2017

Oh, what a year!  It started well.  I started a new job on January 23 after a tumultuous  2016 with jobs.  In September of 2015 I left a job of 10 years, because of lets just say not great working conditions, only to jump from the fire into the frying pan with a job of even worse conditions.  I prayed each day for the strength to work there and be a light in that office.  The Lord graciously gave me that strength and the words to speak after 5 months when it became evident I needed to leave there.  He then opened the door to a wonderful position with an elected official that made me happy to go to work  every day.  Unfortunately at the end of 2016 that job ended because my boss lost the election.  But because of connections made through that position I was offered the position I have now which is a perfect fit and I do enjoy going to work every day.

February began a downward spiral…My brother passed into the presence of the Lord from cancer.  That hit me hard.  He had tolerated his treatments well and it really looked as though he would beat this cancer but in the end this aggressive cancer was no match.  God needed him more than we did here.

April began a physical challenge for me.  I had some nagging pain in my lower back but found I could still run. I was training for a half marathon and was a little concerned I wouldn’t be able to accomplish that.  But in May on the day of the race I went feeling positive figuring worst case scenario I would end of walking.  But I had the best half I have ever run with a PR. (personal record for you non-runners).  In early June I ran a 5K again with a PR for that race and first in my age group.  Then 2 weeks later I was unable to run.  My lower back hurt and I had nerve pain running down my left leg.  I had no choice but to stop running.  I found a great back doctor but had to wait a month to see him.  It was very difficult.  Running is a stress release for me.  I gave it all to God but still struggled.

June arrived with the news that my mother-in-law passed away.  Once again we were at a memorial service.  Yes it was wonderful connecting with family near and far and sharing wonderful memories of her life, but so sad.

July arrived and I got to see the back doctor.  A series of steroid injections along with ice packs helped me feel much better.  But then our 13 year old black Labrador Retriever died.  He was my comfort when my brother passed and such a loyal companion to my husband and I.  Our hearts ached with missing him and I couldn’t run.

August I continued with treatments for my back and found I could do some power walking for exercise.  I was feeling better but still missed running

September my mother passed into the presence of the Lord.  That hit me hard.  No parents left.  At her memorial service as we gathered with family and took pictures it was very noticeable that some were missing.  The reality was hard to accept.  It was then that I finally really gave it up to God and gave myself permission to fully grieve.  I took time off from work to care for myself.

Then once again in October another death.  My cousin passed away from ALS.  A horrible disease that has robbed us of 4 other relatives previously.  Her testimony of faith during her illness was inspiring.  I know without a doubt that she is with the Lord but once again we are missing a family member here on earth.  I said to my husband, “When is this going to stop?”  4 family members  plus our dog was too much.  He actually answered that question, ” We are next”.    I didn’t need to hear that.  It was supposed to be a rhetorical question I told him.

So…we have made it to the end of 2017.  Here I sit on December 31 reflecting on this year.  This is my take away…God is good.  This is life, the hard to take part of life, but life it is.  The good and the bad.  I am blessed to be His child and now I have more boldness to share that.  He has blessed me with a loving family, a loving church family, abundant provision.  I trust Him wholly.

Security from Yesterday…At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future, and yet anxiety is apt to arise from remembering the yesterdays.  Our present enjoyment of God’s grace is apt to be checked by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders.  But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them in order to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual culture for the future.  God reminds us of the past lest we get into a shallow security in the present.”
Security for Tomorrow…”This is a gracious revelation, that God will garrison where we have failed to.  He will watch lest things trip us up again into like failure, as they assuredly would do if He were not our rear guard.  God’s hand reached back to the past and makes a clearing-house for conscience.”
Security for Today…”As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, unremembering delight, nor with the flight of impulsive thoughtlessness, but with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us.  Our yesterdays present irreparable things to us; it is true that we have lost opportunities which will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future.  Let the past sleep, but let is sleep on the bosom of Christ.  Leave the Irreparable Past in His hands, and step out into the Irresistible Future with Him.”

(Oswald Chambers referencing Isaiah 52:12)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

 

 

 

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What is Your Nineveh?

The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city, and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.”  But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.  So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. (Jonah 1:1-3)

Last month I saw Jonah at the Sight and Sound Theater.  At the end of the show the audience was asked, “What is your Nineveh?”  That question has been rattling around in my brain since.  So what am I fleeing from?  What am I not trusting God with?   There are probably multiple things if I would allow myself to think about it in depth.  That is what Jonah probably did.  He didn’t think…he reacted. He couldn’t possibly go to Nineveh.  A wicked people that certainly didn’t deserve God’s grace.    His choice caused him much grief, being thrown overboard and swallowed by a big fish.  Spending 3 days in the belly of the fish woke him up to the fact that God was perhaps rescuing him.  He then cried out to God, repented and followed through with the mission to Nineveh.

Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”  Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. (Jonah 3:4-5)

When God saw the Ninevites had turned from their wicked way He didn’t destroy them.  This displeased Jonah.  Even though he had experienced God’s grace he didn’t extend that grace to Nineveh.  He allowed his fear and anger of who they were to keep him from the extending that grace.

How many times have I missed out on God’s grace because I ran the other way?  Too many times I have allowed fear to rule my thinking or perhaps I should just call it what it is…prejudice.  How many times have I not acted because I felt the person needing God’s grace didn’t deserve it.  After all they are living with the consequences of their bad choices.

God, in His great mercy, has put me in a job where I deal with people in need every day.  By nature I am a very compassionate person and have always extended that  to those that deserved it. Ah! my point!  Do any of us deserve it?  God gives it freely.  He is using my compassionate nature on a daily basis to interact with those I traditionally would say deserve AND to those that I traditionally would say don’t.  He is changing my heart.  I have begun praying for the latter after I get off the phone with them.

What is your Nineveh?

Oh Lord help me to stay focused on you and your word that I might not miss those Nineveh opportunities and be able to extend the grace you give to me to others.  Amen.

“Thank you Lin…I love you”

18 months ago I posted that my brother had been diagnosed with small cell lung cancer.  He had a good quality of life throughout his treatments but he lost the battle on February 28, 2017.  Actually in his words he won.  He said right from the beginning that he was in a win-win situation.  He would either be healed here on earth or be healed in heaven with Jesus.  That statement sounded really good when he said it but when the finality of it happened it didn’t feel good.  I know it was good.  He is in heaven with Jesus, pain free…cancer free.  But there is a hole in our family now.  There were four of us siblings, now there are 3.  The pain in my heart was intense.  So hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I will not see him, hear him, email him, text him ever again here on earth.

Finding a new normal is what we as a family have been struggling with these last couple of months.  It is getting easier day by day.  He planned his own “Celebration of Life”.   I was in awe of the amount of people there whose lives he touched.  As testimonies were given about his life there was a common thread about how he gave himself in so many ways.  He was always there for the underdog.  He was a bright spot in the cancer center to the staff and other patients.  He made everyone laugh.  His way of dealing with insecurity  was to crack a joke.  He had asked me to speak about knowing him.  God gave me the strength to do that.  That was one step of healing from his loss, writing this post is another step.  My next step is to change his phone number in my phone to his wife’s name as she is using his phone now.  I will see her name appear on the caller id instead of his.  I need to focus on moving on and cherishing the memories.

He went down hill real fast.  I live in another state and couldn’t get to see him before he passed but I did get to talk to him on the phone.  He talked very raspy at this point so I asked if I could sing to him.  He said yes so I sang Amazing Grace and It is Well with my Soul.  I then prayed and told him I loved him.  He rasped out his final words to me, “Thank you Lin, I love you”.  I will cherish those words in my heart until we meet again.

“Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)”
Chris Tomlin

Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

[2x]
My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.
Will be forever mine.
You are forever mine.

Life…(more on the current chapter)

When I was a child even a young adult life was about me, my friends, my family and so many years ahead to spend time together.  Now that I am older and have experienced life I now know how short and fragile life is.  We all have a timeline that God has given us.  He knows it we do not.  He has numbered not only the hairs on our head but the days we have to live on this earth.  When I look at life that way, His way,  it makes me think.  What can I do to make a difference in the lives of my loved ones and those that are lost.  The longer we live we experience the part of life no one likes to talk about, death.  When you are  young that usually isn’t part of your vocabulary other than a precious pet that dies.  I have experienced family members and friends dying in what I consider too young.  But they have reached the part of their timeline that ends their earthly existence.  It is hard to comprehend but God tells us  to trust Him.

My mother and my mother-in-law, both the same age, are reaching the end of their time.  Both are ill and unable to care for themselves.  I have a younger brother with lung cancer and a younger cousin with ALS.  A friend who doesn’t know the Lord asked me today how I deal with all of this.  My unemployment and ill family members.  My answer:  It is all part of God’s plan and all in His hands.  This is life.  Yes, it is sad.

The flip side of all this is the wonderful life events that are happening.  My oldest son just got engaged to a lovely gal I am so excited to have as a daughter-in-law.  A couple of young ladies from my church are expecting first babies.  All my sons are working in the careers they went to school for.  I have two young granddaughters living life like I did at that age.  Innocent and full of fun and learning.  This is life.  It is happy.

Happy, sad and a lot of other emotions thrown in is part of life.  We spend time with people, pour our lives into theirs, laugh with them, cry with them, get angry at them, get jealous of them, forgive them, ask them to forgive us, reminisce with them.  In other words ‘do life with them’.  Then their life is cut short and a piece of us is missing.  It hurts, we cry, we get angry with God but at the end of ‘the day’ we know that this is life and we need to find a new normal without that person.

