Tuesday, June 23, 2015

We may drown in the storm, but Jesus will be there with us...

By the time this post is published it will have been 13 days since I published a post in this online space I call blog home.  Prior to that it had been about 40 days since I had written and published a post.

Not much of a writer, that's for sure.

But things have happened.

Some of them not good.  I have had to stop and live life and deal with problems.

And getting my house ready to sell.

And aging parent issues.

And the list goes on.

Some days I feel like I am drowning.  Other days I feel like I am bleeding money.

And some days it feels like I am doing both.

You know, Jesus never said we would not have trouble. He never said our faith would be a license to an easy life. What he did promise is that he would be there.  

When we are drowning. When we are bleeding money. When we are doing both, he would be there.

He will calm the storms of my life, but the calm may not look like I want it to.

John Kavanaugh puts it this way, 

"Our faith is not a guarantee that we will not go under. 
But it is a promise that, even if we nearly drown, 
Jesus will be with us."

So, in the midst of my storms I am going to remember that it is OK to feel like I'm drowning.  But I can take comfort in the fact that Jesus is there with me - in the midst of the storm.

Tomorrow morning I will be boarding a plane headed south. My mother will be having heart surgery in Nashville, TN on Wednesday. I would appreciate your prayers.  She is 92. The matter is complicated by a number of factors, not the least of which is she doesn't live in Tennessee...nor does any of my family. We are traveling there because it is one of the places this particular surgery is done in the United States.  So...please pray for safe travels, for the surgeons and the medical team and for my family.

For the record, I was supposed to already be there, but my flight was delayed due to weather. Oh my, the air travel stories I could tell just for the month of June 2015!

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I know I owe an answer/conclusion to the saga of my job. A series I started earlier this year.  The short answer is I will be staying if they reconfigure the job. If not, I will be leaving. Everyone understands this because I have been very up front about it. I'm told the job will be reconfigured, but no one knows exactly what that configuration looks like.  So...I'll wait and see what happens.   

I am hoping to be back home in a week. And then, I am hoping to be back in this space on a regular basis.

Thank you for your patience and continued reading...


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

When the salt adds flavor...

The sun is rising on a new day.  A brand-new 24 hour window that I can do with whatever I want.

Yesterday was Amy's birthday.  

I think it was the first time I have not posted on her birthday in several years.  Then again, I am not posting much at all these days.

But I am working on that. 

Yesterday, I started my day by going to mass.  The gospel reading was from Matthew 5:13-16 where Jesus talks about being the salt of the earth.

Salt is used to season and preserve.  Without salt our food can taste rather bland.

Our life-changing experiences can be likened to salt...they season our life and make it interesting.

Losing Amy was certainly one of the hardest things I have ever experienced.  But the experience taught me a lot. Things that I would not have learned without living through the birth and death of a child and then moving on to live life without her.

I believe each of us has a salt experience.  At least one experience (probably more than one) that "made us who we are" that was a defining moment in our life.  An experience that shaped what we thought.

What we believed.

How we react to situations.

Certainly, Amy's life and death was such an experience for me.  But there have been others too.

For several months, I have been listening to Jacque Watkins' Mudstories podcasts.  In a recent episode she mentioned that almost everyone she talks to says they are grateful for their mudstory.  They wouldn't necessarily want to relive it, but they are thankful for it.  They see the value in their life story because of the mud.

Whether I call it the salt of my life or a mud story, the experience shapes and flavors me. The experiences add depth and dimension.  They add color and shape to my life. 

And I wouldn't want to trade them for anything.

For some reason, this is the scripture that is speaking to me this morning...

And when we obey him, every path he guides us on is 
fragrant with his loving-kindness and his truth.
Psalm 25:10 (The Living Bible) 

This is the path he has taken me on in this life...
and when I look for the sweet fragrance, it is there.

Have you listened to Jacque's podcast?
Do you have a podcast you would recommend? 


Friday, May 1, 2015

A reminder that nothing is random...

This is my sister, Sherri. We were having dinner at my favorite restaurant in her town. I have visited her the every year for the last three years and I love this place! Rigatoni Florentine - cheese stuffed rigatoni with spinach, garlic and tomatoes in a white sauce. Yes, I know it's more calories than a red sauce but it is worth EVERY. SINGLE. CALORIE!

This morning in Jesus Calling Sarah Young writes "You are on the path of my choosing. There is no randomness about your life."

That really spoke to me today.

All those moments that seem wasted.

All those days seem mixed up.

All those situations that were and are so confusing...He's got them.  All of them.

The moments, the days, the situations...He is taking control and He is in charge.

And because HE is in charge and in control of each and every second, minute, hour and day, I can rest easier. I don't have to worry.  I'm not saying I let everything go, I'm still working on that.  But today I am reminded that He's got this.  Whatever "this" is in my life today and your life today, we can rest and be at peace.

Because there is no randomness.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

When the decision is not an easy one...

I spent some time in the mountains recently.  Can you imagine how beautiful this would be in the spring and fall?  Imagine being on that porch looking at those mountains with leaves of spring green or the beautiful gold of fall. Lovely I think.  Just lovely.

I was there for a women's retreat and it was good for my soul.  The past 9 months have been long.  And hard.  The academic year will be ending soon and I will be making a decision to stay or go.

To stay with the familiar. The known.  The comfortable. 

