Posted in change, God, life, listen, live, Mental, mind, old, Physical, purpose, quote, rain, renew, scripture, season, spirit, Spiritual, truth, warm, well, words

Cast Aside The Old Self

You were taught to cast aside the old self of your former way of life that had been corrupted by its captivating desires. You are to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to clothe yourselves with the new self created in God’s image, in the way of uprightness and holiness that belong to the truth.

~ Ephesians 4:22 – 24 ~

Summer had lingered in the plush plants for many a days as it has been unseasonably warm. But now it is finally yielding to Autumn. The hummingbirds have not visited the feeder in well over a week. The sparrows and finches are feeding more often. The blooms yield to berries. I feel the weather is finally changing with the brisk air after the colder rains. Bare feet get covered with my weathered leather moccasins rather than strappy sandals. My denim poncho is needed this evening, so I clothed myself to keep warm. Just as I clothed myself for protection from the cold, so I clothe myself with God’s image as the above scripture tells me.

God’s Words are promises to me, and to you as well. Post-retirement from my full-time career has given me more time to think. I have had days to reflect on where I have been, where I am now, and where I want to go. The mind can go places like self-doubt and questioning God’s purposes. God is faithful with His Word and I am confronted with this scripture Ephesians 4:22 – 24, to renew in the spirit of my mind and dress myself in God’s image which is the Truth. Anything else is a lie. God’s word mentions these words “clothe yourselves” several times. This will be the focus of my subject bible study this autumn season going into winter.

Posted in Ann Voskamp, anxious, authors, body, comfort, compassion, cross, cry, Emotional, fear, God, health, heart, Holy Spirit, insecurity, Jesus, love, mind, pain, passion, people, Physical, Prayer, restore, sad, scripture, secure, spirit, Spiritual, trust, woman, worry

Inside My Aching Heart

An ear infection lead me to the urgent care before we left for vacation. My blood pressure was alarmingly high. The urgent care sent a report to my primary care, and she messaged me while on our 2-week vacation to take my blood pressure the next few days, and send her the readings. Still high and some chest discomfort soon after our multi-state road trip, I was in the doctor’s office when I got back to reality. Referred to a cardiologist and more testing, we discovered I have an arrthymtic heart condition. I have premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) that cause echo beats. This Friday I meet with my doctor to discuss what I need to do to take care of my physical heart besides take a beta blocker and lose weight. Questions flood my brain … How did I acquire this condition? When will I feel myself again? Can I return to speed walking as that helps in my weight loss efforts? How long has this arrhythmia been going on? I know I have not felt myself in a long while. I am tired much of the time. Not sleeping well most nights. I have become anxious with my relationships and social settings. I thought that was because of the COVID social distancing for too many days. This learnt introvert does not trust people easily. Trauma does powerful things to one’s mind, body, and soul. I cannot take anxiety meds, as they upset my digestive system so bad, and that causes more anxiety as I worry if I will find a bathroom in time when I go out. I am an insecure woman right now who doesn’t feel or even know if I am loved by those I have been close to over the years. I feel out of rhythm and vulnerable. The ironic thing is my physical heart is going through the same, out of sync and aching. Which came first, my aching physical heart, my stifled emotional heart, or my parched spiritual heart?

I suppose it doesn’t matter which was first. God wants to restore all three. Where do I start? My foundations, the Word of God and prayer. I recall Holy Scriptures that says I am “fearfully and wonderfully made”. In 1 Samuel 16:7 it says “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” King David’s prayer wells inside me into a song … “Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit in me. Cast me not away from thy presence, take not thy Holy Spirit from me, and restore onto me the joy of thy salvation, and renew a right spirit in me.” Psalm 51: 10 -12. I cannot hide from this truth nor the truth inside myself. The truth is I feel unsteady, insecure and timid right now in life. I do not know how long I will feel this way. With God’s help I will come out of this. I need to get my spiritual heart right first.

