Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

He was 21 in 1944,
He was hope, and he was courage on a lonely shore.
Sent there by a mother, with love beyond her tears,
Just a young American who chose to rise above his fears,
And as I watch him struggle up that hill,
Without a thought of turning back.

I cannot help but wonder
What did he die for,
When he died for you and me,
Made the sacrifice so that we could all be free.
I believe that we will answer each to heaven,
For the way we spend a priceless liberty.
Look inside and ask the question,
What did he die for, when he died for you and me.

To the darkest day in A.D. 33,
Came the mercy and compassion of eternity,
Sent there by a Father with love beyond his tears,
Blameless one the only Son to bear the guilt of all these years,
And as I watch him struggle up that hill,
Without a thought of turning back,
I cannot help but wonder,

What did he die for,
When he died for you and me,
Made the sacrifice so that we could all be free.
I believe that we will answer each to heaven,
For the way we spend a priceless liberty.
Look inside and ask the question,
What did he die for, when he died for you and me.

He died for freedom,
He died for love,
And all the things we do to pay him back
Could never be enough.

What did he die for,
When he died for you and me,
Made the sacrifice so that we could all be free.
I believe that we will answer each to heaven,
For the way we spend a priceless liberty.
Look inside and ask the question,
What did he die for,
When he died for you and me.
-Twila Paris

Hope Because of Sovereignty

This morning I’ve been thinking about the Sovereignty of God, the infinite reasons that God allows difficult things to happen to us in our lives. The questions seem to always niggle in the back of our minds. In those moments when life is the hardest, when our hearts are broken, when we are wrestling to understand, and accept unchangeable circumstances, or wait through the pain to get to the other side of a problem, to make sense of unfair things that make no sense. With hearts ripped out, pain that seems unbearable, frustration that brings us right to the edge we cry out. Where are you God? Why this? Why now? When will it end? Are you really there? Deep longing threatens to overwhelm, fear nearly consumes us. All that we believe and know to be true feels fake and unreal. We doubt, we struggle, we flounder around trying to find God in it. It is in those moments, those pivotal, most important moments that we get to the bottom of ourselves and faith is all that is left. We either shrivel and faint in weakness, fear, anger and discouragement, or we look up, and run into the safety and truth of His Sovereignty. We cling to the truth, we take courage in His words, our mustard seed like faith is bolstered by words of encouragement. We believe Him when He says:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;” Isaiah 43:1b-3a

“We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart. I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He.” Deuteronomy 32:4

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

In those moments we believe because we have walked through lesser things with Him before. We know Him. We can feel Him comforting us, hear him whispering “It is I, don’t be afraid.” Our hearts are heavy and yet His presence helps. We know He will carry us through it. The questions get quieter and quieter as we begin to rest in His Sovereignty knowing that somehow some way God has intended this heartache, this terrible undesirable problem to draw us to Himself, to speak of His power, to further His kingdom and or reputation, to grow us to be more like Himself, to give us a story with which to encourage some other hurting soul in future days when we are on the other side of this. Desperate hope in His plan, His way, His vision holds us together.

Hang in there my friend, cling to Him. Believe in Him. Do not lose hope, do not give up, do not let the fear paralyze you. Do not get tired and lose faith. Hang on. He knows, He sees, He loves you. Believe. Tell yourself the truth…run into His arms and believe Him when He says: “So do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand!”

Know that I love you. My heart breaks for you. I am holding you up in prayer…standing with you, supporting you. I’m praying for wisdom, for hope, for strength, for faith, for answers, and for peace. Lord come, surround with overwhelming comfort, peace, and love. Encourage and give hope. Make paths straight, and open eyes to see Your purpose. Help them to hold on, to accept, to work through, to grow and have faith.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Amazing Inspiration!

On Saturday morning we got up early and gathered in Seattle’s Gas Work’s Park to witness the culmination of a dream, the checking off of a bucket list item for two of “our kids” Becca and Joel. After training for months, Becca and Joel ran a ½ marathon. Knowing what this meant to them, I was overwhelmed by emotion as Becca rounded the corner. Tears streaming down my face I cheered and screamed “YOU’RE A ROCK STAR!!!” Joel came in shortly behind her and finished with a powerful sprint. I was SO inspired by their grit(Becca ran the whole 13.1 miles…beating her previous straight run distance by more than double.) I couldn’t be prouder of you! I love you guys!!! Thank you Becca and Joel for teaching me what it means to set a goal and make it happen! And now…they are moving on to the next goal on the list! J.

Wedding Day!