Some of you may have experienced very difficult times in your life and are struggling.  I have been there and totally understand.  So please don’t take what I am saying as a platitude.  I am just sharing where I am right now. I have lived long enough to experience a lot of life pleasant and unpleasant and because of my relationship with Jesus Christ I have learned to leave these things at His feet and move on asking Him to guide me.  It isn’t easy but it is necessary to keep me moving and able to be a light for others.  I want to be able to hear when my time comes, Well done good and faithful servant.

 

 

 

 

Day 20 Everyday Inspiration Wrap up

I really enjoyed Everyday Inspiration.  I had been in a dry spell with my writing and it got me going again.  There were so many options available each day and I started off with a post a day.  My creative juices were flowing again and it was fun.    I love the interaction with the other bloggers and love reading what others wrote on the same subject as I did.

But what I didn’t like was that I had some busy days and went away for the weekend of July 4th and missed 8 of the topics.  I purposely skipped 2 of them because I just couldn’t get inspired by either.  Maybe if I had more time I could have come up with something but with one coming each day I had more to do so never went back to them.

My favorite part of Everyday Inspiration was collaborating with Michelleintel on day 19.  I am so glad that she reached out to me.  It was fun and I would highly recommend this to others.

I look forward to other opportunities like this.  For Everyday Inspiration or Blogging U courses.    With each one I learn more about myself as a writer and learn more about blogging in general.  I always need help making my blog look good so look forward to more helps with that.  Thank you WordPress!

Finding Time to Write…a collaboration

I was contacted by Michelleintel about collaborating on a post.  We both struggle with finding time to write and decided to respond to a prompt from the Daily Post.  The prompt was to answer the following question: If you could step into a machine that gave you more time, how would you structure your day?

time machine

What I pictured from this prompt was having this special time machine in my home that I could step into when I need more time.  It would be the same world but extra hours would be added to the day.  Our thoughts were very similar but our answers were delivered differently.

Enjoy the response from Michelleintel;

I would sleep until I awakened, naturally.  (8 hours)

Arise, and hang out in my bed clothes while sipping coffee and catching up on the day’s news, or reading. (1 hour)

Spiritual time or church (1 hour)

Walk the dog. (30 minutes)

Go to the gym. (1 hour)

Sit on the patio to cool off with a refreshing drink, have breakfast, while petting the cat

(1 hour ) 

Shower and into comfy lounging clothes.  (30 minutes)

Write (2 hours)

Household task of the day: wash clothes, pick up, sweep, clean after pets, etc.  (1 hour)

Watch a movie while having lunch.  (2 hours)  

Household Tasks.  (30 minutes)

Get ready for work. (30 minutes)

Work  (4 hours)

2nd lunch (1 hour)

Work (4 hours)

Charitable work/volunteer  2 hours

Dinner 1 hour

Pick up, clean dishes (30 minutes)

Walk the dog (30 minutes)

Rehearse music (2 hours)

Shower and into comfy clothes (30 minutes)

Popcorn/snack and a movie, or a book.  (2 hours)

Prepare for the next day  ( 30 min)

I tend to overthink things so I have learned to just go with what is in my heart.  Here is my response:

If I could step into a machine that would give me extra time to write I would go for a run first thing in the morning.  Running alone with my thoughts is when I discover most of my inspiration for writing. Then I would return home and write for a couple of hours on the book I started writing a couple of years ago. The extra morning time would be before my job starts so that when my 2 hours of writing were done it would be time to go to work at my job.   Then after work there would be another block of time so that I could keep up with my blog writing about my life and faith and what I have learned to share with others. To the outside world I would be a prolific writer in addition to working a full time job and managing my volunteer activities and family.  In reality it would be this amazing machine giving me extra time.

What I learned from this collaboration is that both of our writing styles are good but combined they would be great!  I could add more detail while writing from the heart   I work best with a deadline so if I schedule an hour a couple of days a week into my calendar to write then I would perhaps be a more regular blogger and maybe even finish the book I started writing.  Stay tuned to find out.

