The Empty Nest

As I awoke this morning I realized that it is still raining!  “Great,” I think.

This is a pretty big deal.  You see, here in Southern California we have been in a drought season for some time now, so this watering is very needed.

“Thanks Lord,” I pray as I sit here watching it come down. I’m thinking about how pretty the rain drops are, as the water glistens from the bit of sun shining on the bright green leaves, of the tree outside my window.  Next my prayers to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ are for my relief from the drought I feel in my soul.

The Merriman Dictionary terms drought as “an excess period of dryness,” even one that can cause extensive damage. It is also said to be “a prolonged or chronic shortage or lack of something expected or desired.”

Hum?! Dried up is very much how I’d define how I feel right now.  I also feel very damaged as well. I feel as if I’m out in one of our deserts here in California.  Alone and parched.  I need some refreshment for my soul.

You see, I am officially and probably forever an “empty nester.”

I’ve decided the definition for the term “empty nester,” must be similar to a desert drought.  At least that is how it feels to be one. Dry, empty and void of life.

Walking out to the kitchen for my first cup of coffee, I stop and stare into the room that used to be colorful and filled with the evidence of life. And it hits me that it really is  empty. Sure there are signs someone used to live there. There are nail holes, blue sticky gook where the posters hung and a few small items that had been left.

You see, my youngest daughter, lived the past 7 plus years of her life there in that room and others just like it.

I’ve always wanted this time to come for Alyssa. And I knew this time would come for us as well. The day Alyssa would move out our home. That the time would come when she’d finally be ready to step into a life of her own; on her own.

That she’d leave us alone.

Recently I’ve had so many mixed emotions. Ups and downs over her leaving. One minute I am so excited for her and in the next the gloom roles in like a foggy day and I’m left feeling all alone in my sadness.

I find myself not thinking about her at all and then breaking down in tears as I notice her empty closet. Or the space at the kitchen counter where she’d join us for a quick dinner before running off to work or church.  Then there’s that spot on my bed where she’d sit and tell me about the latest “cute” boy she met or the wacky customer she had at work. Then the tears start flowing again. Or maybe it’s a TV show that we both watched together. Or that I’d taped for her is no more to be saved. And there is no more picking out Mangoes at the farmers market for her either.

Alyssa’s hearts desire had always been to meet the man she’s been writing to in her ” to my husband” journals for many years. The man she doesn’t know yet, but knows God has for her. To fall in love and get married to this forever love. But now at age twenty-seven her man is still out there somewhere waiting for her and she for he.  And her prolonged desire, as the second definition of drought states, has still not come to fruition.

For either of us.

You see, this was something I’d always dreamed would happen while she still lived at home. That we’d experience her special day the same way I did with her sister and brother.   I dreamed of sharing this time of her falling in love with the man that God has for her. All the fun we would have sitting up late talking about him and perusing all her wedding magazines.  Making plans and tasting cake. Then as time went on I’d be there as she got ready for the day she’d always dreamed of.  That she’d ride off and out from under our protective wings in the arms of her forever love.

But this is not to be.

That is not how she left us.

I praise my God and the Father of my soul that like other parents of children that either were taken away for some reason or died, Alyssa left of her own accord. She left our home healthy, happy and ready to take on the world! Ready for a whole new beginning in a new place. Her own place. Alyssa flew out of our nest to feather her own in Nashville Tennessee.

I don’t remember having this drought kind of feeling when she was away at college.

Of course she was only a few towns over and we saw her regularly when we went to watch her Basketball games. She was close by. She came and she went and all was well.

Until it wasn’t!

Through the years since Alyssa was fifteen years old she has battled a mental illness called Bi-Polar and eventually 7 and a half years ago she had to come back home to live. There were times we thought she might never lead the normal life of a vivacious and sane young woman. But God is beyond amazing and He has allowed her to be the woman she has always wanted to be. Now she’s living life to the fullest!

My Alyssa is now on her own and so am I.

The busyness of the planning for her move. The research. And the legwork I did for her is over.  

She’s settled, she’s busy with work and making new friends.  She’s met a “cute” boy that’s invited her to church. She’s even loving the soft snow that falls there in Tennessee. Who’dathunk? A Cali girl enjoying scrapping ice off her car!  

I have heard it said that whether a child actually dies or simply leaves home for good, that the emotional feelings are the same.  I believe it.  It still hurts a month later.

While Alyssa’s new life away from Mom and Dad isn’t exactly the way we’d envisioned it, her days of drought are ending. And it feels like mine have just begun.

Her dream of life on her own is now being watered by the excitement of new experiences and friendships.

She’s still writing her letters to her future husband, just in a new nest still believing he’ll soon walk through some door one day. I pray he will. I believe he will.

Life was a constant buzz of busyness getting Alyssa ready to move away.  But now it’s not. Like a heavy storm, when it ends here in California, I am left wanting it to still be raining. To have her still here in the midst of what was.

