closet, I caught a glimpse of my downcast expression.  As I began to reflect on my mood at such an early morning hour, I stopped what I was doing.  At that moment, I knew one thing.  All cleaning had to cease and desist.  A navy dress in mid-air about to meet its hangar home was tossed into the heap of clothing.

I was compelled by an overwhelming desire for my knees to hit the floor and His ears to hear my heart.  I had to meet with my King and the sooner the better.

The signs are always obvious.  I have been acquainted with them for years.  My thinking turns dark, bleak and negative, or my mood plummets, or my reactions to others become sarcastic or haughty, or I may just feel somewhat hopeless about something.  There are other indicators, but these are some I recognize right away.

At this point, I can choose to obey the signs and heed the direction they are leading me or find myself lost, anxious and floundering until I backtrack to what I knew to be the right course from the outset.  This time, I do the right thing and soon find myself in my office on the floor.

Why do we sometimes ignore the signs and symptoms that our joy is being stolen, our hope is fading and our faith is weak?  I believe the biggest reason is our busyness.  We neglect to pencil in the time on our already too-full, appointment laden calendars for God.  Our most important appointment, the one that should be the springboard for all other appointments, is missing.

As God continues to deal with me about this, I know this…

When He isn’t in first place, nothing falls into place.

As I poured out my heart to Him this morning and the joy, that only He can give, flooded my soul, I was reminded once again why I set my clock early (on most mornings).  The day that is bathed in prayer while the sun still sleeps, is a day that brings with it the peace and courage to face whatever might come my way.  It’s a day faced with renewed faith and strength.  Most importantly, it’s a day where I have once again relinquished control and chose to place it in His all-knowing, ever-loving hands.

Leave your mark

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As I turned to walk toward home, I saw the long white mark in the sky.  The beautiful blue background made it very noticeable.  A jet had made it’s mark against the backdrop of today’s seemingly endless blue skies.  As I gazed upward, the stripe began to grow a little hazy, it’s lines less defined.  It became lighter and within a few moments, it was gone.  I recalled watching these streaks in the sky until they disappeared when I was a child and wondered why I was so attracted to this fading puff in the sky.  After all, it doesn’t really leave much of a mark, just a temporary trail; they are actually sometimes called “vapor trails”.  It’s presence is fleeting.  It is big, bold and powerful, for a moment…..but quickly gone and forgotten.

“Leaving a mark” stuck in my mind and the wheels began to turn.  What is my mark, I pondered?  I would hope that it would be colorful, not plain old white, which my 4 year old granddaughter would quickly tell you, is the absence of color.   She has smart parents, but I digress.

I want my mark to be big and bold, but more importantly, lasting and worthy of repeating.  I don’t want it to be meager and shallow, but significant and deep.

Every single one of us is leaving one.  Aren’t you glad to know that if you started out faint and superficial, you have time to broaden your stroke?  If you have left black, ugly marks, there is still time for healing.  If you feel you haven’t left much of an impression at all, you can begin to color and embellish.  Additionally, we can also choose to overlook the marks left by others and encourage them to paint over and start fresh.

Let’s leave marks of kindness, faithfulness, generosity, compassion, integrity, patience and above all love.

Morning dew and joy

rain drops on hisbicus

rain drops on hisbicus

The only light she saw was the blue dot on the DVR player and a soft glow from the computer screen.  At 2:00am, it was dreadfully dark and silent except for the sound of the ceiling fan as it followed its infinite circular route.

It was time; time for prayer and quiet reflection, time to stop suppressing the angst and the pain; time to release the fear and let it all tumble out in salty cleansing tears.

She doesn’t like to cry, especially not this kind of cry; the heart-wrenching sobs that had threatened like a black and dreaded storm cloud for days now.  She likes to show herself strong, capable, and unmoved by life’s jabs and pokes and knockouts.

But deep within, she knows that to give up on self, to let go and let God is the answer.  That is when the healing can begin and joy will return.  Not the “ha-ha” playground laughter kind of joy, but the deep-down to your soul kind.  On her knees, pouring it out in sobs that are interrupted by deep gasping breaths, she lets God right things.

Then, peace ensues and a heart at rest can finally rest.   The mind stops racing, and the once elusive sleep comes quickly.

Morning breaks with a sunrise of hope and goals and motivation afresh!  Yes, joy does come in the morning.

Too blessed

City Park, New Orleans

City Park, New Orleans

We are finally home from vacation and although I had a wonderful time and wouldn’t take back the beautiful visit and fun times and laughter, I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tonight.

I was browsing facebook earlier and saw that a very wise, young lady posted a status that said, in essence, ‘lighten up, everyone has depressing statuses today”.

Her status reminded me once again how very fortunate most of us are.  I had to stop and reflect on this trip and how many times I made silly negative comments about a late cab or a long drive or even (as ridiculous as it may seem) about eating too much.

As soon as these utterances leave my mouth, I regret them.   I think of the family living in a car because they have lost their home, or people who can’t afford to go on vacation this year because they have too many medical expenses.  What about the starving children?  What if they could be a bug on a wall as we rubbed our bellies, filled with all manner of delicacies while exclaiming, “Wow, I did it again; ate way too much”.  I would be embarrassed.

So what can I do?  I can start by making sure that I voice good things, that I focus on the positive, and that I remember at all times how very much I am blessed.  For me, it’s about remembering from Whom I get my strength, hope and peace.

I truly believe that what we say can influence for good or bad.  If I grumble and complain, that propagates more of the same.  And seriously, isn’t life arduous enough at times without me broadcasting the bad like the ratings-hungry news media does?

So, once again I vow to try to remember those less fortunate than me when I find myself in a far from horrid situation that beckons a complaint or murmur.  I will silence the fuss with praise or a blessing!

Serenity

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Salty summer breeze offering little comfort

Warm rays of sunshine caress everything within its vast reach

All is quiet, except for gentle waves lapping against the boat

The occasional seagull cries out in his quest to find dinner

My eyelids are heavy with a lovely, peaceful drowsiness

My book falls to the floor as I give in to slumber…ahhhh

By Lisa

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