Saturday, July 25, 2015

What a week...finding gratitude in the midst of it all...

                           A MOMENT
                       OF GRATITUDE
                             MAKES A
                         DIFFERENCE 
                              IN YOUR
                            ATTITUDE!
                                    - Bruce Wilkinson

It all started when I purchased a luscious and
fragrant basil plant at "Trader Joe's", my absolutely  favorite grocery store of all time.

It's almost like when our grocery cart turned the corner, the plant looked at me, called my name, and said, "Take me home. You'll be glad you did."

And I am. Glad, that is.

I put it in one of my favorite containers, and it sits on the corner of our long, gorgeous, thick wooden kitchen counter...comfy chairs pulled up to eat there so you can chat with the chef while she is cooking dinner:)

And every time, and I do mean every time, you circle the corner of that counter, you get a gentle "whiff"...the slightest scent of basil permeating your brain.

I've started to stop at that corner, bury my face in the basil plant, and just take it all in.

Immediately...I feel grateful.

I look down at the pot that is holding the basil plant so proudly, and on the front I  see the words I wrote in chalkboard calligraphy...

All Shall Be Well!

And those words make me smile. They remind me of my friend, Vicky.

And most importantly, they remind me that God is in charge. Not me. Thank goodness! I know that. I trust that. I believe that.

No matter what happens, when I trust God... 
                           All shall be well!

If you read my post, the one before this one, you know that this was a really, really hard week for me. A "I got shaken to the core" kind of week. 

We all have those. All of us do. It feels a bit like being in an earthquake... with after-shocks following.

And if I'm honest, when I think back about the betrayal that happened, I still feel sick to my stomach.

However, after lots of prayer and tears and processing with Bert... 

I am choosing gratitude instead of fear.

I am choosing gratitude instead of anger.

I am choosing joy, and trust and gratitude in the midst of betrayal.

That wonderful and pungent and aromatic basil plant reminds me of God's grace. 

It reminds me that His mercy is new every morning. 

It reminds me that in the midst of hard, really hard... God is there!


Not some place else. Right there. In the midst of the pain and hurt... 


He is there with me. 

He is there with you.


Yesterday's July 24th message in "Jesus Calling"
again brought home the importance of thankfulness and gratitude. It said:

"Thankfulness opens the door to My presence. Though I am always with
you, I have gone to great measures to preserve your freedom of choice.
I have placed a door between you and Me, and I have empowered you to
open or close that door. There are many ways to open it, but a grateful attitude
is one of the most effective."

Amen!! And I am more grateful for that knowledge than I can ever say!


God Bless!

Much love,
Linda

Friday, July 24, 2015

Letting It Go...



                                           YOU WILL
                          FIND THAT
                                IT IS
                        NECESSARY
                              TO LET THINGS
                           GO; SIMPLY
                       FOR THE REASON
                           THAT THEY
                                ARE
                             HEAVY. 
                           
                                     -Anne Lamott


Yesterday started out like any other day...full of promise.

And then the news came. A shock wave if you will.
Twenty four hours later I am still reeling.

Someone I used to know, who I really cared about, did something so despicable that I just couldn't wrap my mind and heart around it.


Granted, this person had made lots of pretty awful choices along the way. I have been shocked before, but not like this.


Little by little over the past years I have adapted to seeing them in a new and more realistic light. When I thought of them this quotation came to mind...

                    
                   Hurt people...hurt people.

I have tried to have compassion with their choices that hurt so many because I knew they had been so hurt growing up. I have tried with all my heart to see them the way Jesus sees them. No matter what they have done, or who they are, they are still a child of God.

And I do believe that it is not my job to judge.


So countless times, in the not so distant past, I have "moved them out" and distanced myself emotionally from them. I did this

because they were so mixed up and toxic that I knew it wasn't healthy for me to associate with them. I felt like I had them at a safe distance from my heart and that they couldn't hurt me again or hurt those I love again.

That was until yesterday.

I am still stunned that they could do this. My head shakes as I write those words. I feel as if I have been hit by a truck when I let in the magnitude of the new low in their behavior.

Oprah Winfrey once said...
             "When someone shows you who they are...
               believe them."