I’ve decided that I am in mourning. I am grieving being Alyssa’s every-day-hands-on-kind-of-parent. It’s a dry desert kind of place in my heart. This space that caring and helping her daily held. But I think the sadness has finally been replaced by acceptance now that she is really gone. But where does an everyday hands on mother go from here? What do I do with the new found time I have, not doing for her anymore?

The depth of this pain I’ve been experiencing is similar to the desperation I felt when we first heard Alyssa’s diagnosis.  I fought the truth and the facts of this new found reality. But this time I am not really desperate for the diagnosis to be different, just for the pain of this new life I have without her to stop. My eyes nor my husband can take it any longer. I want and I need to feel alive again.  And I don’t think staying in bed and crying all day is what Alyssa would want for me either.

I thought about it one day and realized she certainly wasn’t sitting around in a pool of tears and lonliness.  So I begged God to show me, “What is next?”  And because He is so faithful He’s answered me. I believe the Lord is calling to me to spend this time I now have with Him. He’s invited me to come and spend this desert experience with Him.  In His Word He tells us that He will never leave me nor forsake me and will always be by my side.  I believe Him, so I think I’ll take Him up on His invitation.  Sounds good.  Some slow and quiet time just Jesus and me.

Time to cry and remember, but also to regroup and recharge. Time to spend time in His Word, time to journal and to pray.  I guess I need it.  I guess I’ll take it.

It’s strange though. I feel like I’m in this place of prolonged waiting too; although she really hasn’t been gone that long. It’s strange how long the days are with nothing to do. I used to crave these slow empty kind of days, but now that I’m in this space in time I’m wanting to feel alive again. Feel like I have a purpose. Feel the joy that comes from whatever that purpose is again.

Jesus spent forty days alone with the Father when He was in the desert, so I guess I shouldn’t hope for my time to be any less or anticipate the length of time this grieving thing may take.  So I’ll patiently try to be at peace with the necessary time this process takes.  And then I guess I’ll move on.  But move on to what I’m not sure yet.

But I am sure of this. God will reveal to me what His purpose is for me when the time is right. I know all things are best served in His time not mine, so I’m ok with the waiting.

And I am sure Alyssa is fine. Is happy. Is wanting me to be happy again.

So until the desert flowers bloom for me in my new life whatever that’s to be,  I’ll watch the  taped show of the Bachelor with Jesus by my side.  He and I will sit together on my bed and He’ll speak to me of the wonders of His great love. And as I shop He and I will converse about what avacados to choose. And then I’ll FaceTime with Alyssa about it all!

You see, no matter where my children are.  No matter where your children are.  The Lord will always be there right beside us to fill that void they left. To help us re-feather those nests.  To give us a new purpose in the life He created us to live.

There is more He has for me.  There is life beyond my children. Beyond my daughter.  Wow!  Did I say that?

Maybe I am really moving on through this process!  Maybe I’m almost ready for what ever it is that God has for me beyond being a mother!

But for now I’ll stay right where I am and watch the rain knowing that God’s love is still watering that dry and dusty spot of loneliness.  And as I wait for the spring of my new life as an empty nester:

“It is well with my soul.”

Posted in Stewardship | 4 Comments

Be-Lated Happy New Year

 

 

 

Any of you that have followed my blog, you know that it’s been months since I posted last.   And now that it is a new year I want to get back at it!

It wasn’t that I didn’t have any material or desire to write (the lack of desire did come, but that is a story for another time) it was truly that unless I got up at “the butt crack of dawn” as a friend of mine says, or stayed up way past even Jay Leno’s curfew I couldn’t have done it.

My life has not been my own.  I am not complaining mind you, just stating the facts.  Lots of  very legitimate reasons mind you that are very near and dear to my heart.

BUT now that the new year is here, (well almost February, but that is either here nor there), I am ready, willing and able (again) to start again sharing from my heart my take on those things in life that are the Dramas and Traumas we all go through and how they affect, change and challenge.

I don’t yet have a deep and meaningful, long blog post to share, but I do want to share a few thoughts that God has put upon my heart these last days of my recovery from these last months of my latest drama’s and trauma’s:

“Help me to get beyond what it is that I want. What I think I need, to what you truly want for me LORD.”

That quote was part of my prayers from today.

“Where there is no hurry, there is no worry. Slow down and simply just do today.” God

Words I heard my Lord tell me the other day.       peace in the unknown

And lastly not my quote, but a great one that is going to be my anthem for life in this new year:

“Watch your thoughts for the they become your words.

Watch your words for they become your actions.

Watch your actions for they become your habits.

Watch your habits for they become your character.

And finally, watch your character for it WILL become your destiny!”  Unknown

Until we meet again: “It is mostly well with my soul:)”

 

 

 

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What’s YOUR Question???

