Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Broken Pieces- Cracked Pots

Some days, and even some weeks, we are aware of how flawed we are. It's almost as if
the glaring weaknesses are in bold print. They are hard to escape and harder yet to rectify.

As I approach sixty, one of the things I've learned is this-
God loves me just as I am, but He loves me too much to leave me like that!

Yesterday I was impatient with a student. True, his behavior wasn't kind or charming. His sarcasm was biting to everyone around him. While I love teaching...this wasn't one of the fun moments.

Truth be told, I was tired. I had been up since 3am in the morning. The student's last sarcastic comment brought an impatient response from me. I've felt that from the start of the quarter he has been testing me, but that's not the issue. Few folks would have thought my response rude or uncalled for. However, I knew the inner emotions that were disguised by my remark...and they weren't pretty.

I can not bear unkindness in others. I hate it even more in myself. I felt like an old clay pot with a crack going down the side...flawed. I know there is a lesson in this moment of truth for me.

I truly believe that God works through jars of clay or "cracked pots." This means that we are all flawed. So when people look at us, and see amazing things happening, they know it must be God at work because it certainly could not be us.

So today, I'll work to forgive myself and I'll apologize to him.

He may not have any idea why I am doing that. My remark probably wouldn't register in his book of unkind comments. But it didn't feel right to me. And I know it didn't feel right to the Lord! Ah..you gotta love being human!

God Bless! Love, Linda

Friday, January 26, 2007

FRIDAY'S FAVORITE QUOTATION !

Friday's Favorite quote for Friday, January 26th


Don't tell God
How big the storm is.

Tell the storm
How big God is!



I remember my Mom using the expression "When it rains, it pours!" Sometimes, since we lived in Seattle, she meant that statement literally. We had LOTS of rain.

Other times she meant that sometimes life has a way of coming at you with multiple challenges, and you will feel you are being pelted with heavy rain.

It has been just that kind of week.

So many people I love and care about are facing new challenges. Andy, Kim, Dale, Grandma Phyllis. And today Erik, my son, has surgery in Seattle. None of the challenges are small. There are some tough mountains to climb.

Not long ago Amy gave me a CD with some Christian songs that have brought me comfort during this storm, this downpour.

On one of them the chorus says,

"So come on home
His arms are open wide.
His name is Jesus.
He understands.

He is the answer
You are looking for.
So come home running
Just as you are!"

Every morning this week I have listened to these songs, cried myself down Thor and into the parking lot at school, and worked on saying in my prayers...please God, help my friends. Please God bring relief. Please God bring complete healing to their bodies and their spirits. Please God be there with all those who love them. Please God bring them comfort.

While I can make food and visit, I can also pray.

So today, I will remember that His arms are open wide. He is the answer I am looking for. I can come home running, just as I am. Today I will yell at the top of my voice.."LOOK STORM.. LOOK HOW BIG GOD IS!!!!"

God Bless! Love, Linda

Friday, January 19, 2007

FRIDAY'S FAVORITE QUOTATION !

Friday's Favorite Quote for Friday, January 19th

that which
masquerades
as a trial
to my spirit
today

will
dreass as
the teacher
of my
life
tomorrow.


-mary ann radmacher


As I approach 60, more and more I realize that some of my greatest personal learnings have come from great challenges...losing my parents, having one hand, going through a divorce, health issues. They ALL have, in the short run, been difficult. In the long run, they have taught me a great deal about faith, hope, tenacity, and courage!

May your "trials of today" allow for new and profound learnings!

God Bless! Love, Linda

Thursday, January 18, 2007

THURSDAY THIRTEEN : SELF- TRANSFORMATION 101

For the past few weeks I have been struck by the power of mindfulness. I have worked at being INTENTIONAL about my goals, even the ones I DON'T want to work on or I struggle with prioritizing!

Every day I am doing so many things that I want to do and find joy in doing. What I have added to that list is doing at least two things EACH day that I DON'T want to do. Many of these are on-going concerns and issues.

So...today's Thursday Thirteen List is made up of areas where I commit to being mindful and intentional. I am making progress in each area,and I will continue to make progress:

1) As a college teacher I see 90 students each day and have countless papers to grade. So far this quarter,I have returned EVERY assignment the day after it was turned in. I have also included detailed comments on each one to let the students know I read what they wrote. While this is exhausting on one hand, not having a "pile" of ungraded papers relieves my mind of stress. Also, seeing the joy in students' eyes as they get papers back promptly motivates me to continue with this practice. I'll continue being mindful and doing this all quarter long!