Any time I attend a wedding, whether it is someone I barely know, or someone I know well I always get a lump in my throat. Each wedding reminds me of my own wedding. And so it was at my nephew Adam’s wedding on Friday evening. There were so many memorable things about the event. Kat was beautiful! Barb did an amazing job on the food. By far the most poignant moments of the evening(besides the “I do’s” that is) had to do with Ben(the older brother and best man), who is deployed with the Navy in Afghanistan. One of the bridesmaids brought a framed picture of Ben(in Navy blues) draped with signage that read “On Loan to the Navy.” down the aisle and placed it on a easel. Then the pastor prayed specifically for Ben…and to top off the evening in true God fashion…the Bride and Groom sped away in their getaway vehicle only to realize that Adam had forgotten his wallet at the hall. They came back to get it and about 2 minutes after they arrived back at the hall Ben called to send his best wishes. Tears around! Thank you God for your perfect timing!!! Hannah even got a “family picture” while Ben was on the phone.

Another special moment for me was when all four of my sisters, my Mom and I posed for a picture together. All very different, sometimes complicated relationships, yet true love was evident as we held each other in a group hug afterward. I am so very blessed to call them mine! I love you all very much! J.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Wedding

Today my nephew gets married. There are so many things to look forward to about today. Adam and Kat are adorable together. I’m praying the difficulties in her family will not cast a shadow over the day. Hopefully they will be able to relax and enjoy their day! Our whole family coming together is always fun…dancing the evening away will be enjoyable etc.

I remember our wedding day. While the mother’s were getting their hair done we went to the mall to shop. We ran into several people who were there shopping for our gift. It’s still funny to think about it. Of course I can’t forget Peter’s wedding just a few short months ago. Precious memories!

H. is the official photographer…her first wedding. I know the pictures will be creative and well done. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with. I’m incredibly proud of her.

So much to do! Not a lot of time! Very exciting! J.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mid-Afternoon Laugh

Laughter…doesn’t just seeing the word make you want to smile?

This afternoon we had a good laugh. Just to set the stage you need to know two things: the Pharmacy is on an incredibly busy street and we have a dreadfully steep driveway. Darlene, one of our delivery drivers, was loading up the van with boxes when her fully loaded cart got away from her and took off at a break-neck pace headed down the driveway toward the street with Darlene hot on its tail, elbows and heels flying. By all accounts the cart flew by the window! Then Darlene flew by the window! Laurel was screaming “OH NO!! OH NO!! OH NO!!” Seconds later the cart entered the roadway, tipped over and dumped the contents of the boxes(hundreds of newly filled cards of medications)all over the road. The cars amidst screeches, fishtailed and stopped just in the nick of time. Several rushed to pick up the mess.

Thankfully no harm no foul. Emergency averted, we all nearly fell on the floor laughing. Hilarious! I love a great mid-afternoon laugh! J.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Frozen in Fear

We are having a really weird weather day. At noon it was warm, clear blue sky with wispy white clouds…by 1:30 it was dark, heavy storm clouds, wind, and pounding rain. That’s why they say “This is Washington, if you don’t like the weather wait a few minutes it will change!” True enough today!

On another note…I’ve been thinking a lot about this thing I do. I’ve referenced this before here and here,but I have been taking it out and really having a good look at it and I am determined to deal with it and move forward without it. After setting a goal, I’m really excited about it. I can even make really great progress toward the goal. As I approach either completion or a hard spot…when I’m right at the most critical moment I sabotage myself, and eventually give up. Why do I do that I ask myself?

I believe it is a fear of failure. Sitting with that a moment…letting that sink in…feeling the heat rise to my cheeks and my heart begin to race. It’s really intense for me to even type those words. I feel light-headed. Fear of failure. FEAR of failure. Fear of FAILURE. 3 words…3 powerful words.

Strangely I think I am just as afraid to succeed!?!

What I know to be true: 2 Timothy 1:7 “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” I need to ruminate more. J.

35 Symptoms of Menopause

While walking through the pharmacy, this morning, I became exceptionally dizzy. I had this “Whoosh, Whoosh, Whoosh” sound in my ears. I just made it back to my desk to sit down before I truly thought I would pass out.

After mentioning this to Timothy he suggested I go to the dr. I laughed and said: “He is just going to say I am menopausal.” Timothy said “not for dizziness!”

This got me to thinking and on my break I Googled the symptoms of Menopause, and found the 35 Symptoms of Menopause. It’s funny how many of the symptoms I have.

I’ve talked to my Dr. before and he says it’s not necessary to do anything as it is a normal part of a woman’s life…easy for him to say as he is not the one suffering with sudden crying jags for little to no reason, hot flashes, heart pounding, inability to come up with the word you are trying to say, itching, growing waist line, ringing in the ears, overwhelming feelings of apprehension and anxiety etc. I have decided to try a natural approach and see if it doesn’t take the edge off. We will see! J.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Digger

It disappoints me when I experience the sting of a person who I will affectionately call a “digger.” This is the type of person who always seems to feel they need to get in their little dig or put a person in their place. They do it with a smile and a laugh…but it’s not funny. They seemingly do this simply to make the other person realize how stupid or wrong they were/are, and bottom line to make them feel small.

