Monday, August 16, 2010


Change is good, right? Sometimes I wonder. Although usually I receive opportunities for change with open arms I am finding transitions lately to be a bit of a challenge. It isn’t so much that I am set in my ways or enjoy my current routine enough that I do not want to take on anything different, but the changes I am feeling called to make are new territory for me.

I don’t want to have to really evaluate a few things, only a few, I am not good at. But I am certain God has put a path in front of me which will force me to take action in some areas of my life I have been completely ignoring. There are some things I prefer to ignore as long as they do not relate to the health and well being of my family. But I suppose if they are things that God has commanded His people to do I should probably find a way to come up with a little follow-through.

What I find so comical about the situation is that none of the things He wants me to do are that difficult. Really the most difficult challenge will be purging some ineffective habits and creating new ones. But the routine I have created is so utterly comfortable…and yet completely unproductive to achieve the goals He has set forth…and I have accepted. Yep, I was asked by one of His agents to do something, knowing it would take some significant changes, I said yes…really, what was I thinking.

So as First Born takes off to third grade and Small One tackles kindergarten I will have my own challenges and adjustments to make. I pray God guides me through this process He has called me to, and I feel His presence every step of the way. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Judgmental People

I have determined I do not like judgmental people. You know, the ones who are always looking down their nose at someone and finding fault with nearly everyone they encounter. Their choices, lifestyles, family and work are always better, more fun, healthier and more perfect that those around them. I don’t know what makes people this way. I am certain it is often times caused by an internal feeling of inferiority. Certainly if someone is less something you must be good enough, right? Sometimes I think people just don’t know any better.

I used to love being one of the judgmental people. I wouldn’t have been called a “Chatty Kathy” but the term “Catty Kathy” would certainly have applied. Not only did I find myself greatly entertained by poking fun but I was one of the “don’t know any betters’.” I thought one of the most fun ways to spend an afternoon was hanging at the mall looking at all the what part of that did she think looked good when she checked the mirror this morning people. Oh the sheer joys in finding fault with others poor taste in clothing, or hairstyle, or gait, or who they chose to be with. Snicker, snicker, “what was she THINKING?”

And then somewhere along the way I came to know better. I realized that finding fault with others isn’t really very funny and never really made me feel any better. It is not nice nor is it not biblical. I have come a long way from the catty girl I once was, but every now and then a bit of snippiness flits through my brain…but now it never makes it past my lips. See, I try to remember I have a beam in my eye.

So now I find myself in a dilemma. I don’t want to be judgmental nor do I like judgmental people. But by determining I do not like someone for being judgmental am I thereby judging them myself? And if I tell someone I think they are being judgmental am I then putting my own judgment to voice? I don’t know how to sever judgmental people from my life, but I am finding keeping them is more trouble than they are worth. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

For He Existed

Today, the two year anniversary of my father's death and the eve of the spreading of his ashes, I find my brain swirling with memories and stalling with what to do next. I ache with the memories of this day two years ago and I rejoice with the knowledge that dad is pain free.

I don't know what emotions tomorrow will bring...the hike to his final resting place is exhausting in and of itself. There will be people there, probably too many for true peace to surround me. It is a moment I suspect I will want to be in solitude and allow myself time to be introspective. Alas, with fourteen others with me, I know this will be a challenge. If God so chooses I know He will facilitate the peace my heart desires. 

As I think of tomorrow and reminisce the words of Maya Angelou fill my head...I think I have reached the place of blooming peace. Although sporadic and unhurried the moments do come, and I think God for them, and know my heart is healing. 

When Great Trees Fall
Maya Angelou

When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.

When great trees fall
in forests,
small things recoil into silence,
their senses
eroded beyond fear.

When great souls die,
the air around us becomes
light, rare, sterile.
We breathe, briefly.
Our eyes, briefly,
see with
a hurtful clarity.
Our memory, suddenly sharpened,
gnaws on kind words
promised walks
never taken.

Great souls die and
our reality, bound to
them, takes leave of us.
Our souls,
dependent upon their
now shrink, wizened.
Our minds, formed
and informed by their
fall away.
We are not so much maddened
as reduced to the unutterable ignorance
of dark, cold

And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly.  Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed.  They existed.
We can be.  Be and be
better.  For they existed.

Thank you Dr. Angelou for knowing my heart. 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Grief is Threatening to Swallow Me

The week has become agonizingly painful…as the time of dispersion slowly creeps closer. I am seeking a diversion, any diversion will do. Today I am going shopping for new bathroom linens, which should distract for a few hours at least. The fighting of the children, although exhausting, brings welcome diversion from the grief threatening to swallow me whole.

Small One is begging to “see Papa” in the canister. I don’t mind so much that she wants to see what the ashes look like; I just can’t bring myself to comfortably open the lid. I am certain I will have no ability to answer the flowing river of questions that would follow. How, what, where, did it hurt, yadda, yadda…yes, it will be a never-ending learning quest for this Small One.

