Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"Live and Let Live"

Patty, this comes straight from your entry today. Your comments on aggresssiveness and defensiveness took me right to the book I just got yesterday, and started reading while waiting for a friend at a restaurant. (Yes, that ties in, her daughter had a baby when she was just a teen, with a guy she thought would be her life mate - he wasn't!) Corrosive relationships, power trips, all of it had me thinking back to when we were praying for the situation. There have been others in the past that we have prayed for God to watch over and work through. The name of the book I just got from Radio Bible Class? "Before the Ring" William L. Coleman. My friend leaned over, and said "What are you reading that for? Are there weddings in the future?" Quite possibly on my part, but she went on to say that her daughter is engaged to another young man but the marriage is over two years in the future. She said.... It is too late for "Before the Ring." Perusing it, I think not. The information and stories could be for a lot of us, before we take the leap. How much easier life would be if we worked out kinks in the rope before we rope ourselves into situations. Some of the stories are applicable to not just marriage, but to work situations, friendships, etc. How many of us have aggressive or defensive work mates or partners? One comment that stood out like a light: Marriages (work partnerships, etc) that begin with fireworks may end up as scattered ashes. I told someone recently... Marry in haste, repent at leisure, and he said: WHAT does that mean?
For you on the blog, if you were asked that, what would you say?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Patty, you are right...

God is good, and we used to sing a little chorus, and it is going through my head right now. "God is good, God is good, God is good, all the time!"
I am so glad that God watches over us, and directs our pathways. If I was in control, I would have such a 'spaghetti bowl' mess part of the time. I am reminded of that as I think over today. When I got off work, a little 9 year old girl came to my house to help me clean, and stay focused, and she is very good at keeping the focus going! I have been so busy that I piled face painting stuff, fabric and books in my sewing room, and it was a mess. I just didn't take the extra time to put things away. She helped me and I am nearly to the point of being ready to sew again, and I am so glad that she can come alongside me, and help me keep my focus.
I think back to the times when God directed someone to do that for me when I was overwhelmed and I am so glad He was good to me... and didn't let me slip and fall, with the help I had I was able to overcome. I am very grateful for that help, guidance and direction.

Accepting God's Good

It has occurred to me that we have a wonderful God that gives such good things in life. When we come against a challenge in life, many times the last place we turn is to God Almighty; yet the bible tells us to "seek ye first the kingdom of God". If we, on a daily basis, would look to God as our source, "all these things would be added unto us" (Matthew 6:33). I'm so grateful for the good God has shown me lately. He has showered me with blessings.

One of the blessings was a wonderful trip with my cousin in May to Iowa and Illinois. What a lovely time to travel! All the trees were decked out in their greenery, and the blossoms were so colorful. It was a lovely girl trip. Our mothers are sisters, and it was a pleasure to relive our childhoods with each other. I've had many other blessings of late: a couple more girls' trips with my daughters and granddaughters, the lovely wedding of Frank's daughter, and currently I'm keeping my precious granddaughters.

This week I want to concentrate on all the good in our lives. If we would accept God's good instead of putting up a resistance, I'll sure we would see it everywhere. God's good just keeps becoming more and more obvious in my life.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Going with the Flow

When I let go and let God, I am blessed beyond measure, but I need to remind myself frequently to do that. Sometimes I start resisting b/c in my perception, things are not going the way I want. That is when I need to realize that perception is how I see things, but I have a narrow lens, not the huge view finder that God has. For instance, in 2002 and 2003, the Lawrence Public School district of Lawrence, KS, laid off 131 educators. I was one of them. I had taught twenty years, but I was new to this district. As a non-tenured teacher in my first year here, I didn’t survive the budget cuts. I was devastated. I railed against the injustice of it all. Now six years later, I see that it was a blessing in disguise. It actually led to the desire of my heart. I now am a substitute teacher, or a guest teacher (my preference of title since I know that I am a real teacher, not a substitute). I have flexibility in my day. I didn’t understand it at the time, but now I have clarity. “In the same way, we can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at His reflection in a poor mirror, but someday, we are going to see Him in His completeness, face to face. Now all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now.” I Corinthians 13:12. Now I am able to go to work everyday, enjoy the kids, and come home with no papers to grade or parents to contact. What a blessing! I used to prepare for classes for hours. Now I can truly enjoy the whole experience and have plenty of time left over for my family and travel. The absolute wonder of the situation is this. For the twenty years I needed a contract position, I had one. When I was a single mother, struggling to raise my daughters without child support, I always had a contract job. Now that I am happily remarried and on my husband’s health plan, I no longer need a contract job and all the stress that goes with it. I am truly following my bliss. In the fall of 2004, Mom sold the family ranch in the Sandhills of Nebraska and divided the money up among her children. I used that funding to pay off our lovely home so now we have no house payments. Isn’t it surprising? My job layoff, something that appeared so devastating, was actually a most wonderful catalyst for a very positive change in my life. Had I known all that was forthcoming, my perception of my layoff would have changed from something very traumatic to something very joyous in an instant! Instead of crying about it, I would have been celebrating, but then I looked “through the glass darkly” instead of with the clarity I now have. The Dalai Lama said, "Remember, not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck."