I have a “digger” in my inner circle and have been jabbed by their digs again and again. It hurts. It’s fine, from time to time, to make your point, but is it necessary at every turn? Sometimes it’s best to just let something go. Sometimes a person’s feelings should matter, and come first. Kindness should trump making your point. Maybe I’m just too sensitive…or maybe they are too insensitive. Whichever it is, it leaves me with a lump in my throat and licking my wounds. J.

The Good the Bad and the Ugly - 05/18/10

Countless hours of my life have been wasted on ridiculous worrying, self-conscious fretting, obsessive perfectionism, and neurotic over-thinking.

Caught off guard by an unexpected question, not hearing fully what someone has said, or not being on the same wave length, I say something completely off the wall that doesn’t fit the context. Moments later my slow brain catches up and I realize what caused the confused look on the person’s face. Horrified by the socially awkward moment, the projector in my brain clicks on and every time this has EVER happened quickly scrolls by for me to relive again for the umpteenth time.

Obsession with my body has plagued me my whole life. Looking back I realized that in every phase of my life I have never been happy with my body…even when I was 122 pounds as a senior in highschool. This self-consciousness, and discontent with my body robs me of the ability to relax and just be comfortable in my skin. While I should eat healthfully, and be conscious of my activity level, I need to realize that these things are merely the physical aspects of who I am. What would happened if I instead, expended this wasted energy on accepting myself the way I am, building my character, or encouraging someone else?

This weekend during the process of painting the living room, I nearly ruined the joy by obsessing on whether my free handing the trim was good enough. I knew myself…if I had to look at the slips it would spoil it for me. This pressure threatened to undo any pleasure that could have been had. The job I did was sufficient…not perfect but good enough. There is such a fine line between wanting to do a good job, and crossing over into critical, exacting, joy sucking, perfectionism. When I relaxed and embraced my best, I was able to step back from the wall and feel the thrill of enjoying the nearly finished product.

The internal harassment has been deafening since Thursday when I indeed finished the back of the sweater only to find that it still isn’t the correct size, and I am going to yet again have to start over for the fifth time. Giving up would be my normal M.O. I can’t tell you the number of projects which have been laid aside after losing the will to complete the project due to discouragement, boredom, or distraction. This pattern is disheartening. Not this time! I will start again.

These things are proof that Christ is not at the center of my life. I am! When I fixate so acutely, zeroing in on my every flaw, I have taken my eyes off of Jesus. This is just another reminder to step off the throne and let God reign supreme in every aspect of my life. J.

Monday, May 17, 2010

4 Blissful Days off

4 blissful days off and what did I learn, and accomplish?

What did I learn?

I learned that I need to learn to manage my stress better. My stress level became evident. I realized that I have been gritting my teeth…so much so that my jaw hurts. There is this feeling that swirls in my abdomen it’s one of the many ways I hold my tension. It feels more like an electric wave pulsing up and down. Yep! I’ve got to learn how to deal with my stress more efficiently. Peace that passes all understanding…that’s what I need. Peace.

Also learned…Orange is a warm beautiful color! I love it on my wall. I coerced my husband into letting me paint and though I still have to finish the job I am in love already!

In addition I was reminded again that there are friends and then there are FRIENDS! These are the kind of friends that over the years we’ve laughed hard, sat comfortably in silence, talked for hours, knitted, painted, hiked, debated, laughed some more, cried, and mostly loved and cherished! The love is so real that it’s worth driving hours for a day together, it’s so valuable that it hurts if there is any misunderstanding, and everyone agrees it must be resolved. This kind of friendship makes you funnier, smarter, realer…just the best possible version of yourself. Truly precious!

What did I accomplish?

I finished the back of the sweater…only to find that it recoils up making it too short and I have to start all over again…the 5th time’s a charm?!? We’ll see. I’m still determined to do it and be happy with it.

I knitted 2 washcloths, painted half of the living room and dining room…it’s wonderful, had coffee with my parents twice, got them set up at their new bank, got my hair cut and conditioned, enjoyed friends and family, and most of all, most importantly I reconnected with my creative side, my goals, and my Father.

It’s funny to think of, but I actually felt like Picasso…yes I was painting in only two colors, but I had the sensation of creative juices, the satisfaction of stepping back and admiring my handiwork. Knowing what you want and making it happen are two different things. I’m determined to connect the dots. Time alone painting was the perfect time to talk things out with God. It was definitely the most important thing I did all weekend. There were “cares” I needed to “cast on Him.” Wrestlings that needed to take place, thoughts that needed to be hashed out, petitions made.

All in all this four days was indeed just what the dr. ordered. I needed the time to think, to relax, to emote, to create, to be. It was good. J.