Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Watching, Waiting and Wishing!

Come now, Patty, you are not a child! You are a mature lady, riding through life with purpose and hope in your heart! Sounds like the right advice to receive doesn't it? How in the world did I get to this point in my life? What brought me this far? What emotional mountains did I have to scale to reach this plateau of wonder and a sense of worth? Sixty plus years ago, a little child was born prematurely in a Tacoma hospital....didn't even get to see my home until a month later, never experienced that maternal bonding from the incubator side of my newborn world! -- Mom was alone, Daddy was in a far off South American country....they communicated through letters (which I still possess tied up in ribbon) -- My daddy was excited to meet me, hold me in his arms, my mom was extremely tired and worried about her daughter in the hospital, in a darkened room, waiting, watching....wondering when she could bring her bundle of delight home. To be held, rocked and hugged is very important to newborns....there are people now days that actually volunteer in local hospitals just to do this very loving task. As life evolves around me, even at this age, I still wait, wonder and wish. Hoping to catch a glimpse of what's to come with whatever time is left on this planet. Where will God take me? What will He have me to do? Women, by their very nature, usually have a great sense of direction. My daughter, for instance, is someone who supplies directions easily and can find places without being challenged. She's like a walking GPS! My motto: "Always get lost once before reaching the destination!" Are you lost? Is your GPS malfunctioning? What is it you wish to find? Maybe the coordinates are incorrectly keyed in. Make sure your eyes are set on the correct destination. Pray and ask God to show you the way. Listen, He is speaking, are you hearing? Yes, your life will be filled with peaks and valleys, adventures all. Don't worry, if you make a wrong turn, this is a story of restoration, redirection and revelation -- love will never fail you, faith will lift you up and prayers will keep lines of communication open. "Wait on the Lord, Be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart; wait I say on the Lord"....psalm 27:14

Friday, February 10, 2012

One, Two...Cha Cha Cha

During the "reinvention of my life" -- from a "we" to a "me" -- many challenges have been hurled at me from all sides....from being a couple to a single, a two-car family to a one-car "me", and most importantly, married to widowed being the most traumatic. Those of you that went from married to divorced are also transitioned from a "we" to a "me" possibly with children involved. The same applies either way. This is a new life -- whether we choose to embrace it or not....it is who we are now. We cannot go back. We are in the thick of the daily battle. This is for all of you!

With God's loving guidance and provision I have made it through these changes but as you all know, it wasn't without heartache, tears and many hours of praying for grace as I traveled this journey.

My family, friends and church urged, pushed and prayed me through it and believe me, emphasis, at times, was on the "urged and pushed".....phone calls late at night when I was a complete mess, texts, emails, you name it...classic case of the "I don't know what to do with my life."

It has been over two years now and many, many milestones have been achieved. I have never been a "dash" type of runner, more like a "take a few steps - slow down -- breathe -- and then take off again. Steady on!

Writing has been an outlet and a passion for as long as I can remember. My other passion -- dancing is in my blood! I've managed to be moving in some dance pattern since the "ripe age of three!" Ballet, tap, ballroom, country & western....you name it...even a season of international folk dancing and English country dancing, as well. All of that disappeared when my husband passed away. It actually faded when he became terminally ill and I had to build a support system of family and dear friends to surround him with all the love and care we could muster. Because we are God's children and adopted into His family, this just came...people from all over were there to aid and care for not only Gene, but me, as well. It was truly amazing what friends and family can achieve when "duty and love" calls!

This isn't merely a story of grief but of GROWTH!

I've made it a point to keep busy since retirement...reading, writing (alas no arithmetic hehe), crafting, volunteering with the elderly, spending time with the most precious granddaughter in the world (ok so I'm gushing), and church activities. There was still an aspect that kept tugging at my "heart strings"....God was telling me to "get back on the dancefloor"....I KNOW in my heart that it was HIS desire to see MY desire fulfilled.

There have been occasions where I attempted to dance and I did do a rather reserved rendition of dancing....but (here's the rest of the story).