Monday, June 2, 2008

Enjoying the Journey

I am sitting at the computer thinking about my life. For some reason, I feel compelled to write. I’m happy, and I want the world to realize that happiness is a choice. Why should we be downtrodden? This is why I want to share some things that are in my heart. I want to share my spiritual journey. It is an eternal journey, and the fun is along the way. The fun is life itself. Let me begin with what I remember of my journey.

My physical journey, of course, began at birth. My spiritual journey began forever ago, but my earliest memory of it was sometime during my sixth grade year in school. My grade school teacher was a Christian, and she led me to the Lord. What a joyful experience!

I married at 18 but still managed to attend college and receive a Bachelor of Science degree. I waited until after college graduation to begin having children. During these early years of marriage I went to college full-time and held down three part-time jobs but yet still managed to attend church Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. I also read my bible daily and even got through it in one year. I memorized gobs of scripture. Yet, all of that still left me seeking spiritual fulfillment. I felt like something was missing.

Then in 1974, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl, Teresa Marie. For the first time, I felt spiritually and emotionally fulfilled. In 1976, I gave birth to another baby girl, Tori Sue. Now I had a family! I know now that I was in a good spot because I had fulfilled a lifelong dream to become a mother. I had always played with dolls and fantasized about having my very own baby. Now I had two. How blessed I felt! This blessed feeling carried me through several years. In 1983, though, my marriage of twelve years fell apart. I had some depression, but my lovely daughters and my teaching career kept me from total despair.

I raised my daughters and taught English at the high school in a small town. During that time, when my daughters reached the teenage years, the usual rebellion that goes with those years had me in a dither. Hillary Clinton says that it takes a village to raise a child, and I do believe that. As a single parent, I felt like I needed help. Fortunately, I had my sister Pam and her husband Ben to round out my village. They helped me by giving both physical and moral support.

In 1995 my beautiful daughter gave birth to a baby girl herself. Teresa had a pulmonary embolism three months later. Three blood clots were found in her lungs. I lived in Nebraska at the time, but I flew down to Arkansas, where Teresa lived, to be by her side. My airplane ride seemed long as I contemplated my daughter’s condition. Not only was I extremely worried about Teresa, but also her baby, three month old Jessica Marie. After Teresa’s recovery, I made a decision to leave my home in Nebraska and move to Arkansas to be close to Teresa and Jessica.

It was in Arkansas that my spiritual journey took a different path. Teresa had always been interested in the environment and the Native American culture so I began to look for a more tolerant religious path, one that enveloped respect for the earth and all other people and creatures. In my quest for this path, I became a happier person. I let go of a lot of blame and guilt and began to look for tolerance….not only of others but for myself as well. This spiritual transformation helped lead me into the next phase of my life. I was ready for a loving relationship.

While in Arkansas, I met Frank, a wonderful man whom I married in 1997, and our union has been so uplifting. I truly believe I met my soul mate. He is my best friend. Life is good. He’s romantic and thoughtful. He’s opened so many doors for me. He taught me computer skills, reintroduced me to the thrill of bicycling, and organized travel opportunities for us beyond my wildest dreams.

A couple of years after my marriage to Frank, my youngest daughter Tori married and had a baby daughter Sierra Jade. Then on July 18, 2004, Tori had a terrible motorcycle accident that almost took her life. Sierra was five years old at the time and preparing for kindergarten in the fall. This changed life for my little family dramatically. My sense of serenity was gone. I was consumed with worry. I felt like I couldn’t cope.

Even though Tori was hurt severely, her spirits were high. She became my spiritual guide. I read books she suggested because her example inspired me. I wanted to be as happy and peaceful as she was and is. That is when I began learning about peace and how the indwelling of the Spirit produces positive emotions such as joy, love, and peace. I began to look forward with positive expectation.

I witnessed a real miracle. Tori had a busted pelvis and was told that she could not have any more children, but in 2006, less than two years after her accident, she had an amazing baby girl, Kaya Nixi. Kaya is a Hopi Indian word meaning “wise child” and Nixi means “water sprite”. Kaya is a miracle baby. I decided to stay with Tori, Caleb, and Sierra for a while and help take care of Kaya. The first day of my stay I was jumping on the trampoline with Sierra. I fell off the trampoline and broke my arm. The weird thing is that my thoughts were so full of joy about Kaya that my broken arm didn’t matter much to me. Somehow along the way, I became discerning enough to recognize what is important in life. All other things became trivial.