Mountain-Lake

                                                      My Summer was a mix of ups and downs emotionally.  I will say,  I knew it wouldn’t be a lazy hazy summer full of picnics and lemonade, but when it began with the drama and trauma of the 4th of July and loosing our sweet granddaughter Jo,  I had to surrender to God’s Will and myself to what ever was in store for the next 3 months.

For one it was none stop and I can barely believe we are in the middle of Sept already!

The summer brought relief and a renewed enthusiasm for our business Premium Nails after we had our best trade show results ever!!!

From there we hit the road for a 2 week road trip into the gorgeous mountains of Wyoming, Colorado and Arizona.  This trip quickly becoming one of our top 5 vacations.

Then the summer recently culminated with tears of joy and a new-found love in our latest arrival of our 7th grandkiddo, Amelia Quinn Frenzel. She miraculously came into this world wide-eyed and wonderful.

She is my reminder everyday of how amazingly gracious and merciful my God is!

Now the Fall decorations are up and the busyness has slowed down and it’s time once again for me to get back on the horse as they say.  I’ve been sooooo distracted by life that I really haven’t written much by the way of online posts, etc. this summer.  A few journal entries, no post till now and definitely no Plinky writings.  I even (as writers do) entertained giving up writing all together, wondering:

Why do it?

But as is the usual way things go for me, God quickly shows up to answer these kind of questions.

The words I heard Him say to me (get to know Jesus and you can hear from God in a personal way too!) were, and I quote, “Because you love it. Because I have gifted you for such as this and because I need you too.”

Then again, and of course, I continued to discuss with Him the why’s.  And He was quick to let me know that there are people who actually will read what I write and that it will be uplifting, helpful, insightful, informing, encouraging, enjoyable and the like to them.

Ok, I say and then was quickly reminded of  AA meetings. Of going to them. Which honestly, at times are boring and rote and I’d rather be somewhere else.  But, I am not at them so much for myself these days (Thank God!!!).  I must remember I am there for the new-comer and the person that might hear something I say and be helped by it.

That is why I go and don’t get me wrong, I do want to be of “Love and Service.”

And that is why I’ll saddle up and get back in writing mode.  I know God will give me the enthusiasm and the inspiration I need for the words He wants me to say. So I willingly write and hope you’ll read, pass on, apply and impart.

I know how easy it would be to give up and give in and not bother, but I can’t.

God didn’t make us to live in a vacuum, but to be in relationship and community. Mine is my family and my church. And those I meet online and at my AA meetings.

Those that God can and will put in my path at any time anywhere.

THOSE that God has placed in YOUR life!

So as I sit here and type, I wonder how YOUR summer was and what the rest of the year holds for YOU? What God holds out for YOUR future? Who are THOSE that God wants you to reach out to?

Is there something YOU need to be about that maybe YOU set aside? Maybe for even more than the past few months?

Is there something YOU are wondering? Asking the “why’s” and “when’s” and “what if’s” about?

I’m guessing; if YOU listen closely, God will meet YOU where ever it is YOU ARE at and He too, will answer YOU:))

“AND It IS VERY well with my SOUL!”  

Posted in Alcolhol, Change, Family, God, Grandkiddos, Jesus, Living LIfe, Me--Debi, Plinky Posts, Prescription Drugs, Purposeful Posts, Recovery, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Sometimes Quickly, Sometimes Slowly

“Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly,”

IS a quote you might hear often in the rooms of AA Meetings. It is a reference to the developing life of someone who is in recovery, learning to live a new life as a clean and sober person.

But, another area I think of it in reference to, is God’s answering our prayers. Sometimes He in His Sovereignty chooses to answer our prayers in ways that sometimes seem quick and often seem very slow. And then there are of course the answers that appear to be “no.” Those hard things that seem so wrong in our eyes, that in God’s reality are so right.

These we may need to accept as God’s best will for our lives. We may not like these no’s or even the “not yet” or “wait” answers. But knowing we have a higher power who only has our best interests in mind, is very helpful to me.

  •  Yesterday was a wonderful example of God’s answering very quickly.

 It was towards the end of our day at our annual Fourth of July Family ‘Breakfast on the Beach’ gathering.

My daughter Sarah realizing she was no longer seeing her daughter Josephine playing in the sand pit, (where she’d been seen most of the morning), began asking all of us, if we knew where she was.

It quickly became clear that Jo was nowhere close and was truly missing!

Next as if from the starting gate of an Olympic Game, we all dashed off in different directions to scour the beach to search for our sweet toe-headed baby girl.

Staying put at our camp and keeping a watchful eye on my other 5 grandkiddos, the very first thought I had, was to begin a very serious conversation with God.

“Ok God, where is Jo? Dear God, where’d she go?!?!?! The water?  Dear God NO, not the water!!!”