Last night, I went to my first ballroom dance class. I realized the biggest hurdle might be the "music" -- I was right -- Gene and I were partners in marriage and dance for seventeen plus years -- He was my dance instructor -- it's how we met. So the intimacy that dancing requires was difficult to say the least when trying to start up again. But I was able to push through it and take those initial steps, hearing those old memorable songs and "One, two, cha cha cha" -- one of my partners is a very accomplished dancer and put me through my paces....it was invigorating and challenging but I loved every minute of it.

Thanks to God for allowing me this introduction to an old familiar friend and gift....that of the DANCE!

People, find what it is you enjoyed once upon a time and see if God doesn't heal that part of your life and get you up and running....whether it's motorcycle riding, sports, whatever it was that used to be your passion, go ahead try it again. Push through whatever is stopping you....You are always able to ask the Most High for the grace and courage needed to begin again. Hurts run deep but God's healing runs much deeper.....

Eccl 3:4 "...a time to dance"

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Retirement is NOT for Wimps!

Ok, so you are RETIRED....what do you do now????

You ever feel like you just want to stay in bed and pull the covers over your head? Just stay in your pj's all day....? Stay plugged into to the television and snack all day???

These things are not HEALTHY -- You were designed for movement, activity and connection to others.

After working in one capacity or another for approximately forty years, raising four children and busy everywhere everyday...I was widowed, had to retire and I was thrown into an unknown and very strange environment. What do I do with my time? How do I fill up my days?

Recalling how special weekends were when I worked and how much I looked forward to them...now the days kind of fade into each other.

I still have to put everything on a calendar, making sure I don't forget an important event or remember when to pickup my daughter-in-law at work or granddaughter from school.

But days blur sometimes.....then EPIPHANY! -- one day it just hit me....I needed to set goals, get some structure into an otherwise unstructured existence. It was time!

Eventually, I got a sort of routine established. I get up, talk to God (He loves me to tell Him "Good Morning" -- beautify myself (grinning), take Mattie (my fluffy beagle) out for a brisk morning walk and then get on the computer.

Check email, Facebook, other important websites (bills and banking), Pinterest, etc -- then twiddle my thumbs for a moment while I figure out my day and how it shapes up.

I make sure I always get out of these four walls at least once per day. It may be a trip to the local "Starbucks" for a green tea or to drop by the library and peruse the "large print" section -- (yepper, I love reading large print books -- less eye strain)....hey it works for me! Visiting some of my friends is also something I love to do. Then those good old household chores have to be done and setting aside time to read (to exercise my mind).

I volunteer and help seniors in my community and also have gotten myself involved in a widow's group and a weekly Christian singles group at church.

Keep connected folks! You need those hugs and smiles, those reassuring positive experiences in your lives -- don't isolate yourself from others! I cannot stress that enough! Love and hug on each other, it's what we do!

There are so many things that can fill up your day -- Don't forget to give plenty of time to Him....our Creator -- He wants to hear from us everyday...not just when we want something -- just thank Him for all you have -- Prayer is our conversation and connection with God...

Philippians 4:19..."And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus"

He is our Provider and provides us with time to go about helping and reaching out to others....don't hide yourself from those who need you -- seek them out and give them a hug and a smile -- it does wonders!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Who Is That Woman I See???

Prov 31:30 "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing...But a woman who fears the Lord she shall be praised"

In the Disney classic, Mulan, there is a song, "Reflections" by Jerry Goldsmith -- "Who is that girl I see staring straight back at me?" -- It got me thinking, how am I seen by God? How am I seen by others? Friends? Family? --

Did you ever do the extensive personality testing? For example, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator? There was an exercise that was done during the training called the Johari Window. Four Quadrants -- Known to Self, Known to Others, Not Known to Self and Not Known to Others -- the premise being, there are parts of you that you and no other human sees, there are portions that others are aware of and see about you that you are not able to see and there are parts that are unknown to both yourself and others.

Confusing? Yes, but not to our Creator -- He sees into our very being. He spoke us into existence -- It is through faith that we see Him and what He has done for us and all mankind.

What others see -- I recently watched an 80s movie, Krull, with my son -- there is this unsettling scene where a "prophet" has to enter a spider's lair where his former lady love is imprisoned and has to live out eternity in the spider's web. She has aged and her former love doesn't see her that way -- he views her as she was in her younger days, beautiful from the inside out. She knows he's on a quest and because he loves her and sees her in her youthful appearance, she grants him time from an hourglass to save the "king" and the world from an evil force -- she sacrifices her life for his --laid down her life for another -- sound familiar?

