Wednesday, September 06, 2017

In the eye of the storm

Well, here I am again...


It seems this place inspires me!  I haven't written since the last time I was here, almost two months ago.  I went back and re-read the post where I talked about fear.  There have been many posts actually where I wrote about the topic of fear because as I have already explained it is something I have struggled with since I was a little girl.  But now as I sit here today I can happily say that God has brought so much healing to my life.  I'm almost afraid to type out the words in case they aren't really true, but I will do it anyway...fear no longer grips my heart and mind.  Not like it did.  Not even close.  I have a peace that I haven't known for a long time, maybe ever.  And the only reason for it is that I have chosen to believe God.
To trust Him.  

I am still learning what that means, but what it means to me today is that I do not let my thoughts run wild with worry.  I choose to believe that God is able to do what I can't and I trust Him with it.

For instance, there is the teeny tiny little baby issue of my son being in the path of the WORST HURRICANE IN THE HISTORY OF FOREVER.  Right now as I am typing this, he is being shipped off along with the rest of his unit to a bunker in the mountains as they prepare to ride out the storm.  Yes, I know he will be safe.  The army is prepared for this and will take care of their people.  But my mama mind envisions my baby clinging to a tree all alone being assaulted with wind and waves and big hard objects flying at him at 200 miles an hour.  Yes, I know he's a strong army man, but...


Honestly tho, after going through some mild panic after talking to him earlier in the week, I'm not overcome with fear.  I am surprisingly calm.


Peace that passes understanding is REAL people!

Because this is not something I would or should have peace about.  This would normally send me over an edge or two.  But I have realized (with help from Joyce Meyer) that I need to do what I can do, and trust God to do what I can't do.  I wrote that down on a post-it and put it by my computer at work.  I should put it on a post-it like everywhere I go.  Just attach it to my glasses so it's right in front of my face all the time.  It really helps.  This is a hurricane. My son is 1,981 miles away and in the direct path of the storm. There is absolutely nothing I can do to change that or protect him.

So, I will focus on what I CAN do...I can call and text him, at least for now.  I can encourage him and send him scripture like these:



And I can pray.
  
There is more power in that than anything. 

I am praying for his protection, of course, and for the protection of all the people in this storm's path. How terrifying it must be for those who are faced with losing their homes, and possibly their lives.  I think of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where people are already struggling and poor. More than anything tho, I am praying for people to turn to Jesus.  To cry out to Him...those who have been putting faith in God off, thinking "some other day" they will consider it. Those who have been keeping their faith in their back pocket because things are going well for them. Those who have never opened their hearts to the Savior.  I pray that this crisis brings people to Him and changes their lives for the better.  God will do whatever it takes to reach His people.  He can calm the storm with a word, but He doesn't always.  And sometimes that is the greatest blessing. 





Sunday, July 23, 2017

The healing garden and Bekah therapy

Wednesday found me in this beautiful, tranquil place.  It's called the healing garden at Gundersen Medical Center in LaCrosse.  The stone wall in the background is a wall of water, you can't tell from the picture but the whole wall is flowing with water.  


I spent a lot of time in here when mom was making her journey to Heaven a year ago.  


It is very peaceful, has a skylight and lots of plants and flowers.  The sound of water is so therapeutic for me.  It's a wonderful place to pray, have a coffee, and watch a Beth Moore devotional video, which is what I did on Wednesday.  I think this is going to be a regular thing for me.


This is from one of my scripture books, one that I made about hope...something I have been needing lately.  Well, I always need hope but as evidenced in my last post, I have been needing an extra measure of it lately. 



And a little aroma therapy added to the experience.


Saturday morning we piled in the car and headed down to visit Bill, Brittany and Rebekah.  Of course it was a wonderful time.  Bekah is changing every time we see her...getting even more cute, mobile, and expressive!  We saw some of her strong-willed-ness coming out already.  Could that possibly be from her mommy???  :)




Britt made me my favorite cake to celebrate my birthday...yellow cake with chocolate frosting!


Louie, our grandpuppers :)


Home-made "Cold Stone", one of our family's favorite treats :)


We played a new game...Catan.  I was confused for much of it (which should be no great surprise to anyone) but I eventually caught on and it wasn't too bad - for me, that's a positive statement.  I usually live by the rule that entertainment cannot require you to use strategy or thinking or too much brain activity of any kind because THAT'S NOT FUN!  But this was actually fun for me - not so much because of the game itself, but because of these crazy peoples...



Kyle loved it...and won!


And this happy little peapod joined Papa and Grammie in bed this morning in her jammies :)



Oh, Auntie Hopie, you're just the best :)



Chillaxin' with Uncle Kyle


Nappie time with Grammie...this girl is far too busy to nap for very long.