My mind spinning, I decided that she wasn’t in the water. Being buried in the sand or playing in a sand hole had been the major focus of her day.

“So where did she go Lord?” I thought, as I continued my questions to God.

In my panicked state I stepped up the discussion.  “OK GOD, this is unacceptable that we lose her!!! You MUST let us find her. Come on God, show us where she is,” I prayed earnestly stamping my bare and hot feet.

“Please God, I pleaded, let them find her NOW!”

You see I was quite insistent on a deeper level as well because of what is going on lately in regards to my daughter and her family. 

Sarah is pregnant with her 4th child, Amelia who is struggling fighting her own battle with a benign tumor that is vying for space in her tiny body between her heart and her left lung.

Not to mention that Jo’s daddy, Derek had just returned from being treated by the lifeguards for a Sting Ray bite he’d gotten while swimming that day!

So suffice it to say, I for one (and I’m sure the rest of the family as well) was being very demanding of God at that moment.

As I kept an eagle eye on my other 5 precious kiddos I practically yelled at God verbally, that she be found NOW!!!

“Find her now,” I prayed over and over and over.

Just then word started to spread from down the beach back to my anxious ears.  I heard people I didn’t know that were passing by saying, “they found her, they found her!”

Next I saw Jeanine, my daughter-in-love’s mother, with obvious tears streaming down her cheeks coming towards me, saying the very same thing!

You can imagine my relief, as I heard her tell me that Michael, my son had found her, many umbrellas down the beach. She was there sitting contentedly playing with a little boy and his sand toys.

Being scooped up into his loving uncle’s arms, she never realized she was even lost, until her very grateful daddy gently explained how scared she’d caused us to be, and that she must never wander away like that again.

As we came back together we all seemed to say the same thing. “Time to pack up and go home!”

The time that had passed seemed like an eternity to us all. When in reality it had only been maybe 5 minutes or so.  Looking at it today, it was an answer that came very quickly. I praise God in this reflective time and will always give Him the glory for this, yes answer!”

  •  Aren’t we all at times like Josephine?

So into our own little hole in the world, whether we are at play, work, wherever or whatever? We sit in our selected spot in the sand isolated in our individuality doing our own thing, being content we think?  Then before we realize what is happening to us, we are lost!

  • Sometimes we are lost in our stubborn selfishness thinking our decisions in life are right and we choose to stay close-minded
  • Maybe we’re lost in obsession or addiction to something outside ourselves that we are allowing to have control over our better intentions.
  • Sometimes we are almost literally lost, not knowing the person staring back at us as we gaze into our morning mirrors
  • Maybe there are some of you who’ve lost your way and wandered from your family in search for your independence and desire to ‘find yourself.’
  • Or maybe you’ve wandered and have become estranged from your husband or    wife and would desperately love to reconcile!

The God I know sees you in whatever sand pit you are in and wants nothing more than to take your hand and help you out of that hole.

My God is in the business of seeking and saving the lost. No matter the trench you’ve found yourself in, He wants to take you into His loving Daddy arms, and carry you to the safety of a relationship with Him where you too can have deep and honest conversations about those holes and pits in your life.

Sometimes we are so lost that we can’t find our way back on our own. Sometimes we are so lost that we don’t even know we are lost, just like Jo was, but that’s ok

You can have that place with God where He’ll always answer your prayers. A content spot with Him where he’ll keep you safe, teaching and guiding you through the shifting sand and rising tides of life.

There’s another great quote I love that says:

 “I can’t, God can, so I think I’ll let Him.”

 As Josephine’s daddy was eagerly waiting for her to be in his arms again, our loving God and Father awaits your return!

So won’t you let Him rescue you today?  It’s a great day to be saved!

                  AND once again, thank you Jesus; it IS VERY, VERY WELL with my soul!

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Alcolhol, Change, Children, Family, God, Grandchildren, Grandkiddos, Jesus, Living LIfe, Prayer, Prescription Drugs, Purposeful Posts, Recovery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN

As I read a post from a favorite blogger of mine at http://mypurposenow.org.  I thought of myself at times of being overwhelmed with life and living. And I remember what helped me get to the place of being what I call underwhelmed.

I finally, after much struggle found that through reading and studying God’s Word, that I actually and quite liteally needed to STOP. I needed to sit down right in the midst of the mess and look at what I was overwhelmed about, and then take it to the Lord asking for His wisdom. Wisdom in knowing what should happen in my life, to hopefully keep the insidiousness of busyness and worry from taking over that peacefilled place I’ve come to know and love. His Word tells us to “be still and know that I am God.” So I STOP and I take the quality time I need to listen to His answers in regards to the craziness that might be my life at that moment in time:

  • Often He’s shown me that I’ve not said no, to the good in order to arrive at what’s best for me and mine.
  • Or I fall back into super woman mode, thinking I can and should do it all.
  • And the worst; I see that some days I have not put Him first, actually STOPPING before I start my day to give Him my day.