2) I am eating oatmeal every morning. Yuk! I have heard all my life that a "good" breakfast is so important. I have read that oatmeal helps to lower cholesterol. So I will continue to eat oatmeal whether I like it or not!

3) I have been walking 10 blocks three times a week. I have also been getting to school early to walk. And then I fell. I am getting back on the horse and walking again!

4) I hate to bill my consulting clients. I wish I could just give my services without charging them, but that isn't practical or possible. I will take a day in the first week of each month to do my billing so it isn't hanging over my head. So far so good for 2007!

5) Can I state the obvious...I need to lose weight and KEEP it off. I need to schedule going to Weight Watchers just like I schedule going to physical therapy for 4 hours each week. While I have lost 13 lbs and kept it off...I have LOTS to go! So,
now, in my 60th year, it is the time to MAKE THIS HAPPEN!!!!

6) I am deep cleaning one room each weekend! I feel happy and relieved to be doing this! So far...both sun rooms and the living room!

7) I can NEVER have enough time and contact with my fabulous grandchildren! I love seeing the ones who live in Spokane and feel a deep missing with those who live out of town. I just got postcards to send my out of town grandkids, and I will email to keep in touch.

8) I will take a nap whenever I can, and I WON'T feel guilty about doing so!

9) I will be intentional about growing my faith in new and exciting ways!! I am getting up earlier for prayer time, reading the Bible, and getting to church on Sunday!!

10) "Worry isn't prayer!" I hear that regularly from Amy! I inherited my Mom's worry gene and find as I get older that I worry more. I will "let go and let God!" It's time, when things come up that I am concerned about, to turn them over to the Lord!

11) I want to appreciate EVERY minute that I have with my sweetheart, Bert! I want to say and do things so he will know that I adore him!

12) I want to clean my car so Emma and Jacob don't have to say.."Nana, this is a MESS!!!" By the end of next weekend it will be spotless!

13) I want to celebrate EVERY blessing in my life! I want to be aware of all the little things that are gifts from God! I want to be GRATEFUL and not take anything for granted!

Onward and upward on these goals! May you feel blessed as you do some of those things you DON'T want to do too! God Bless! Love, Linda

Friday, January 12, 2007

FRIDAY'S FAVORITE QUOTATION !

Friday's Favorite Quote for Friday, January 12th


The jump
is so frightening
between
where i am and
where i want to be...

because of all
i may become
i will close my eyes
and leap!


Today I want to take the risk to become all God meant me to be, in EVERY area of my life!

God Bless and Happy Friday! Love, Linda

Monday, January 08, 2007

SELF-TRANSFORMATION LESSON.... ON FRIENDSHIPS


Thoughts on Friendships-

As a young girl I remember singing the rhyme-

"Make new friends

But keep the old

One is silver

And the other..gold"

As I approach my 60th birthday, I have been paging through old photo albums, looking at worn snapshots of friends in grade school, high school, college and beyond. I am struck by how many of those dear people, who mattered so much, have faded into the past, their whereabouts unknown.

My oldest fried is Linda Wise, otherwise known as "Linny". We have been friends since we were 14 months old. She turns sixty in a few weeks, and my birthday follows shortly after. We have been friends for almost sixty years, have traveled together, shared the loss of all of our parents (who were dear friends), and know each other's history and "story".

I have friends like Sharon Hartnett, who lives in Seattle, that I talk to almost weekly and travel to Cannon Beach with each year for a spiritual retreat! We laugh ourselves silly, the kind of laughing that makes you pee in your pants and saves your soul. She is someone I can always count on. She prays for me, and I pray for her.

Other friends like Eileen Thompson and Nancy Gossett are also spiritual soul sisters. We have been through so much..major illnesses, children's ups and downs, our aging process. We have laughed and cried. I can call and ask them to pray, and I know they will lovingly follow through. Our friendship times are cherished as we squeeze them in between work and busy schedules.

I am blessed to say that my daughter Amy and my daughter Jessi are my friends. I am their Mom, but as adult women we share our lives and our hearts.

I can count on Amy to love me just as I am, but challenge me to be more than I thought I could be. She is one of the "truth tellers" in my life, and the day she became a Christian was one of the best days of my life. We share our love of the Lord, our love for our families, and can talk for hours about personal growth and family. She is the most unselfish person I know and someone who is one of my role models for courage and change!

Jessi is my friend, and we share a love of teaching, family, traditions, and each other. She challenges me to get healthy and stretch what I think I can do athletically. She'll get me just the right book to read, a pedometer to measure my steps, or a sentimental card that brings me to tears. Her abilities, self-determination and self-discipline blow me away. She and I have a friendship that has grown in leaps and bounds in the past several years.