ROCK THAT 80'S HAIR, BABY GIRL!!!!!

  


Friday, July 21, 2017

When fear grips you

When I was a little girl, there were many things that scared me.  A lot of them weren't real, but some of them were.  Both had a grip on my mind and the more I fed them, the bigger they got.

I'm not really sure how far I've come in this area.

One would think that by now I would have conquered my fears and that my heart would be solidly planted in faith and trust in the LORD.  I can say that most of my childhood fears, I have healed from.   But there are some that remain, and have even grown immensely...especially now that I am the parent of teenagers and young adults.  I thought once my kids got to be these ages, the worries and fears for them would lessen.  Sure, teens have issues, but OUR kids would be so loved and grounded and raised in faith that they would soar above all the sticky, messy things that their peers would experience.

The white picket fence that my mind has always framed around my dreams for our children has some mending to be done.  Or actually, maybe I just need to tear that fence down.  It's not reality.  Not for our children, and not for most I suppose.

Life is messy.

Life is complicated.

Life is painful, sometimes brutally so.

And strongholds are strong.  So very strong.  My stronghold of fear has thick roots that go deep, gripping my soul so tightly that it suffocates me at times and I literally feel like I can't breathe.

I have been walking in a state of fear for weeks, months even, because of things our kids have been going through.  Each, their own individual struggles, none of which are that unusual for their stages in life, but nonetheless they are difficult and my mama heart can't take it sometimes to see them struggle so.  I want so desperately to fix it...not to swoop in and make it all better (well, yea, sometimes that), but more importantly I want them to go to the One who can make sense of their situations and their lives, provide guidance and direction and a life of joy, even amidst heartache.  I want them to go to the One who forgives, redeems, restores, and makes all things new.

And I want them to go there NOW!  GO DIRECTLY THERE NOW!  DO NOT PASS GO!  DO NOT COLLECT $200!

But...

As I so often have done in my life, we tend to take detours.  We think our own way is better, or we just don't think about it that much at all.  We just take the road that, to us, looks faster and smoother but in reality is filled with potholes and road kill and much rougher terrain than the one God would lead us on.  And it often doesn't get us where we truly want to be...which is where God wants to bring us...the place where he provides healing and restoration, renewal and hope.  

We often don't follow that path because we don't always believe that it leads to those wonderful places.    The path He wants to take us down doesn't look easy, and in reality it's not.  Sometimes it is harder.  It's harder to forgive than to stay angry.  It's harder to let go of the wheel and give up control. It's harder to give up something or someone in our life that we desperately want, than to give into our emotions for temporary happiness.  It's harder to allow God to dig deep and pull things out at the roots than it is to just mow off the surface and continue on.  We can't see the end of the road, so we don't trust the Guide.

How come everything always leads back to this one thing...?

Trust.  

Maybe because the opposite of fear is trust.  And trust is something God is consistently and deliberately and intently working on teaching me to do.  He is relentless.  All the tests I've failed when it comes to trusting Him, and he still doesn't give up on me.  

I don't know why that should surprise me.  I will never, ever give up on our kids.  No matter how many struggles they go through, how many detours they take, or how far they sometimes push us away, I will be relentless at pursuing them and doing my best to point them to our Savior.  

And God loves them more, even more than their fathers and I do, and He will never, ever give up on them.  Just that thought makes me take a deep, cleansing breath as I am reminded that He truly is in control.  He can see down the paths we are on, knows all the obstacles, detours and dangers ahead, and even when we don't follow Him, He never leaves us.  

Learning to trust.  I think I've just taken another step.
  
L


Sunday, July 16, 2017

About being ready

Yesterday morning Vince and I had breakfast at Perkins and while he was away from our table using the restroom I happened to notice an elderly gentleman sitting in a booth alone.  The waitress had just cleared his plates and said she would be right back with his bill.  There is something about seeing people eating alone in restaurants that makes me sad for them.  I always assume they are lonely.  That is probably not true for everyone, but I always wonder.

I have gone out to eat alone before.  Most of the time I hated it.

After my divorce and before I met Vince, there were weekends when the boys were with their dad and I didn't have any plans and, well I just didn't want to spend another Saturday night home alone. So I would go shopping or out to eat by myself, sometimes both.  Not very often because I usually tried to plan something with friends when the boys were gone, but sometimes it didn't work out that way.   I found it embarrassing to be at a restaurant alone, so I would try to make it look like I was waiting for someone.  One time I even asked for a table for two, and then told the waitress that the other person couldn't make it.  Sigh.  I know.  Those were the days before smart phones, or at least I didn't have one, so I couldn't occupy myself with that. And I just didn't want people looking at me or feeling sorry for me or assuming that I didn't have anyone. Sometimes I would call my best friend or my sister and talk through the whole meal.  It sounds pathetic, I know, and maybe it would have been better to just get take out and eat at home (which I did sometimes) but on these nights the thought of spending the whole evening home alone was just too depressing.