Many years have now passed, and I’ve learned my head nod goes both ways and that God’s God and I’m not!

And that when I can’t (which is often, in my own strength) God can and so I think I’ll let Him.

But the only way I’ve come to mostly not get overwhelmed is by STOPPING, even in the midst of the craziness. Give God the authority He deserves in my life and ask Him to take my burdens and worries. And He does, every time! In return He allows me to experience again, that peace that surpasses all understanding.

That place of being underwhelmed with life and overwhelmed by God’s grace, mercy and love for me and mine.

And all is very well with my soul once again:))))

Posted in Family, God, Living LIfe, Me--Debi, Methods for Doing Life, Prayer, Recovery | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Answer

Clayzmama recently wrote in her blog, about the fact that she’d just discovered, “That there is more than the first four lines in Reinhold Niebuhr’s famous Serenity Prayer!” 

I knew this fact already, but this particular day as I read it again, with all I was spinning  and stressing over going through my head, God really spoke to me!

The context the Prayer is in as you read through it is: The praying I was doing as I read it, as well as the message and hope He gave to me through it. I hope it will help those of you, who may also be in major stress mode as well!

THE SERENITY PRAYER

GOD GRANT ME THE SERENITY—Lord give me the peace and calm I need at this time in my life in regards to all that I’m disturbed over and concerned about.

TO ACCEPT THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE — I know I can’t change others; nor can I change their situations or circumstances. But I can hopefully change mine!

COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS I CAN — I need your courage and help Lord to change me, and maybe my circumstances as well.

THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE — In regards to my current circumstances and figuring out what I can and can’t do in their regard:  I could hand these burdens over to you God.  Using wisdom will help me choose a better place to be in my head and heart emotionally. I might write these situations down on a piece of paper, then give them to Him by way of: My ‘God Bottle.’  (More about that in another post.) Those would all be a wise actions to take.

LIVING ONE DAY AT A TIME — I’ll just do Monday things today (which is by the way Monday.) I can choose not to stress out over the future at all. I can try to do only God directed, peaceful, productive and positive living today.

ENJOYING ONE MOMENT AT A TIME –For instance, this actual moment that I’m in as I write this.

While I explore the Serenity Prayer, hopefully I can do so without any mental, emotional or possible literal interruptions! Only being focused on God and what He has for me in this moment. I need to enjoy this time like I would an ice cream cone, one sweet bite at a time. Slowly enjoying this time with Him, so I won’t get a ‘brain freeze’ that would distract and delay my enjoyment of this special moment I’m in.

ACCEPTING HARDSHIPS AS THE PATHWAY TO PEACE — My hardships (insert your own here) are that: One, my iPhone is missing. Two, I received a rejection letter for the manuscript I’ve worked on for over six months!!! And number three, I had my latest episode of  ‘passenger anxiety’ during a recent road trip.

In these I find disappointment, frustration ad desperation. It’s in this space in time that I have choices. I can choose to allow bitterness, sadness and depression to set in or I can take my troubles to Him, the God Most High! I can give all these ugly negative emotions to Him. I can explore through much prayer, as well as reading His Word the Bible, and other wise and uplifting writings. Hopefully I will find peace in the midst of these latest storms of life.

TAKING AS HE DID THIS SINFUL WORLD AS IT IS, NOT AS I WOULD HAVE IT– Wow!!! This is huge. The sinfulness that I can relate to in my current circumstances are that: Someone took my phone and didn’t try to return it.  Someone wronged me (in my opinion of course) by rejecting my Manuscript saying it wasn’t appropriate for their needs.  Also, the anxiety issue I have about being the passenger in a car while someone else is driving.  Maybe these last two aren’t truly in the sinful group, but they are in my life wrongs/negatives and not good/positive situations.

The key in this sentence of Niebuhr’s amazing and classic prayer is (again, in my opinion) ACCEPTANCE. Part of dealing wisely and appropriately is accepting the situations and circumstances of life as they are! No more grumbling and complaining about how hurt or wronged I feel towards and about them all. I simply need to let them be what they are; right here and now! Internalizing and accepting these issues as they are and saying something like, “My phone is gone.” “My manuscript has been rejected.” And, “I do get squirmy and overly nervous during car rides.” Nothing more or nothing less! No arguing or fighting against the facts. This then leads right into the next sentence:

TRUSTING THAT HE WILL MAKE ALL THINGS RIGHT!!! — I have to reach the point in my understanding of what works in living life once again, that God is God and I AM NOT. That God knows my troubles and He also knows my needs. So in these situations, as in all of my life, I need to lay my troubles at His feet, surrendering them to His Will, for Him to then make right!