Or leave for something new.  Something unknown.  And definitely uncomfortable.

While at this retreat I did some soul searching.  I looked inside to try and decide what the Lord is calling me to do.  I prayed.  I sought wise counsel from women I respect.  I listened.

I came home and shared my thoughts with my husband.  He asked questions.  I asked questions. We shared ideas and I STILL do not have an answer.

I still do not know what I am going to do.

Leaving my job will be hard, but staying may be harder.  When I started my series on change, I intended to share how my job changed.  How it went from something I loved to something difficult, something hard. How I changed from being excited to go to work everyday to something I dreaded most days.  Instead, I ended up sharing about my illness and how the Lord used non-traditional methods to bring physical healing.  I guess that was what I was supposed to share at that time.

But now I have to make a choice.  If leaving my job is what I am supposed to do, then I need courage to do that.  If I am supposed to stay, I probably need even more courage.

Sunday evening I told my husband that I do not want to stay because it is safe and comfortable.  I do not want to stay because it is the easy thing to do.  If I stay, I want it to be because I KNOW - beyond a shadow of a doubt - that it is His will and His desire for me to remain in my job.

If I leave, I'll be stepping away from the safe, the secure and the comfortable.

Maybe it is time to get uncomfortable.  Maybe it is time to leave the secure.  To venture into the unknown and see what happens.

Maybe...but I'm still not quite sure.  Right now there is no straight, clear path for me to follow.

I make difficult decisions by praying, seeking His will by reading the Bible and listening to my gut and the counsel of wise people.  I am working through that process these days.

When faced with a difficult decision what is your decision making process?

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Change...Part 4

I started sharing a part of my story the end of January.  Then my computer got sick and I was out of town two different times.  I am now trying to wrap it up.  You can read parts 1, 2 and 3 here.

I was devastated after I the infectious disease doctor said she'd never had a patient still have headaches 2 months after being sick.  And the neurologist able to see me in 5 months???  I was so sad that afternoon.

It dawned on my later that the infections disease doctor might not see the patients after they leave the hospital.  She had not wanted to see me after I left the hospital, so maybe she didn't see most of her patients outside the hospital. 

Maybe...just maybe she would not know if they still had headaches or not.

I'd done enough research to know that the headaches can linger. For a VERY. LONG. TIME.

I finally called the neurologist's office back and took that appointment that was 5 months away.

Then I called every other day.  EVERY. OTHER. DAY and talked to with the person answering the phone. I would explain my situation and see if there was a cancellation.

After 3 weeks, someone took pity on me and found an opening in December.  Only 6 weeks or so to wait.

I could see the headache specialist in 6 weeks.  I said a thank you prayer right away.

When I went for that appointment I was truly impressed with the thorough examination that the doctor.  She asked so many questions.

She asked about what I ate.  What I drank.  How I slept.  Was I under stress?  Where did my head hurt.

I told her that I'd been using some essential oils on the back of my head and it seemed to make a difference.  She asked me where I put the oils and what oils I used.  She told me that they would help.

Then she asked if I was willing to try acupuncture.  She had an acupuncturist she recommended and frankly, I was willing to try anything.

She told me to start tracking my headaches and told me about an app I could download.  She gave me a list of foods that I was to not eat for 4 weeks (including chocolate).  She gave me some other do's and don'ts.

There are many more details, but let me get to the point.

People...the oils and the acupuncture WORKED.  I scheduled an acupuncture treatment for the next week.

After one treatment I woke up without the relentless pressure in the back of my head that I had been having EVERY DAY since September.  I was far from head ache free, but it was getting better.  And fast!

The biggest surprise was that the doctor did not suggest pills.  She said to give the acupuncture a try and continue with the oils and massage therapy that I was doing.  She wanted to see me in two months and sooner if my headaches didn't improve or I felt I needed to come in earlier.

If these options didn't work, then we could talk about taking some pills.

I was THRILLED to not have to take medicine.

I was SURPRISED that she suggested acupuncture AND that she said the essential oils could make a difference.  Because I wondered at times if I was imagining it.

Imagining that they were helping.  I was desperate for something to help my head...maybe I was making it up.

The "cure" did not take the traditional path.

The "cure" for my headaches did not look like I thought it would look.

The "cure" involved trying something new.  Something I'd never tried before.

And it worked.

There are many things in life that do not take the traditional path.  Things do not work out like we plan or think they should.

But in the end they work.

His plan doesn't always look like we envision it.

His plan takes twists and turns and goes up and down and eventually, if we let him lead, we get to where he wants us to go.

When I went back to the doctor in early February I'd had less than 10 headaches in January and just a few in February.

I am still not headache free 100% of the time, but I am so much better.  In January, I was given additional job responsibilities that are have caused some additional stress.  So, I have had a few more headaches lately, but I am working on letting go.

Remembering that the path I envision, isn't necessarily the path that He planned.

A lesson that I have to re-learn almost every day!  

I'll share more about essential oils and how I am LOVING them in another post, but if you want to learn more now, then e-mail me or leave a comment letting me know how to get in touch with you and I'll get in touch with you.

In the meantime, remember...the cure for my headaches was not traditional.  The cure was different, yet perfect for me.

There are times in life that the different is the best.  Don't be afraid to try something different.  To experience new things.

To learn...you never know what is at the end of the road...or the top of the stairs!