Youthful Beauty -- it seems like only a few years ago, there were no wrinkles on my face, no gravitational pull on my life and limb -- fast forward to now and the lady in the mirror that appears to me is getting many lines -- these have all been earned -- thinking, crying, decision making, laughing, grieving, enjoying good days and saddened by the bad days -- but at the heart -- there's no "face lift" in my future -- only one day being lifted up to sit at God's Throne -- How others see me at this present time or in the past just blurs when it comes to Him and His glory!

Aging Gracefully -- Betty White's 90Th birthday party was celebrated on television -- ninety years! She still has her zany craziness, her wit is sharp and her manner still makes you laugh and when she mentions her precious late husband and her work with the animal kingdom, it brings a tear to your eye! Watching her past through the clips was amazing.

Time Marches On! -- Is it that way with us? Are we made up of a collection of segments or an entire whole presentation? On Facebook we now have a timeline format -- marching at us -- a cyber journal of other days and years.

What to do now? -- Treasuring time here, making the most out of every day, every moment, it matters! What will your mirror reflect back at you? What are you doing to make those moments count? Are we all busy with work, hobbies, activities and adventures? How much time do we take to spend with God daily? Weekly? Or none at all?

We are stewards not only with the material things He has blessed us with, but time, as well -- What fills your hourglass? Urgencies? Projects? Deadlines?

Take a moment in front of your mirror and ask, "Who is it that I am? Who is it that He sees? Do others see God's reflection through Christ in me?" Beauty is transitory -- faith is eternal --

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Help! I am caught in the fast lane!

Did you ever feel like you are caught in "the fast lane" and there is no exit? Life moves at an extremely fast pace these days -- for example, challenged technologically sometimes, I am barraged by ads for "the fastest", "the best", and "the newest" gizmos, gadgets and wonders that are tauted as "must haves!" I don't own an Iphone, Ipad, Ipod or none of those I's! Besides their price .... I just don't seem to be interested in every bell and whistle that comes along....I love email and Facebook and social networking is my "friend." hehe! I love face-to-face or voice-to-voice conversation! Also, the written word is powerful! Texting has messed up my spelling (but that's another blog topic) LOL! I love to text except my fingers get fatigued :)

I worked for seven years on a computer helpdesk and was well over fifty when I took the job. It isn't over til it's over! I really fought myself and the attitude of incompetence for the first few months....the months turned into years and I still had a wall of post-its....cheat sheets and co-workers that I depended on when my memory was hiding too many facts below the top level of my brain! Recalling that the first few months, I came home everyday and cried and poured out my heart to God. He heard me and I was able to function and even RETIRE from that job successfully because I gave it everything I had and listened to Him....to not be discouraged!

I often asked, "Am I not able to perform what is asked of me?"

Performance was imprinted in my DNA. From the time I was little, I remember having to take lessons for everything from baton twirling and piano, to tap and ballet. It wasn't that I was trying to find my "niche" (I didn't even know what that word meant). It was that my mother and father wanted me to "be somebody." Wait a minute, I thought I WAS SOMEBODY!

There is a basket that appears in our brains that should read, "Please fill with ideas of who I should become and who I should NOT become" My basket was full of doubt, unworthiness and inadequacy. Everything I was forced to try didn't always produce a good result or a "famous" celebrity. My mother was all about celebrities. She based who you were by who KNEW "Who you were!"

I was shown through much effort and prayer what gifts I did possess and after several years of perseverance, I was able to hone them, use them and hopefully, encourage others with them! Working with senior citizens has been bittersweet. I've lost many of those dear sweet ladies just because of their demographic and health issues. I've helped many widows and even started a writing project which I hope to complete soon.

Single people whether by choice or not, divorce or widowed, have something very much in common -- Christ is our head....our leader -- embracing this has taken me a long time! I thought you had to have it all! Mate, fancy cars, houses and a healthy bank account. But God has shown me that He is my source for everything I need! He is my rock and salvation, my provider!