Nor do I hang on to my will in dealing with these issues myself. I give up my control to God to do what HE sees as the best, for each of these different issues. I stop trying to figure it all out. I step on to that ‘Pathway to Peace’ when I surrender my will to His! When I allow God’s Will to be done in and through me. Then in regards to these and all other dramas and traumas that are my life, I can have confidence that God will make these and all things right!

So, THAT I MAY BE REASONABLY HAPPY IN THIS LIFE — I know that life is not going to go smoothly all the time. Maybe the reality and truth is that it won’t a lot of the time! Maybe without those hard, sad, frustrating, disappointing, annoying, times in life we probably wouldn’t go to God as much as He’d like us to. Because God knows what will draw us close to Him, He allows us to hurt. I also think (my opinion) He allows those times to bring us back to him, especially if we’ve strayed from our relationship with Him. He allows these hard things to draw us closer to Himself, when life or others have taken His place as the first and foremost focus or relationship in our lives.

God is longing for us to be in a personal relationship with Him.  So in these hard circumstances of life we can come to Him, even if we have never called Him Lord! It’s simple. Knowing that we all sin; which simply means missing the mark He’s set for us. You can ask Him to forgive you your sins.  Just ask Him in this moment to come into your heart and fill you with His Holy Spirit.  Tell Him you want to have a personal relationship with His Son Jesus Christ so that you will then know Him personally. Ask Him to guide and direct your next steps to having that peace I talked about.  He will do it, no questions asked, no “being ready or righteous enough,”  because that, IS His Will!!!

I know that it’s the times when I am most close to my Heavenly Father that I am supremely happy. It’s these deeply abiding times with my Lord Jesus Christ, the God of the Universe, when I know all IS well! These times I spend with God are when I know that no matter what goes wrong (and things will) that He’s there to comfort and guide me to that peace that passes all understanding. It’s during these times that I am beyond reasonably happy. That I know being in God’s presence is what will get me through the bumpy times in my life. It’s in this moment that I know I can and will be supremely happy with Him FOREVER IN THE NEXT LIFE!!!

And once again, IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL.

Posted in Bible, Change, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Living LIfe, Me--Debi, Methods for Doing Life, Prayer, Purposeful Posts, Reading, Recovery, Travel, Who Debi is | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ripe or Rotten?

What Does (or would) the fruit of a “heart of wisdom” look like in your life?”

The text (not from a phone:)) focused on “Numbering our days.”  Making our days count for something other than us merely taking up space on this planet.

In Zig Ziglers, Daily Insights devotional, he poses a question or two.  The above question was the one for that days reading.

So I started pondering about fruit and what that referred to in his question.

The first thing I think about fruit, is that it should be beautiful, ripe and tasty.

Or my thoughts go to, the often thrown out fruit, that has gone bad in my fridge. I also remember the peaches, from a tree I once had. These peaches were so abundant, but they would drop to the ground and rot because we couldn’t keep up with the harvesting. Finally this fruit tree was no more! Taken out by it’s root system so it wouldn’t ever be a peach tree again.

Because my platform (meaning the principles I do my life from) in life is all things “Words,” my mind automatically went to the fruit of my “heart of wisdom” in relationship to my words.  The words I think, speak and write are what my heart produces.  And it is my desire that the words I think, speak and write are wise!  I want this for myself as well as truly desiring it for you as well.

Because I like my crazy peach tree, want to produce good and consumable fruit in my life.  I want to be a person that God can say “Well done my good and faithful servant”. Rather than Him needing to remove me by my roots somehow, for not living in and doing His will.

When I think about my words being wise, it seems daunting.  And it especially is, when my words are my weakness, as well as my strength.  I know none of you have ever had your foot in your mouth or been completely exhausted by a hard conversation, but I certainly have.

But then, there are the times when I get the gift of affirmation and encouragement from someone, and I am high as a kite for days!!! (Not to be confused with my pre-sanity days of addiction) If you’ve ever read author Gary Chapman’s book on the Five Love Languages, you too have discovered how you can be best-loved by others.  If you haven’t, I highly encourage you to add it to your reading list.  From his list of five,  My top love language is “Words of Affirmation.” Surprise, surprise!

So in answering Zig’s question.  My fruit from “the heart of wisdom” came to me as a list of “P’s” taken from a Bible verse in the book of  2 Timothy, verses 23-25, that says:  To reject foolish and ignorant conversations. Also not to engage in heated disputes, but be kind toward everyone. And that an apt teacher be patient and gentle in her application and sharing of the truth.

So the fruit that I hope and pray to always produce would be:

  • PEACEABLE — I would be kind to everyone with the intention of, not quarreling or having foolish arguments. And to be a calming influence.
  • PURPOSEFUL — I want everyone to know God personally. To know that you can live the life and be the person that God designed you to be before you were born.
  • PRACTICAL –  I want to be instructive, with the simplicity of application in the ways of God and the living out His Words and Ways.
  • PRAISEFILLED — I want my words to be encouraging and affirming to you my reader, while at the same time to always be giving God the glory in all things.