A Taste of God’s Creation

 

sb10067980c-001I love running in the early morning.  The world is so fresh and quiet and I can see God all around me in His creation.  The sun is just beginning it’s ascent to warm the earth and mist is hanging low over the mountains soon to be burned off by the sun.  I breathe in the fresh air and marvel at how God brought this all into being.  He created trees to give off the oxygen needed for living beings to breathe.  We in turn breathe out carbon dioxide needed by trees to live.  How cool is that!  That gets me thinking about how everything God created has a purpose.  Nothing is by chance.  It is all by His design and plan. ( Genesis 1-2)

I have to say I find it hard to say that mosquitos have a purpose, other than biting me (I am scratching a bite right now that I got while out running) and causing disease, but they do.  They serve in an important place on the lower rungs of the food chain.  In their larvae stage they are aquatic and strain unicellular algae from the water and convert them to their own body which then are eaten by fish and other aquatic animals. Ok I get that part but the adult skeeters; they bite! Yes but they are also food for bats, birds and spiders. (and we are food for mosquitos). Without them our ecosystem would be adversely affected.  And so it goes for everything up the food chain.  All part of His design and plan.

deer & fawn

This morning I was out running early with my running group.  I spotted 2 adult deer with 2 fawns standing stock still in a yard.  At first they looked like statues but then as we got closer they bolted across the road, through another yard and behind a house.  We continued our run on the road taking a right turn then a left when suddenly the same deer bolted out from the woods on our left directly in front of us.  They looked at us as if to say, “I thought we lost them”, then they ran across the road into the woods on the right.

Like I said at the beginning I love the morning runs in God’s creation.

This post is a compilation of 2 drafts that haven’t been previously published.  For #everydayinspiration Day 13 I chose to put these two drafts together as one post as they are a similar topic.

 

 

Coffee…#everydayinspiration

I have a love-hate relationship with coffee.  Let me explain…

The hate part began in college many moons ago.  I was always a procrastinator when it came to studying for tests or writing papers.  I would stay up all night with a pot of coffee,  drink all of it and then by morning my stomach was sour.  Lesson learned after doing that so many times was that coffee was destructive to my stomach and staying up all night to study was not the greatest idea.  So after graduation I found tea more soothing  and gave up the coffee and am a little better at planning.

Most recently I have discovered some really cozy coffee shops and love the atmosphere.  I have found that there is a comradery among coffee drinkers as there is among runners or any other social group.  In those coffee shops I have discovered some really  great coffee.  I enjoy meeting friends for coffee occasionally because of the cute coffee shop with great coffee.  I do drink decaf (other wise I don’t sleep) and I put sugar and soy or almond milk in it.   Now my  husband would tell you I am not a real coffee drinker because of that. He says real coffee drinkers drink it black.  Makes sense since that means they actually like the taste of coffee.  I don’t care that I am not a “real coffee drinker”.  I am a “real tea drinker” who happens to like the taste of coffee without caffeine and with sugar and milk.

I have always liked coffee ice cream which goes along the same taste lines as hot coffee with sugar and milk.  But my new coffee love discovered this summer is iced decaf coffee with a little sugar and soy or almond milk.  Kind of like liquid coffee ice cream.  I discovered this iced coffee at at little coffee shop when I was at the beach this past weekend.  I am so hoping that I can find iced coffee that good in my town.

So I love coffee…I hate coffee…just depends on the atmosphere and preparation.

 

The Beach…One of my favorite places

surf RI

One of my favorite sounds…Ocean waves crashing on the shore.  It can lull me to sleep.
One of my favorite smells… The salty air.  It brings me back to my childhood growing up at
the beach
One of my favorite feels…Digging my feet into the warm sand.  A comforting feel.

Sitting on this beach in my beach chair with my feet buried in the sand, sunglasses and hat on I watch.  Children squealing as they run from waves.  A Dad and his kids creating a sand sculpture.  A young man trying to navigate a kayak through the waves only to be pushed back to shore to empty the kayak of water.  He did it over and over again until finally giving up.  Kids riding the waves on Boogie Boards, others skimming across the receding waves on a skimmer.  An impromptu volleyball game without a net creating gales of laughter from the participants.

Watching the various sizes and shapes of people walking the beach some hand in hand, others splashing their friends.  Seagulls circling overhead as a child eats his sandwich, other bolder gulls walking on the sand close by.  Which one will score the sandwich.

The whistle of the lifeguard to warn a swimmer who went beyond the orange buoy.  Conversation all around me muffled by the wind.

But my observation soon turns inward as I tune out what is around me and remember past beach trips.  This same beach used to have huge dunes to travel over from the parking lot with black sand on the beach just below them.  We would have to run fast over the black hot sand to get to the tan sand.  After swimming if we were cold we would roll in the black sand to get warm.   Now the smaller dunes have signs saying don’t walk on the dune grass as they are rebuilding the dunes.  The black sand is mostly gone just a little remnant left .  On the other side of the dunes and the parking lot is a salt pond that used to have swans in it.  As kids we would save the crusts from our sandwiches and feed the swans.    I remember endless days at this beach with my family and cousins having fun and building memories.

Now back to my current observation…
My favorite time of day at the beach…late afternoon.  The lifeguards are gone, people are packing up and leaving, the sun is warm in contrast to blazing hot earlier.  I just sit back and listen to the crashing surf, smell the salty air tinged with sunscreen and dig my feet in the sand.