First Born perceives my agony. He is offering tender hugs and making great effort to divert Small One’s incessant antics. Although he does not handle her entirely with grace his patience with her amazes me beyond belief. His awareness of my pain, his ability to read me, reminds me so much of his Papa who is now canistered on the mantle. How did this boy get so much of the man we are preparing to take to his final resting place? Through God’s divine plan First Born has received the best of Papa well blended with the patience and heart of his Papaw creating an amazing gift to parent.

I don’t know how I will get through the next seventy-two hours. I suppose an organized checklist will get me to the base of the mountain; and then one foot in front of the other will get me to the top. I know my Father in heaven has given me the inner strength to overcome the earthly pain, as He did when Dad died. I found out then if I remember to let go of the grief to His care I will find much more inside than I ever imagined.

For now I will pray for a steady breeze to carry him across the mountain tops, the place where he found his strength and where he belongs.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Christ's Sacrifice and Euthanasia

The following is a topic I was assigned to write about for a class discussion board. Because it is a topic close to my heart due to personal experience I decided to share it here too. The assignment was to "Review the Feldman reading this week about euthanasia and assisted suicide as well as the online article on Christ's physical death.  Many argue that assisted suicide or euthanasia is justified because it relieves a person from suffering.  What are your thoughts about euthanasia, given what Christ did for us?" and the article referenced was the physical death of Jesus Christ.

This is such a difficult topic to address, and which does one address first? How do I personally feel about euthanasia and how does that relate to what Christ did for us on the cross?

We will never be able to know the suffering and pain Christ felt during His final twenty-four hours. In my most extreme imaginations I can’t even grasp a hint of the torture He endured…for me, and for you as well. There are no punishment practices today that can compare to the brutal acts against Jesus Christ so we have no real point of reference when thinking of the severity of His experience.

What we do know is this from Isaiah 53:
3     He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4     Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
5     But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Christ received the worst possible punishment, set aside for “murders and serial killers” (Hammond, p. 12). Not only was He punished, He was humiliated in front of the multitudes. He took upon Himself all the sins of the world and allowed our human actions to separate Him from the Father, and He went to hell in our place. No greater sacrifice has been, or ever could be, made.

But part of what He did when He received all the sin of mankind is He received our punishment, sickness and disease, as well. He took “our infirmities and carried our sorrows.” Throughout the bible God tells us that illness is a curse, an evil tool of Satan. Jesus’ wounds gave us the authority to claim healing and be free from pain and disease, suffering and misery.

When looking at this scripture, I am torn. I know we should not have to suffer, but we should also be able to claim healing. We all know healing does not always come, for reasons we can never know on earth. But we do know He paid the price and therefore we should not suffer.
In light of this fact I feel that euthanasia is an acceptable practice within certain parameters. If a person is terminal, and there is no quality of life, and they are suffering either physical or emotional pain I believe euthanasia is a way to claim God’s freedom from misery that Christ took for us on the cross.

I personally have been present for both the death of my father and my mother-in-law. Although I made the call to have my fathers machines turned off I still would have written the scenario differently. I can tell you in both instances the precise moment I would have chosen for them to be set free of this world. And in both cases that moment came prior to the final breath, the cease of their heartbeat and the liberation from this life.

(Sidenote: this post gave my husband and I moments of deep conversation and the writing moved me to tears.)

Feldman, R. S. (2008). Development across the life span. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Hammond, L. (2007). When Healing Doesn't Come Easily. Minneapolis, MN: Lynne Hammond Ministries.
[1] The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996 (electronic ed.) (Is 53:3–5). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Options...there always are some.

Sometimes choices are difficult to make. Sometimes situations are so unpleasant it may feel like there is no obvious solution and certainly not multiple solutions. There are often situations where any course of action will create additional unpleasantness. I do not recall in my lifetime ever being presented with a circumstance which had any less that two possible resolutions.

Recently I was having a conversation with an adult about a situation where she vehemently assured me there was “no other option!” Her insistence left me a bit befuddled and wondering why someone would refuse to acknowledge any alternative. Although most of the options were unpleasant for someone, the choice she made was wrought with challenges as well.

Although I have not always made the best choices in life I have always recognized that they were available. As a grade-schooler I could have chosen to do my homework neatly and accurately the first time before I went out to play so I wouldn’t have to redo it after dinner and right before bed. In junior high I could have picked a nice boy to have a crush on, instead I chose the rough and tumble boys from the bad part of the neighborhood (they were way more exciting, and my parents did not approve). In high school I could have gone to all my classes and been on time, instead I spent a good bit of time ditching classes, running from the Narc and having a blast doing so. In college I could have begun my papers at the beginning of the semester when I received the syllabus, but opted for waiting until the last minute and staying up all night to produce eight or ten pages of beautifully bullshitted prose (oh yeah, I made up a lot of that stuff and LOVED every one of those passing grades I received). I could have opted not to marry my first husband…yep, that one was a bad choice. I may not have acknowledged it at the time, but I’m pretty sure there was an option to driving home after drinking…many times. I could have abstained form sex until I was married, left abusive relationships, not had my children…in each of the situations there were always other options.