Author Ann Voskamp so eloquently writes . . .These days feel like a flood of heartache . . . And there’s not one moment God doesn’t feel that with us. “His heart was filled with pain” (Genesis 6:6). God has a heart . . . and it hurts. It hurts with what hurts us. His heart hurts not just with a few drops of ache, not just with a slow drip of sadness—the whole expanse of His heart fills, swells, weighs dark with this storm of pain. God, who hung the stars—He has taken a thread of His heart and tied it to yours. And He didn’t need to, but God tied His heart to yours — so when you feel pain, He fills with pain. Time only continues on in this impossibly suffering world because God Himself is willing to keep suffering the impossible with us. We read the headlines and wonder, lay in our own beds way too late at night & soundlessly cry: If there’s a God who really cares, He’d look at this world and His heart would break. And God looks to the Cross, and says, “My heart did. ”On that Cross, they speared His side and pierced straight into His heart, filled with pain, and it was the water and blood of His broken heart that gushed right out, a flood of love. Grace—it, too, has floods of its own. . . . The way heaven comes down so we can rise. In a world of grief beyond magnitude, what will change us and the world, is the attitude of Beatitudes. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” In a world that doesn’t feel fair — His cruciform love and outstretched arms embrace us — so what we feel is Him. No one knows more than Jesus that this world isn’t fair — and no one loves us to death like Jesus, until everything is fair for forever. In a world of loss — the deeply suffering are deeply touched by the suffering of Christ. We do not weep alone. No matter what happens in this busted-up world in the days ahead, in your own beautiful world: Pray. He listens & He holds. “When you call on Me, when you come & pray to Me, I’ll listen…I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady” Jeremiah 29:12, Isaiah 41:10MSG #TheBrokenWay#WeepingTogether

The physical and emotional heart healings will come . . .

Posted in challenges, change, death, depression, discernment, embrace, Family, friend, gift, God, happy, health, heart, hope, life, Mental, people, perservance, scripture, sick, sufficient, survival, together, trust, wisdom, world

Embrace The Hope

Ice and snow rang in the new year. If it is not the virus, it is the weather that keeps me close to home. So many dreams and plans put off during the pandemic. And we are not through with the COVID pandemic with millions of people to still be vaccinated. Maybe it was a job change, retirement, wedding, or a dream vacation deferred. Birthday and holiday celebrations with family and friends altered. Or not being able to be with a loved one while they were sick, or worse while they died. Lingering side effects from the virus? I have not had COVID but my heart was sick some days. How about yours? Many times we cannot understand God’s ways, or the ways of this world. The wait, why?

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick”, the old proverb tell us. There is the other half of that proverb which says “but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12 ESV). Studying closer this verse in Proverbs, here is a commentary from the 1600’s English nonconformist theologian, Matthew Poole: Hope deferred; delays in obtaining that good which a man passionately desireth and hopeth for. The desire; the good desired and expected; acts being oft put for the objects, It is a tree of life; it is most sweet, and satisfactory, and reviving. Comparing Proverbs 13:12 to other scriptures, Proverbs 3:18 the “tree of life” connects wisdom and happiness. The NLT version says, “Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.”

Despite this dreary, wintry start, I still welcome the New Year like the finches outside on the feeders. Each waits a turn at the feeder. I embrace the hope and wisdom of a better year in 2021. What is the good you desire? Dig deep using the gift of wisdom God instilled in you. Discern and know God has made you sufficient for such a time as this. Those deep roots have the tree of life for you. Happiness will be life to you when you hold onto the hope and the wisdom.

Posted in body, change, choice, community, courage, day, deed, differences, feelings, happy, house, husband, job, lesson, life, live, Mental, mind, neighbor, people, Physical, Prayer, purpose, resilience, spirit, Spiritual, strength, thankful, well

What Am I Waiting For?

About every moment of every day the local, national, and world news capture heart-wrenching stories of tragedy and utter chaos. Although the local news stations have been better about bringing the good news, too. Like how a group of teenagers care for the needs of their elderly or home-bound neighbors during this pandemic with meal deliveries, running errands, minor home repairs, and taking out trash. While helping others, these youth are helping themselves by learning new skills, effective communications, and heart lessons from their altruism acts. These kids didn’t wait for something to change, they made the change. We cannot say how long the pandemic will continue to disrupt our lives. But I cannot stand by and wait to see how long. Life goes on. The new normal is established, for now anyway. What am I waiting for? What are you waiting for?