There is only one Person that can show me WHO I AM...and that is Christ! He got me out of the fast lane and said, "slow down" and listen to Me! I am your GPS and your conscience and your Guide! Stick with me and I will never steer you in the wrong direction.

At this time, I still get thrown into a cycle of doubt, depression and stress, but I call on the One who loves me (a DAUGHTER of THE KING)....He has guided my path way back when I didn't know a grapevine step from a shuffle-ball-change (dance terms)...

Dance through life, laugh often and share your gifts and talents with friends and family -- God gave us purpose, meaning and a definite reason for living -- Glorify Him and enjoy Him forever! And....in closing, if you end up in the fast lane of confusion or doubt, God allows you to make a u-turn and start over again!

Psalm 46:1 "God is our refuge and strength -- a very present help in trouble..."

Friday, January 6, 2012

Walk a Mile In Who's Shoes?

Ever suffer from an "envious" attitude? How many times have I heard, "I would just once like God to bless me with this or that." I'm sure many of us would relate to that comment. We've desired a bigger, better home, a fancier television, a car that didn't run on "a prayer"...There's nothing wrong with trying to achieve goals and improve one's living conditions -- However, it shouldn't become an obsession to want what someone else has just because they have it and we don't.

A great deal of envy is generated by the media which strives to make celebrities' lives appear "glamorous" and set up athletes as gods(lower case g), make everyone go into debt to acquire the newest and latest technological gadget and drive the car that has all the bells and whistles no matter how much it costs or the most lavish house on the block -- if the people around the corner have it SO CAN I!

Even when it comes to the weather, we are not content there! If it's cold for a succession of days, weeks and months, we are heard saying, "I sure wish it would warm up." Then, comes the summer and it's hot, then hotter and then the hottest season on record we say, "I wish it were cooler."

Discontent and envy -- something each one of us struggle with, sometimes on a daily basis. Our needs and wants are so interwoven, sometimes it's difficult to distinguish which is which!

As we settle into the new year ask yourself the following question: who's shoes do we walk in? Physically? Do you walk in shoes that you find comfortable or those that put a strain on your feet and legs? Do you wear shoes that are trendy? Shoes that serve a purpose for exercise?

Spiritually? Do you let God direct your path? Or do you stumble through trying to "measure up" to a someone else's expectations or life style? Remember all who walk life's journey take different steps, through different peaks and valleys -- Would you really want to try on their shoes? Maybe they seem prosperous on the outside, but inside there is an affliction, chronic illness or a dysfunctional family issue or some kind of secret addiction that isn't for all to view....

Let's "take steps" today to put on OUR OWN shoes but tread as He would have us tread! Prayerfully, considerate and always aware of another person's shoe may not be the "perfect" fit...

1 Timothy 6:6 "...Godliness with contentment is great gain."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Final Countdown.....

2011 is about to disappear into the record books and off our calendars. 2012 is upon us and there are the "usual" subjects that appear in magazines, on talk shows and in cyberspace...."What are your New Year's resolutions???

As an older citizen of this planet I have decided not, I REPEAT, NOT, to do a resolution list for 2012. Never having been very consistent in that department, it seems a futile attempt at being optimistic and "trendy."

Instead, I wish to move forward into this new year with hopes that I can: 1) Keep my head above water (meaning just keep up with tasks at hand), 2) Spend more time writing, 3) Celebrate in my heart those things that give me joy and comfort and less on worry (which is a complete waste of time and energy), 4) Improve family ties and relationships and 5) Take time to refresh and renew my personal walk with He who created me!

Okay, so you're saying, "Wait, this IS a list of resolves!" Yes, I guess it is! The difference is in the terminology! To-ma-to or Ta-ma-to!

Counting down to 2012 will be different from other countdowns....there are many things that happened in 2011 that are best filed or compartmentalized in their 2011 box and put away in the archives, while other items will be talked about with family and friends or notated in a journal (cyber or hard copy).

How about the new 3r's -- Instead of READING, wRITING and aRITHMETIC, whatever your 2011 was....the clock is ticking -- REVIEW and REFLECT then REPLACE with the new year's experiences as they happen!

Take time to give thanks for the blessings you received in 2011 and look forward to all the blessings that 2012 will present.

Psalm 100:4 -- "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise..."