Jessi and Amy know, in their deepest hearts, that I will love them forever, like them for always, and for as long as I'm living and beyond, my babies they'll be!

Bert, the love of my life, is my best friend. I love him to the moon and back. He loves me as I am and even thinks I'm cute. He believes in me, prays for me, and knows my heart through and through.

I have friends at school and friends at church. Female friends and male friends. Old friends and new friends. But somehow..there is never enough time to catch up with all of them. Some are silver, and they all are gold!

As I get older, I have the strong desire to hold on to the important friendships in my life... to give more time to them, more love to them, more patience to them, and more forgiveness to them. I want to remember their birthdays, their anniversaries, the days that mark the loss of a loved one. I want to connect and reconnect. I want to share the stories that make us laugh, make us cry, and make us who we are!

My Mom was a great role model for deeply caring about friends. She remembered their anniversaries, even after their beloved spouses had died. She called them just to say hello or check in on an illness. She sent cards, letters, and love.

I want part of my self-transformation to include more lunches with friends, more "spa dates", more spoiling my friends so they will never doubt how much I love and adore them. I want more real moments where we let down our guard and bare our true souls. I want more honest moments where we give each other the tough and loving feedback that challenges each of us to be our best selves....I want more moments, period!

When they are gone...and I am gone...I want no regrets!

God Bless! Love, Linda

Friday, January 05, 2007

FRIDAY'S FAVORITE QUOTATION!

Friday's Favorite Quote for Friday, January 5, 2007

Well-behaved women
Seldom make history!


Today is a landmark day for all women, no matter their political party. For the first time in 200 years, there is a female Speaker of the House of Representatives.
This is the highest office ANY woman has ever held in the US. Nancy Pelosi has made history!

I come from a very politically active family, I double majored in Communications and Political Science, and I am active in politics. My Grandma was a Democrat, my parents staunch Republicans (I trick-or-treated with Julie and Trisha Nixon when I was little), and I am an active Independent, voting for the person I feel will best do the job! Women only got the right to vote in 1920, and SO many women paved the way to this historic moment. I only wish my Mom was alive to see this. She always said..."Someday they'll figure out that smart women can effectively run ANYTHING!"

While I still believe that having good manners and being tactful is an important skill to develop, there are times when women need to be outrageous, step outside the box, and exercise all of the spunk, courage, love, joy and passion that God created in them.

Both my Mom and Grandma had great manners, but they also had moments of stepping up to the plate that were perceived by some as not being "well behaved." My Mom, in her fifties, helped to rid the University of Washington apartment area of drug dealers. She took pictures of the offending parties, orchestrated a petition, spoke with the police, and had a phone removed where drug buys took place. When she saw a problem or an injustice, she took action... she did something...she spoke up..even when others thought it "wasn't ladylike." My Mom and Grandma, just like all of the STRONG women who came before them, made history. They are my role models for having a voice!

So, to all of you who read this, find a moment to step outside your box, put "well behaved on the shelf. and test out your own unique courage! As I approach sixty, I've learned that when you do this, you'll find a new inner strength and a core value of authenticity!

God Bless! Love, Linda

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

SELF-TRANSFORMATION 101


Tennessee Williams once said, "Openings come quickly, sometimes, like blue space in running clouds. A complete overcast, then a blaze of light..."

New Years for me is like a blaze of light. It's a fresh start, a new beginning, and a chance to grow, change, and transform. It's an opportunity to be mindful and intentional about the "openings" in my life!

On New Years Eve, Bert and I have a tradition that sets the tone for the year to come. We sit down and share our reflections of the previous year. We talk from our hearts about our high moments, low moments, challenges, fears, and proud moments of the previous year. This conversation is a time for reflection about what has gone before, what we want to have happen in the present, and our dreams for the future.

This time of sharing is so valuable as it cements some of the important "learning moments" and gives us energy and momentum as we approach the year ahead. It's what we call an "updated postcard" about where we are with ourselves and each other.

This year, as I approach my 60th birthday on February 5th, I have set up a list of goals for 2007 that involve a transformation inside and out. Some of these goals are areas where I want to celebrate my continued progress and use of the gifts that God has given to me. Other goals involve areas that have nagged at my soul and NOW is the time to work on them.

So, I invite you to stay tuned, comment, and share your thoughts about this new part of my human journey. I'm calling it Self-Transformation-101! Perhaps some of my learnings and struggles mirror your own.There will be more to follow. I am anticipating break throughs, AH HAH moments. I look forward to discovering more of who I am and who I want to be!

Happy New Year! May God bless you with His love and grace! Linda

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