I like to think that “wise words will endure.” That my words will have a positive and life giving lasting effect on those that I would speak to. Whether through my blog or in my everyday conversations with others.

My prayer for you today, is that your words as well would be praise worthy.  And that you could say and feel in your heart that all is well with your soul too!

“And all IS well with my soul today:)”

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Small Things with Great Love–Part 3

Step Ten:

  Continued to Take Personal Inventory and , When I WAS Wrong, Promptly Admitted it!!

After my bitter-sweet, up and down time with my nephews passing and my honeys anniversary gift,  you’d think my next few days would have been easy or at least quiet.

But no God had other plans for me…..

Usually when you hear the quote from Mother Theresa about doing small things with great love, we think of the poor, the destitute and maybe even the disenfranchised. But I would like to have you consider that if we do things with great love for anyone and everyone; maybe, just maybe we wouldn’t have so many who are poor, destitute and disenfranchised!

The point at which I really noticed this quote in reference to anyone other than these people groups, was only last week.  And I’d like to challenge you to think of those closest to you.

Maybe like me it’s your husband that comes to mind.  Maybe it’s your child or a close friend.

My husband Skip only recently has discovered a new thing in his life, that he’d been having a tough time understanding and maneuvering; but it is something that I have had experience with. So wanting to be the helpful wife that I am; the not so perfectly worded (I try) side of me came out.

Suffice it to say, it was not one of my better moments. I was definitely more brusque in my delivery than sensitive and more dictatorial than sincere as I stood over him, hands on my hips, alternating with wagging pointer finger, with just the slightest of raised voices (not!)

Let’s just say that it was “one of those nights.”  Now I know none of you has ever had a time when you’ve lost control of yourselves; but I did.

Sure, we could chalk it up to an over load of stress.  Or grief over losing my nephew.  Or I  could have used some lame excuse like, “I’m just soooo tiieerd!” Or if I wasn’t 7 years in to Menopause I could have blamed it on it being “the time of the month.”

But truth be told it was none of these.  I was just being selfish and cocky in my knowledge of what to do about “it”.  I didn’t take into consideration the reality, of what He really was going through and how hard it had been on him.  I didn’t think before I started talking about what I wanted to say to him.

The biggest thing I did not do, was I did not pray before.

I didn’t talk to the Lord about Skip’s situation.  How my situations relate, what is the best way or time to talk with him about it or how I could help him get through this new territory he has to deal with.

I’ve been working a regular Twelve Step program for over 3 years now and I know a better way to do things.  I just didn’t do what I knew to do right.  My methods were the old Debi’s ways which never worked anyway and which I thank God everyday are mostly no more!

But the right thing I did do, was to grab a hold of my self-centered self and actively step back into sanity and do Step 5.  I admitted to God, to myself  and after all the unnecessary words and tears were over, I told Skip the exact nature of why I was wrong. Then I ask him to forgive me for being an insensitive jerk.

I told him he was right.  (Yes, you can say it too.)

I told him I really did want to be the helper that God had created me to be for him.  And that I would more readily consider what his needs were and be much more thoughtful, kind and graceful while we tackle this new thing in our lives together. I told him how very much I loved him and that we’d get through this, just like everything else, with God’s leading and one step at a time.

What does this have to do with the poor and destitute?  Everything. 

Sometimes we ourselves or someone else are the needy ones!  In our spirits we are often lacking the vital necessity of being loved the way we need to be loved. 

I wasn’t attentive to Skip’s need to be heard before being his helper.  Like was mentioned in the quote from Small Things with Great Love — Part 2, I wasn’t being “understanding” of his needs before mine.

So in that way I wasn’t loving him the way he needed me to, small or otherwise!

Now when I do consider and look to understand his needs before my own, I will be doing small things, one at a time with great love.

And that will hopefully translate into many more small things that will grow into bigger and better things with greater and greater and greater love!!

And Love did cover a multitude of sins.  And love, God’s love can conquer all!

                                                                 And for today, it is once again well with my soul:-)

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Small Things With Great Love–Part 2

In an article in the Wall Street Journal dated February 12th, 2013,  Elizabeth Bernstein talks about “compassionate love” as—recognizing a partner’s needs and concerns and putting them ahead of your own.

This is the kind of love Kim had for her husband Alan.

And, “It’s not just making people feel good,” says Harry T. Reis, a University of Rochester professor of psychology. “It’s a way of communicating to the other person that you understand what they are all about, and that you appreciate and care for them.”

As I will illustrate in my next story:

The evening before I received the call from Kim of Alan’s death, had been a marvelous night. And when I think about my love of words I can’t help remember that evening of April 1st, 2013.  This was the night my wonderful husband Skip and I celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary.