No one ever came over and sat by me and if they did, I'm not sure how I would have felt about that. But that is what I wanted to do when I saw this man eating alone at Perkins on a Saturday morning. Had he just lost his wife?  Was he lonely?  Or was he just fine?  I pondered this and considered going over and asking if I could sit with him.  I wished that I had noticed earlier so Vince and I could have invited him to sit with us.  (Would we have actually done that, or just thought about it?  Hmm.) When the waitress returned with his bill I noticed that he was wearing a dark blue cap, covered in patches and pins.  He was a veteran.  That made me want to talk to him even more.  As he got his wallet out and got up to pay, I thought of offering to pay for his meal. Would he appreciate that or would he feel pitied?  Should I let him have his dignity and pay for his own meal?  Or would he feel honored and special?  I analyzed and hesitated my way through the opportunity and before I did anything at all he was out the door.  And I missed it.  I missed the chance to bless someone.

I thought about the scripture about always being ready to talk about the hope that we have in Christ. Always be ready....yesterday, I wasn't ready.  I wasn't even in the frame of mind to bless someone.  I hadn't asked God to give me an opportunity to bless others that day, and I'm ashamed to say I haven't done that in some time.  I've been too occupied with my own things, my own agenda, my own needs and wants and distractions.  So as I found myself there, my heart and mind weren't ready.  If it had been, I might not have hesitated or questioned myself so long.  I would have been ready as soon as I saw the opportunity to go over and sit with that man, talk to him, and offer him some hope. Maybe he needed it, and maybe he didn't, but hope is never wasted.  We can never have enough of it. Maybe I would have been a bother...or maybe I could have changed his whole day?

Next time, I hope I will be ready.

So...

Here are some hi-lights from the rest of our weekend. We were a bit late to church today and decided to sit in the foyer since worship was already going on and we didn't want to be "those people" trying to find a seat in the dark.  Our church has a pretty relaxed atmosphere, and is very much into hospitality.  In the foyer there are tables set up, couches, a coffee bar, and several screens live-streaming the sermon and worship going on inside the sanctuary.  We liked sitting at tables, it's easier to drink coffee and take notes, but we felt a bit separated from what was going on in the sanctuary - kind of like we were watching instead of participating - so I don't think we will do it again.  But I think it's an awesome option for people who want or need something other than the traditional. Inside or outside the sanctuary...on couches or pews or chairs or tables...connecting with Jesus is all that matters.



After church, Vince and I picked up my step-dad Curt and took him to Fleet Farm to do some shopping.  It was nice to spend some time with him, and he enjoyed getting out and about for a bit (and getting himself a new Twins shirt)!  It's been just over a year since mom died, and Curt is really doing well now.  He was pretty isolated for a long time, didn't want to socialize or leave his room, and he had some physical setbacks.  But now, he's made friends at the nursing home, he goes to all the activities, and seems pretty happy...and since I work there I get to see him most every day, which is nice!

And also I'm not sure why I look like such a weirdo in this picture...


Then, since the kids were otherwise occupied, Mr. W and I decided  to have a late lunch/early dinner, and indulged in some nachos and margaritas at Mango's...hello!!!


And finally, after a few loads of laundry and mowing the lawn (ok, Vince did all that while I was blogging), we wrapped up this beautiful evening with some wine, vegies, and conversation out on our deck.






Very relaxing...I love our life!!!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A year in the life...

Birthday boy!  Happy Birthday Kyle!!  It's the big 1-6 for this guy.  We got him more than just his favorite granola bars, but this is what he chose to pose with :)


Vince made him this awesome cake, and also grilled steak.  That's it, just steak.   
That's all the boy wanted.


So here is a stroll (backwards) through the life of Kyle T over the past year, as seen and recorded by my phone...





I can't explain why I couldn't capture a normal face in any of these pictures.  But because he loves despises (feels contempt and a deep repugnance for) having his picture taken, I couldn't ask him to look up or he would have turned around.  So, I just sat in the car and watched him.  It was one of those unplanned moments in the heart of a mom when you just look at your kid in awe, seeing him become a man, and wonder where the years went.


Kyle's baptism!  
These guys and Pastor Brian from Pleasant Valley Church 
have become some of his closest friends.  


So proud of you, son, for your commitment to Christ!





Grandpa Leroy and Grandma Kathy look pretty proud too.








Uncle Kyle is pretty cool!


My baby holding our newest grandbaby...sigh.  It's so cute my heart hurts.







Sophomores...what???





After 10 years of spending every summer of his life at the baseball field by our house, last summer was his last year with Rollingstone Rox.


And just because I need to....

The end.