I have gained 90 minutes a day by not commuting to work every weekday. After about 3 months to adjusting to work from home (and loving most aspects of telecommuting), I decided to make another change. “I don’t have time” is not a valid excuse any longer. I downloaded a walking app, and have been doing interval speed walking for the past 10 weeks 5 mornings a week. It has been so liberating! I am up to 4-1/4 miles in 75 minutes, and my speed is about 17-1/2 minutes per mile. I am out of the house 5 days a week doing something wonderful for my body as well as for my mind and spirit. After 6 weeks my blood pressure and glucose have dropped enough to adjust my meds. There is a new saying I have heard through the online weight management program Naturally Slim. “Mind, meet body.” I play these mental gymnastics, talking to my mind, my body, and my spirit. There is a series of thoughts that goes like this: “This is good for you, get out there”, “God, give me strength, protect me for another day”, “foot, knee, you are going to be okay”, “only 5 more minutes of speed walking before cool down, yes!”, “sweaty wet tank top you are getting washed today”, “God, bless that homeless person”, “the birds sound lovely, thank You”, “God, what a beautiful sunrise You have given this morning!”, “oh, what a cute flower pot” … I think you get the picture. My thoughts turn to prayer, thankfulness, and praise every single day. I turned sixty today! My sassy (my hubby says sexy) sixty self is happy I have not stood by and waited any longer for these walking workouts. We are never too old to learn or do something new. Now is the time.

Posted in Blog, challenges, change, choice, faith, Family, farmer, father, flower, garden, gardener, God, joy, life, love, resilience, scripture, silence, therapy, write

A Choice To Grow

Posted in answer, art, body, bones, challenges, choice, comfort, creative, depression, empty, fabric, feelings, flower, God, health, life, mind, Physical, survival, warm, Warrior, woman, words, write

The Fabrics Of Our Lives

What kind of fabric clothes you?  Is it rich with color?  A neutral tone?  Plush with softness or textured?  Paisley print, plaid, floral print, solid pastel, or solitary bold?  Does the fabric have a fresh, clean smell of spring, or of warmth like winter wool?  Sometimes the fabrics of our lives pick up the stench of offensive stuff, like the burnt smell of overcooked popcorn or a dog rolling on a dead animal.  BTW:  why do dogs do that?  Life brings rotten circumstances that cause us to stop in our tracks and ask “why me?”.  Your emotions and anger seem out-of-control.  Or life leaves us depressed enough not to know what to ask or say.  Just a lump of dry meat stuck in your throat that won’t go down or you cannot throw it up.

I say pick up a pen, pencil, paint brush, chalk, glue stick, or vase.  And get at least one word written on a journal page.  Or that one paint color of choice brushed on the canvas.  Or that one embellishment glued on your choice of media for a collage.  Or that solitary flower added to the vessel of choice.  You do not have to have the whole story together, just one word.  You do not have to have a landscape or portrait finished.  That collage comes together bit by bit as you find another medium to add for expression of your feelings.  The flower vase may be a simply perfect vignette for the eyes with just that one flower you put in it.  Create from your gut.  I suppose they call this art therapy.  I call it survival with color.  Allow the mind to be freed and body feel it down to the bone as you empty yourself.  You may not know all the answers, but your feelings come out in a healthy way and adds color and texture to the fabrics of your life.  Art is another God-given tool as a woman warrior.

Posted in blessings, community, friends, God, grace, mind, Prayer, scripture

Scattered Seeds

The ladies group I have been involved with since late spring has been a source of tremendous mutual support.  We pray for each other and talk through anything plaguing our minds.  Much that we battle with someone else we know has battled with before.  Why not talk about it, learn from each other?  If trust and confidence is there amongst a community, then there is freedom from stereotypes and judgment.  I cannot say that would be the case with any group of women, but it is with this one.  Grace abounds.

I headed out the door late this morning, sunhat and eagerness to get to Long Row Lavender where we met for a lunch and walked amongst the lavender field today.  Gorgeous September afternoon.  We enjoyed a light luncheon of sandwiches, fresh fruit,  and tea.  Their iced lavender tea was delicious.  Two of the ladies have young boys, so it was a party of four women and three boys under the age of 8.  On our walk we noticed a couple of varieties of lavender as well as zinnias and sunflowers.  The idea is to attract bees, and there were many.  The sunflowers drooped loaded with seeds in their heads.  Some spilled onto the ground.  The children thought this was fascinating.

The parable of scattered seeds came to mind. “A farmer was sowing grain in his fields.  As he scattered the seed across the ground, some fell beside a path, and the birds came and ate it. And some fell on rocky soil where there was little depth of earth; the plants sprang up quickly enough in the shallow soil, but the hot sun soon scorched them and they withered and died, for they had so little root. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns choked out the tender blades. But some fell on good soil and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as he had planted. If you have ears, listen!” ~ Matthew 13: 3- 9.  What seeds am I sowing?  Have I prepared my soil to be good?  Am I watered in the Word of God and feeding my soul with His goodness?  Today was a wonderful day, soaking in His creation and the blessing of friends.