Even though this person has shown me who they are time and
time again, and I have seen them do unthinkable things, I have still prayed for them. I have always prayed that they would have a turn-around. That they could change. I wanted to be realistically optimistic about them.

Today, after seeing the hurt they have caused , I am just plain angry. Yet me carrying that anger is not good for my health.

I am praying to find a way to let this go. I have to do this simply for the reason that it is too heavy for me to carry...way too heavy for me to carry. I plan to write them a letter I will never send, just as a first step in the letting go process.

Please keep them and me in your thoughts and prayers!

God Bless!
Love Linda 






Friday, July 17, 2015

Walking Through Sorrow and Watching Hope Grow...

                         God answers
              when you least expect it.

I have a prayer list. I have kept one for as long as I can remember. Years and years and years. I look at it every morning, after first getting a cup of coffee.
I gather my Jesus Calling book, look at the message for today and then start at the top.

What may be a bit unique about my prayer list is that I also write down when prayers are answered.


It's a reminder to me that when I am walking through sorrow, and you are walking through sorrow, that God is here. He is listening. There is a reason to hope and keep praying.


My prayers aren't fancy with a lot of thees or thous.

I think it's great that some folks pray like that. That's their style.

My style is more like, "Hey, God. Good morning. Thanks for waking me up again. I have some worries I want to share and people who need miracles. Please, please, please give them hope. They need you." I also say thanks for all He is doing in my life. Thanks for His love. Thanks for being there and loving me, just as I am.


Lately I have been praying 24/7 for certain people.

I have asked you to pray as well.

So here are just a few of the answered prayers and

people who still need you to keep praying:

1) My daughter Amy was hit by a car when she was training for a marathon. She was thrown into a ditch and by the grace of God wasn't killed or paralyzed. However she sustained a horrible neck injury and there is only one procedure that helps. Her insurance company originally wouldn't fund the procedure. Yesterday Amy got word that they approved her having this procedure. Praise God! Answered prayer.


2) Amy's daughter, Glory Sihin was adopted from Ethiopia four years ago. Sihin is an answer to prayer. We just found out that her biological Mom in Ethiopia may have ovarian cancer. Amy and Sihin are planning a trip to Ethiopia in the very near future. Please pray for Sihin's mom's health and for Sihin's peace of mind.


3) My dear friend Vicky Westra is fighting for her life with large and awful doses of chemo. Please, please keep praying for more days and weeks and months and years for this amazing Mom, wife, friend and inspiration. Pray for her immune system to be restored! Vicky is living each day with gratitude and hope. Please hope and BELIEVE right along with her and all of us who are her prayer warriors. 


4) My friend Peggy needs your prayers. Please pray that her business would thrive and that she would have a place to stay that feels like home. Peggy is so amazing and loving and she loves and trusts God.

She is one of the most courageous people I know.
She is an overcomer, and really listens to what God is asking of her. Please pray for her strength and deep sense of God's presence.

So, how about you? Please feel free to leave a prayer request as a comment on this blog for you or anyone you care about. 


No matter where you live...

Australia, China, Russia, Romania, Sweden, India, Switzerland, United Kingdom,Canada, Germany, France, Portugal, Taiwan, or the United States... or wherever you are from...your prayer requests here are welcomed and cherished.

Here's what I believe about sorrow, hope and prayer:


*I believe that we often have to walk through sorrow and pain to watch hope grow.


*I believe that God hears our prayers and that prayer is powerful. I believe that He is with us through every trial.


* I believe that God answers when we least expect it.


May God bless you and keep you. May He hold you in the palm of His almighty hand.


God Bless!

Love, Linda 




Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sun, Water and Flip Flops...

           Life is better in flip flops...

Linda's Journal Entry: July 13, 2015

"I love the beach. I love water and sand and sunshine and family together. I love the sense of endless days and sun-drenched skin and playing Pictionary with teams yelling loudly and cheering for their side.

I love playing Clue and losing to grandchildren who grin from ear to ear. Was it really Miss Scarlet with the knife in the Conservatory?

I love watching old movies and going to the Roxie Theatre and seeing Jurassic World together. I love grabbing my grandson Jacob's arm as I shriek in terror at the dinosaurs.  


I love going to the grocery store in Newport and giving the older grandchildren their own cart to fill up with goodies they would love to snack on.