Now that I am a parent I am presented with completely different situations requiring difficult choices between multiple options. I want to raise strong, smart, capable and independent children…this means I can’t always bail them out, give in to their wants, believe them above no one else. I have to teach them about giving and responsibility. I would love to hand a large sum of cash to my son whose class is in competition with the others to raise money for the Haiti victims, but if I do this what will he learn about personal sacrifice? When he loses points for talking in class I could choose to allow him to blame someone else for drawing him into conversation; which I would love to do because I want my baby to be perfect and sweet and never in trouble. When my precious girl throws a fit because she wants only peanut butter and fluff sandwiches for dinner I would love to say “She won’t eat anything else, there is no other option.” But then what would I be teaching her about life and consequences of her actions? Do I want them to believe that I will always be there to bail them out and rely on no matter what, take up for them even when they are in the wrong, hand them what ever their hearts desire, and take care of all the difficult options they have before them? No, I do not want them to go through life this way. I want them to realize there are always choices to make and sometimes they are not fun...because I may not always be there, and they may not always be right, and sometimes what a person wants is certainly not in their best interest.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I Love Facebook, but....

I love Facebook, probably too much. Ok, so I am perhaps addicted to Facebook, isn’t admitting there is a problem the first step to recovery? Not only do I like getting a quick catch up on my friends through their status updates, but I really enjoy seeing how people have changed and what kind of spouse they found and what their offspring look like.

The source of my addiction though is my farm…my beloved crops and barns, and cows and chickens, pigs, lambs, elephants, and the trees-I have hundreds of them. I love my farm and wait with eager anticipation for my crops to mature so I can harvest and plant again. I am obsessed with “mastering” each fruit and vegetable and I dedicate at least one visit each day to check on my ribbons. I also love that it is not cutthroat competitive, unlike my sweet Sorority Life and my majorly powerful Mafia. I check these each day too, but with a little less love than my farm.

But lately I have found another part of Facebook I am not sure I love…or even like for that matter. Some of those people, you know the ones from the WAY past, do not necessarily bring good thoughts or feelings with them. That boy you loved for so many years in grade school who never paid any attention to you…well except to tell you that you wore boy’s jeans and they made you act like a tomboy. The class bully who believed the class idiot to justify a fight. Oh and that guy who was such a nerd and you always picked on him…no real reason other than the fact that you could. The girl who loved to tell others she was more popular than everyone...and strangely she was. The boy who got kicked really hard in the groin. You see these faces and wonder “what are they doing now?” For me it is like a moth to a flame, a bee to a flower in bloom; I am drawn in and can’t stop the click. I have to look to see if they have turned out well or if their life has gone to crap (sometimes hoping for the latter). I cannot resist.

For the most part I check out job info, schools attended/degrees earned, and photos. I look to see if there is a webpage or a blog listed. If they have links I of course peruse those as well. It is amazing what you can learn about someone without them even knowing you are looking.

But some of these have left me with a pit in my stomach and sorrow in my heart. Have they really changed as much as it appears? Would they ever believe how much I have changed? Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a do-over on that relationship? Wow, now all that mess makes sense…

I have found myself wanting see some, and pray for many. I say “want” to pray, but haven’t yet. There are people who want to be prayed for by anyone. But there are people who would likely rather not be prayed for, especially by someone who they were not on speaking terms with the last time they laid eyes on each other. How offended would they be to know that I found out about the cancer, the broken relationship, the weight gain? And is there anything out there that I don't want them to know about me?

In all likelihood I will pray for them, and hope that Facebook leaves better left forgotten memories truly forgotten.

Friday, January 1, 2010 still

Sometimes the demons creep in when you aren’t looking, or paying attention and thus you are not wary or on guard. Sometimes the demons hide themselves so skillfully even when you are looking they still manage to get close, and get in…and get hold.

It is when they get hold that my world begins to slow, and eventually move in reverse taking me back to places I don’t want to go; places that scared me then and horrify me now…places no one can understand. And when I enter those places forward progress is impossible, growth comes to a screeching halt, and sometimes I feel I can’t even put on foot in front of the other. It is in these times I forget where I am supposed to put my trust, even questioning why I ever thought there was such an outlet for all the baggage I am certain I carry alone. The world turns grey and the shadows are in every direction I turn.

I have found that my demons were distracted recently though, or quite possibly I found a modicum of sensibility in my disoriented brain, and a few points of their attack were discovered. Funny, the strongholds I created against them still stand; they came from directions I never would have expected, hiding in trusted places I thought were safe…and they left me doubting, questioning, defending and attacking.

What to do about them now is the question, quite a conundrum, for they have come so close their place of residence cannot be severed from my world. It would be as difficult to remove their host as it would be to remove my own arm. The bloody buggers were smart this time, and have produced a dilemma.

The beauty of the situation is I know I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who a]">[a]infuses inner strength into me; I am b]">[b]self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency].Phil 4:13 (Amplified). I know that I know that I know this for He has proven it to me before when life completely took my breath away and left me deflated and lost. All I need to do is release it to Him and hold on to the promises He gave me.

For the moment I will be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10), and in the stillness I will listen and hear when He speaks to me.