Sometimes The Silence Is The Answer

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“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”-1 Thessalonians 5:11*

It has been a while, my friends.  I didn’t plan on taking a writing hiatus, it happened.  You know what?

I needed it.

Life got really busy with family and I have so enjoyed it.  There were laughs, hugs, tears, and arguments, but for a small stretch of time, I had all my kiddos under one roof (and two granddaughters, a niece, and a third dog).  It was way overdue and I wanted to embrace this precious time and make memories.

But somewhere along the way, I realized I had not been writing and it appeared no one else noticed my absence either.  Which got me to thinking, am I supposed to be writing?  Is this truly what God has called me to do?

The answer is I don’t know.

When I started this writing venture it was to talk about my grief journey.  I have covered this topic a lot; maybe even beating it into the ground.  Now I wonder, do I have more to give other than relating to grief?

I hope so, but am not sure what it exactly looks like.  I am also not sure if I have it in me.

One thing I do know is I am not giving up, yet.

I have invariably been a person who likes to see the glass as half full, find the silver lining, and celebrate the small victories.  I have been an encourager, champion, and cheerleader for others.  I like to give rather than receive, and I consistently root for the underdog.  Now, I need some of this and I actually don’t know how to go about focusing on me.

It is scary and makes me feel vulnerable.  Not my strong suit.

So, I have been reading other people’s blogs, books, and articles.  Trying to let go of my pity party and look for a spark, a light, to inspire me not to give up and keep writing.  I am praying about it and trying to hear God in all this mess.

Sometimes the silence is also the answer.

I share this because perhaps you too have been discouraged at some aspect in life.  I find the best way to get out of the funk is to know I am not alone.  There are others who struggle and find their way up and out.  I know I will too.

I believe this is what God wants for all of us.  To be there for one another, boosting and lifting up, not fighting and tearing down.  Most of the time I love to encourage others, now I am the one seeking encouragement.

It will take patience, prayer, and peace.  I need to quiet my mind and heart so I can receive it all.  Help a sista out and pray for me.

Blessings!

*The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

I Promise You A Rose Garden

I Promise You A Rose Garden

Spring.

What a glorious season where all the naked, dead, and withered foliage turns green and thickens.  I learned early on I am not a cold weather winter kind of sista.  There is a reason I live in the south!

When the weather turns warmer, my husband takes down the makeshift greenhouse he has built around the gazebo.  We admire what has been growing for the past few months in the shielded warmth of the cozy abode.  This year we had some peppers, oregano, rosemary, chives, and our citrus trees already had flowers!

Then we start pruning, cleaning out, re-potting, and fertilizing all of our plants.  We also plant new seeds to grow starters for planting later.  We have worked so hard on our backyard this last month and WOW, it has paid off!

I have such affection for my roses.  I spend an abundant amount of time ensuring they are nourished, trimmed, trained, and loved.  Here, you judge……

Roses

I believe God feels the same way about us.  We live in this beautiful world He created and He provides similar opportunities for us.

Nourishment– God has provided a bounty for me to enrich my body and my soul.  He has afforded me the ability to shop for or grow my food, and the intellectual capacity to read the bible and feed my spiritual appetite.    “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10

Trim/Train-For me, this is called discipline.  God uses my circumstances for teachable lessons which in turn will help me grow.  As I grow in His discipline, I will develop self-restraint and turn away from sinful actions.   For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

Love-When I feel loved by God and others, my heart is full and I want to pay it forward.  I know my roses don’t feel my love literally, but because I care for them, in return, they bloom beautifully and we reap the benefits!   “He answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’. “ Luke 10:27

Because of our persistent time, attention, and love for the roses and garden, we are rewarded with such beauty and tasty fruits and veggies!  I choose for God to be my gardener and prepare me for a magnificent spot in His garden where I can bloom forever.   Blessings!

The Value of Connecting

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“This is my command:  Love each other.”-John 15:17*

This is a hard week for my family.  It has been seventeen years since my first husband and the father of my three precious children, Scott, passed away suddenly.  I find myself in a vulnerable and emotional state as I reflect back on our lives and pinpoint a common theme.

Scott was passionate about relationships.

FRIENDS-Scott grew up in a small suburb of Fort Worth, Texas, graduating from the local high school and pursued college, where I met him.  We dated, became engaged, and closed the deal in marriage.  We moved back to the suburb (which had grown considerably!) and I witnessed his people skills at work.  Everywhere we visited he knew someone.  There was always a handshake, hug, or pat on the back from Scott to his friend.  He would remember family members (and their names) and ask how they were doing.  Scott was genuinely engaged with the other person, a smile on his face, locking on their eyes, nodding his head in agreement, and being present for their story.

This kind of meets and greet were not limited to our community.  On a couple of occasions, we were on road trips, hours from where we lived, and Scott would run into someone he knew! It happened in a grocery store, airport, sporting events and gas stations.  Again, the rapport was demonstrated at his funeral when there were over four hundred people who came to pay their respects.  It was a visual reminder of how important friendships were to Scott and how he and his friends had a special bond.