Posted in authors, book, community, demons, Emotional, fight, health, hope, lesson, life, meditation, Mental, mind, Physical, quote, Spiritual, walk, write

Writing a Book

As an employee wellness coordinator for a large-sized government entity, I keep myself versed on health and wellness topics and periodically take certification courses.  Depression and mental health are major issues in the United States.  A person can know this by listening to the news or viewing social media at any given moment these days.  More and more training in the health and wellness fields are focusing on the “7 dimensions of wellness” that make a person “whole”.  If any of these are lacking, it affects the other dimensions of a person, and the community around.

7 Dimensions of Wellness

These past few weeks God is urging me to write, more than I have written before with my journals, blogs, letters, and poems.  I am writing a book about wholeness, the physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental healing for a woman with post-traumatic stress disorder which affects the social, intellectual, occupational, and environmental dimensions of her life.  It is based on the true story of a Christian woman and her struggles after a traumatic event.  Subsequent therapy reveals more than this sexual assault trauma, but the dysfunction she is living in her marriage.  It is a story of hope despite the reality of trauma, and the fight against shame and demons associated with  sexual assault.  Life’s lessons are learned in every situation and circumstance, if we listen.

I have applied for a writing fellowship at a writers colony in Arkansas, and hope to hear good news by November.  If awarded I will be granted 2-weeks stay at this writers lovely retreat center.  My calendar will allow for this next spring, if I am awarded.   If not granted the fellowship, well I may take 2 weeks off and hide out in my husband and I’s cottage to focus on this work with greater depth.  Projects with my employer have shifted with earlier deadlines, so spring will be a lovely time to write, take walks, meditate, and write again.  “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed,” Ernest Hemingway is quoted.  For me it will be my pen and journal, and pecking away on the keyboard of my laptop.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Posted in authentic, body, book, change, choice, discernment, faith, flower, God, grace, health, life, love, meditation, Mental, mind, old, people, Physical, scripture, trust, well

A Beautiful Mind

Emotions and the mind do funny things sometimes.  Emotions can see-saw like the playground equipment, up-down, up-down.  Sometimes the mind plays its own games.  Truths and lies come into the mind, and I remind myself what is the truth.  And people play games, too.  But to know the difference requires discernment.  I ask God for that discernment and wisdom.  And my trust, my anchor, my foundation is in Him and His Word.

 

I am reading the book The Daniel Plan, and the chapter on “Focus” resonates so profoundly.  Taking care of the body and the mind is essential to going older gracefully.  A healthy body and sound mind equals good mental health.   Fill your mind with good seeds.  Then let your practice of those good thoughts bring harmony to yourself and those God has placed in your life.  Bloom where you are planted.

Philippians 4:8-9 The Message (MSG)

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”

Posted in body, darkness, day, house, job, life, meditation, mind, Prayer, rest, spirit, Spiritual

Rest From My Weariness

I am a planner by nature and vocation. Letting things go for a whole day is not easy. I think the Lord designed the Sabbath for a reason.  I am not faithful to take that day of rest each week. And it catches up sooner or later.  I have a quiet time each day where I meditate, pray, and just sit in the quiet.  But a whole day of this refreshes my body and mind.  My spirit needed it, too.

At my little cottage house I created my boudoir, designed with a comfortable chaise and vintage forget-me-nots such as comfy pillows, a lace-paneled screen, brimmed hats, scarves, hosiery, aprons, gloves, a pearl-beaded clutch, and special evening attire.  It is tucked in one corner of my husband and I’s large bedroom.   I turned on the mood lights picking green to illuminate my boudoir matching the plush green outside the window this summer season. It invited me for an afternoon nap, a day of rest from my weariness. The dark memories of days from over 20 years ago fainted away.  “Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” ~ Psalms 116:7.  The pitter-patter of the rain on the window panes serenaded me to sleep.

A week’s vacation is finally coming next week.  And a retreat may be in order for this autumn.  But also a sabbatical.  Traditionally, this is a 1-year recess for every 7 years worked.  I cannot see this happening until I retire from full-time employment.  So maybe a whole month off next summer, before I move into another chapter of my life’s work?