Yes, we got married on April Fools Day. (for another blog post:-))

That morning coming out of our bedroom to get my first cup of coffee I was very pleasantly surprised by the gorgeous site of one dozen red roses and a card from my honey who’d left much earlier that day.  After a weepy read of said card, I noticed at the very bottom the words: be ready at 4pm, dress “nice”.   My tears turned to smiles as I wondered what the plan for the evening would be.

Ready to go, in my “nice” dress, I paced around excitedly waiting for Skip to arrive.  As he came through the door his arms were full as is usually the case, but today I noticed something in the color of red peeking out.  Sitting a cute red gift bag on the counter he told me he’d quickly change and we would leave.

It was very hard for me not to touch the very cute bag. You see it had all these small white pieces of paper that were attached by red curly ribbons hanging out of it! As I looked closer I noticed that on each piece of paper was written the numbers 1 through 5.  Now I was really curious.

Handsome as ever Skip joined me. He then handed me my gift and we left, with me holding the bag quite literally.  He told me that we’d be driving a while and when we got to our destination, then I could open the gift!

Driving along I read a magazine (As is my custom, why is for another blog post) looking up now and again until I finally recognized where we were going.  Our 1st stop was in the parking lot across from the high school where we met.

Skip had written out specific details that he remembered about our meeting and our years at Mater Dei.  Then in question form written there asked for my memories as well.  I was so impressed with his idea.  And I cried of course while reciting mine.

The evening progressed on a journey through our dating years to significant places only to us, including the church where we were married.  There we sat in the car reading and sharing our memories. Then at Skip’s suggestion we went inside, sat in a pew and prayed together for our marriage. More tears for me. As well as stares at the only white couple in the church, from all the cute old Vietnamese parishioners that were there praying too.

The mystery tour ended with the 5th stop being at the restaurant where we had our first dinner out, as husband and wife.  During our meal at the Orange Hill Restaurant we discussed a variety of topics from a list of questions Skip had printed up on that last piece of paper.

I have had some amazing dates with my husband, but this one was incredibly special because of the significant effort Skip made, by the writing up of his memories to all 5 of the destinations we visited!  And if that wasn’t enough, to make and gather up all those conversation starters went beyond outstanding!!

The present wasn’t expensive but it was extravagant in the fact that Skip “knows” me and “understands” me.  He took my love for words and made them come alive with his memories. The effort he made and his love for me was his gift to me.

And to me, it might have been small by the worlds standards but to me it was great!

to be continued……

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Small Things With Great Love–Part 1

Words are having a hard time coming to me lately. Usually I am full of them and have been known to rattle on repeating myself.  But the events of the last few weeks have left me a bit on the empty side.  The dramas and traumas just since April 1st have left me being speech- less all the way to having so many words that I can’t manage to get them to make any sense when I try to write .

And after yesterday’s news of the Bombings in Boston, I am even more lacking for anything of importance to say for sure!

But one early morning after speaking to my niece-in-law Kim on the phone, they started coming back to me.

Propped up in my bed,  I picked up one of the devotional books I had lying next to me. Reading that particular days text, a verse from the Bible stated: Jesus said to him, “Assuredly I say to you, today you will be with ME in Paradise.”

After reading Jesus words, lots of my own words were now flowing through my mind as I began to cry and smile at the same time.

Crying from sadness in not being able to hang out with him anymore yes, but also because I now knew that my nephew who had just passed away that morning, was out of his misery.  He had suffered a long time and had been ready to go home to be with his Lord for some time.

And the smile on my face was due to the Bible verse I had just read.  God had given me that verse to comfort me.  He had done a small thing with great love in giving me those words just at the perfect moment. I now had the promise that Alan was with Jesus. I even envisioned them together shaking hands, as He welcomed Alan into His Kingdom.

Next I began to think of Alan’s wife Kim, and at the same time Mother Theresa’ words, “Do Small Things with Great Love” came to mind.

Kim married my nephew after having been distant from each other for their whole adult life. They had been childhood sweethearts and were re-united after my sister, Diane went home to heaven to be with Jesus a little over 3 years ago.  Meeting up again at her grave-side service.

Kim and Alan quickly fell into head-over-heels love with each other again!

This is remarkable to me because Kim knew when she and Alan got back together, that he was sick.  She knew how serious his illness was, but wanted to be together no matter how little or long time they had.

There also was the issue of him living in Kentucky and she here in California.  But that didn’t stop them and this coming August they will have been married for two years!

In this age of self-centered, me, me, me-ness, I have seen Kim be oh-so self-less in her love for Alan. So in these final months of his life, she has been literally his everything and then some.

If you’ve ever taken care of an extremely sick and possibly dying person you can envision what this exact kind of attention looks like.  It is no small thing, but at times the smallest dab of a tissue to a loved ones mouth is a great act to them.

to be continued……

 

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