FAMILY– Scott’s love for his parents was a marvel to witness.  He would always kiss his father and mother every time he left them.  We only lived a few miles away from his parents but he would talk to them every day.  We lost his father, Arnie, in 1988 and Scott made sure his mother was engaged daily.  He would visit her and help with items around the house.  I guess you could say he was a momma’s boy, but he was proud of the title and I respected their strong connection.

Scott also had an older brother and they were typical siblings, goofing around, arguing, and turning every event into a competition.  I know Scott was proud of his brother and would protect and support him in his choices.  Then there was the extended family of uncles, aunts, cousins, niece, in-laws, too many to count but Scott was always up to visiting and catching up.  We would go to family reunions in West Texas and he was so excited to see everyone and to introduce me to the family.  Scott’s mom was the youngest of eleven living children so they were many older uncles and aunts.  To hear their stories and recollections of Scott as a youngster was hysterical!  I remember those reunions fondly and realize how many of the family has since passed on.

GOD-The most important relationship to Scott was with God.  When I met this twenty-something year old, he told me he had accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior.  God was important to us but I have to admit, the early years we were not focused.  As a couple, we would sporadically go to church, sometimes tithed, and most of the time prayed before eating.  This all changed about a year before he died.  We were invited to a non-denominational megachurch in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and after a few visits, the experience transformed Scott.  I now know God was preparing Scott for his eternal homecoming.  Scott insisted we faithfully attend church every weekend and tithed on a regular basis.  Scott also insisted we prayed with the children each night before bed and we would pray together, the two of us, giving thanks for this life and lifting others in need.

In the last year of his life, Scott had a long-standing disagreement with his older brother.  On his last Christmas Eve, Scott asked if he could speak with me privately.   Scott confessed God was asking him to forgive his brother and make amends.  I told him if God is directing him to do this, he best submit.  He called up his brother who agreed to come over and the two of them spent the next three hours talking about their issues.  By Christmas Eve night we were all able to gather, as a family, and celebrate the meaning of Christmas.   I witnessed such a burden being lifted from both brothers’ hearts.

After Scott’s death, I too was able to find peace in knowing Scott was in heaven.  Early on a Sunday morning, I called a friend who I knew would be awake to let her know Scott had passed away.  She was shocked it was me on the phone because she had awakened from a dream about us moments before the call.  We were all at church and she asked me, “where is Scott?”  I told her to turn around and she would see him standing in the doorway.  When she looked, he was waving at her surrounded by a bright, beaming, golden light.   I was thankful for God to give me the confirmation Scott was with Him in His Kingdom.

God wants a relationship with each one of us.  He also wants us to develop kinships to lift up and support one another, not tear each other apart.  I believe God brings certain individuals in and out of our lives for a reason.  For my long lost friends and family, I will continue to find joy in the times we used to share together.  No regrets and no shame if we have drifted apart.  I would love to catch up, re-connect, and value my relationship with you.

Just like Scott.

 

*The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

FAN FOR LIFE

FAN FOR LIFE

“Be joyful always;  pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”-1 Thessalonians  5:16-18*

Friday night lights.  The band is playing, cheerleaders are psyching up the crowd, and then the high school football team takes the field.  For the next two hours, you have the fans and students cheering for their team, yelling their heads off.  The electricity and excitement you feel in the air is passion, for their home team, and for the win.

I would love to be able to bottle the passion released in a high school football game.  It starts with the players who have the intensity and drive to play the game.  Students who exemplify commitment by listening to the coaches, running the drills, working on strength and agility and focusing on their grades so they can be on the field.

Then there are the fans.  The enthusiastic crowd is made up of proud parents, talented band members, graceful dancers, spirited cheerleaders, and the animated student body. They all participate by singing, cheering, clapping, and demonstrating true team spirit. The passionate crowd is positive their team will take the win and spell victory at the end of the game.

What if I could wake up every morning, excited and enthusiastic to greet the day like a peppy fan at a football game?  You know what, I can.

I will choose to be excited and passionate about every day.

I know it is easier said than done, but it is by choice.

The first thing I do before my feet hit the ground is whisper a simple prayer.  “God, thank you for today and make it a great one to glorify You.”  Now I will be honest, I am not a morning person.  So, I have found if I get up before anyone else, drink my first cup of coffee and wake up, I am much more pleasant to be around.  While I am waking up, I make a choice to read something around God’s word.  It could be a devotional, actual bible verses or some passage reading for my bible study.  No news, no social media, no games.  I try to put my focus where it counts for me and this would be developing my relationship with Jesus.

As my day unfolds, there are many choices to be made.  One of my daily challenges is driving in traffic and choosing to extend grace to the other drivers who may not drive fast enough, DO NOT use their turn signals to alert others of their intentions, or pull out in front of me because obviously, I am so stealth like and invisible!  Believe me, this is my struggle and I work on it EVERYDAY.  I passionately want to react better to others, so I choose to try to behave better than the day before.

I know there will be the failure of my attempts, but I have to continue to try and be better than I was the day before.  I think back to how I felt during a Friday night football game.  The excitement of the unknown, the love for my team, and the positive vibes felt throughout the crowd.  I have a strong desire to choose to be as positive as I can be in all aspects of my life and to improve on my shortcomings.   I believe with this type of focus and passion in my life, I definitely will score the win for God’s team and be a fan for life.

* The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society