I love the casual clothing and not even asking if the little ones have brushed their teeth. I love staying up late and reading book after book. I love making teams equipped with water pistols and staging  the best water fight ever.


I love all things summer.

Most of all... I love a summer rich in family time, rich in making lasting memories."

I'm sitting back at home this morning reading my journal from our summer family vacation. I'm sipping on coffee. It's just after 6am, and I am still here at home. What a luxury. On a regular school day, during the regular school year, I would have been up at 3:30am.


Reflecting back on our ten day sojourn to Diamond Lake, the huge rental home we were all in, the jet ski we rented, the casual living and floating and singing and laughing...well it reminds me how much I have always loved summer.


For years we owned a home at Diamond Lake

so this lake brings back so many fond memories of years gone by. However having two homes became too much, we sold our Diamond Lake spot and now have found a great alternative. 

We saw the fireworks on the fourth, we relaxed and ate together, holding hands as we said grace. We told old stories and made memories for new ones. We wore casual clothes and bathing suits and flip flops became our dress code.


We saw sunsets and sunrises and saw the Lord God's majesty everywhere we looked. And guess what? The pace of life slowed so that His gifts were visible and in focus. Unlike times back in Spokane where rushing and rushing made God's world a bit blurry and indistinguishable.

We relaxed and hugged and talked and shared.

It was the best family time ever.

I love the quotation that says:

              
                     Every summer has a story.

This summer's story is all about connection, genuine connection. This summer's story is all about l0ve and joy and FUN and time together. 
Real quality time together. 

This time together is a tradition, something we all anticipate with glee all year long. We already have our reservations for the same dates in 2016. :)


It just doesn't get any better that that! 


I hope your summer has also been graced with time to breathe and let joy abound!


God Bless!

Love Linda




Friday, July 03, 2015

Taking a breath...

I believe that if you truly understand
the importance of relaxation, you will make time for it in your schedule.
                    
                                                        -Gudjon Bergman, Yes! You Can Manage Stress

The school year is over. It's a wrap! I haven't even taken the time to let that sink in yet. 

We have been in a bit of overdrive (she says trying not to laugh out loud) and we have been trying to catch up on so many things. While I can chuckle about how life works and how crazy busy it all is, I realize that relaxation and fun and down time won't just materialize on it's own. 

No, life isn't balanced for me at our house. If I want some balance I have to be intentional about getting it.

I have to choose down time, ease off the accelerator, unplug and schedule in fun. So that's what I am going to do for about ten days.

I don't know how many red flags God has to send my way before I get the
message. I've been to this place before and dad gum it I still haven't learned the lesson. 

Slow learner on some big stuff. Some very big stuff.

During the last few weeks of school I caught a bug that has persisted for over a month. Finally I got into my doctor who gave me one more exasperated look and said, after glancing at my chart, "Again, Linda?"

I have been on antibiotics, an inhaler, cough medicine and some other not so yummy items...for over a month. And then she took a chest X-ray and found a "slightly collapsed lung."

And all of this just before finals week.

So I barely limped through finishing the quarter, the year, final exams, grades going in, packing up my office so it can get painted and graduation. The last day for me at the college, for this year, was Monday, June 22nd.

Truthfully, I just felt kind of numb.

And then I came home, got the medicine and have been accomplishing a few things every day and mostly taking naps and trying to get well. This is the first summer that I have not been consulting or in school taking classes for over 34 years. 

I am taking the summer off from work. There, I said it.

Yet the schedule, even without my typical work schedule, seems to fill up. 
So...I am scheduling a ten day hiatus. A real break. A sit down and read a book, break. A sit in the garden and have iced tea, break. A catch up with myself, break.

A much needed break.

I'll be back online in about ten days. Until then...I'll be taking a breath and relaxing! I can almost hear God smile! 

I will hold you in my thoughts and prayers. And speaking of prayers, please hold Amy (my daughter) in your prayers as there still is no resolve with her health care system. (see previous post, Confused With a Side of Anger). 
Thank you for praying. That means the world to me.

I am so grateful for your love, care, support, thoughts and prayers!

God Bless!
Love, Linda













                              

A Reminder of What Matters...

                   "We are all just walking                       each other home."                                             ...