Posted in comfort, darkness, death, Emotional, Family, friend, God, Jesus, life, light, Prayer, scripture, silence, sorrow, victory, warm

Warmth During The Bitter Cold

I awoke this bitter cold morning to a hush.  Not much stirring inside or outside. Missouri broke record cold temps overnight, a whole 10 degrees this November 12.  Little stirring  in the neighborhood as school was called off and commuters leaving late for work.  An early season snow storm set the whole area in an icy mess late yesterday. Typically I would be in the shower by now, focused on my 9-hour day ahead at the office.  But I was attending the funeral of a colleague who suddenly passed 5 days ago.  I prayed for a blessed day despite needing to say “goodbye” to this friend later this morn.

I was blessed with the song birds coming to the feeder this morning.  Chirping and feasting.  Shadows of the birds, feeder, and perches lingered in the window panes.  The contrast of light and dark resembled life and death.  Guess which one wins?   “He will swallow up death forever.  The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces … But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ Isaiah 25:8 & 1 Corinthians 15:37.  The warmth of the guest bedroom lured me to a nap after the funeral this sunny afternoon.  I awoke knowing my life and my death is in His hands like my friend, his wife, and his son.

Posted in authentic, choice, courage, differences, Emotional, faith, Family, friend, friends, grandparent, happy, job, joy, laugh, life, live, old, peace, sister, strength, woman, Women in My Life

A Bench Mark Weekend

This past weekend was a reunion with three of my high school classmates.  We recalled those days many years ago, and laughed all weekend.  Endless fun, without any men, children, work, alcohol, or drugs.   High on life.  I have had the need to connect to my childhood outside of my family of origin.  So much is a fog, just glimpses of faces and scenarios.  The past class reunions are minus familiar friendly faces. We had about 500 graduates in our class.  So I sought three classmates I am connected to on Facebook, where we seem to share the same interests and connect with our comments on each other’s posts.   I remember well all three.  One friend is an authentic pal from elementary school, another is quite the comedian then and now, and the other illuminates peace to anyone in her surroundings.

We reserved the entire country inn in a small town.  The host and hostess accommodated us well with a bonfire, plenty of bedding options, and a delicious breakfast.  We grabbed lunch first at a unique BBQ diner with a resident pig sleeping in a stall.  After lunch we stopped at a local antique store.  The antiques were as old as us.  We visited Big Spring, a natural spring in the Ozarks of Missouri.  I came across a metal disc right on the cliff ledge near the spring flowing from the Current River.  It said “U.S. Geological Survey Bench Mark”.  According to Wikipedia, “the USGS (United States Geological Survey) was created, by a last-minute amendment, to an act of  Congress on March 3, 1879. It was charged with the ‘classification of the public lands, and examination of the geological structure, mineral resources, and products of the national domain’. This task was driven by the need to inventory the vast lands added to the United States by the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and the Mexican-American War in 1848.”  This bench mark has some kind of significance, probably either a elevation or earthquake marker.  My curiosity will have me research until I know the facts.

Benchmark at Big Spring

I felt like this was a bench mark weekend for me.  I had never done this, invited old childhood friends to gather for an overnight.  We all did not hangout together as a gang in high school, but knew each other.  None of us belonged to cliques.  I felt a bond would form as we came together now.  I have gone on women’s retreats, but this was a different kind of retreat.  This weekend rendezvous confirmed we had so much in common.  Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s.  Childhoods and schools in St. Charles County, Missouri.  Troubled love relationships.  Divorce.  Made better choices with age and wisdom.  Faith.  Caretaking.  Deceased parents.  Mourning.  Parenthood.  Grand-mothering.  Jobs.  Thrift.  Hobbies.  Strength.  A confident beauty that a 59-year old woman possesses despite it all.  The differences were fewer.  We share a sisterhood.  The “plump sisters (PS)” vow to meet up again in about 3 or 4 months for another destination, maybe another bench mark weekend.

“Because there’s one thing stronger than magic: sisterhood.”
~ Robin Benway, The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June

Posted in fear, flower, friend, God, grace, heart, hurt, people, Prayer, scripture, silence, solitude, thankful, unkind, woman, Women in My Life

Fearless Women

Looking back, how I have changed with each year that passed.   Not just with the added wrinkles, grays, pounds, aches, and pains in the natural aging process, but in each encounter with my God, His people,  and creation.  Our loving God uses every situation and person in our lives to shape us.  At times I have been in solitude, absent of friendships due to illness, death, and the unkindness of others.   There have been good and not so good people throughout my life.  Even in the most difficult and dark times, God was present.  He gave and continues to give me guidance on how to live life more Christ-like despite others.  I trust Him.  There is no secret from Him.  God knows the secrets of my heart and the sins of my life.  I draw on the grace of Jesus Christ with my imperfections as I pour out my heart to Him.  To all women, I encourage you to do the same.  And join a women’s group.  Not just any group but one where you are accepted as a prized rose, and encouraged to grow.  “Other seed fell on good soil.  It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown,” the Bible tells us.  Have open discussions, share holy scriptures and prayers, encourage fearlessness in fearful circumstances, and genuine friendships are planted in the garden.  Avoid weedy worthless gossip, emotional games, and comparisons.  No pretensions, be fully yourself.  This season I have been surrounded by fearless women, and seeds are being planted in good soil.  I am thankful.

 

 

Posted in angels, answer, body, challenges, daughter, faith, Family, friend, God, health, hope, live, pain, Physical, Prayer, sorrow, strength

Like Gold

I have been making “liquid gold” for many years.  Nowadays they call it “bone broth”.  According to online resources “bone broth” was used in ancient Chinese medicine to improve connective tissues, kidney function, and immunity.  I simply roast a whole chicken, turkey breast, or a bone-in beef or pork roast in the slow-cooker on low heat for 10 – 12 hours. Adding a fermented liquid such as wine, beer, kombucha, or vinegar in water helps bring out the bone marrow and collagen from the bones into the simmering liquid in the slow-cooker.  Liquid gold. Good for my physical health. That liquid gold is the base for delicious soups and sauces.

My oldest daughter, Rachel received another type of liquid gold this week.  After many years of prayers, tears, and seeking answers from the conventional medical field.  Her name came up finally after a couple of years on the wait list for a California clinic that uses alternative medical treatments for her disabling conditions.  Rachel is challenged with degenerative disc disease and adhesive arachnoiditis.  She lives in pain constantly.  This past year, Rachel has had physicians tell her “there is nothing I can do for you”.  Faith and hope has been her strength .  Those moments when she lost hope she had friends and family still believing.  Faith has sustained her.  Our God sustains Rachel.  An out-of-state trip orchestrated by God Himself unfolded before our eyes, giving hearts melted, funds gathered, plane tickets ordered, and an appointed physician who prays for each of her patients. Today the neighborhood church bells ring at this noon hour, an angelic sound reminds me of our God’s faithfulness.  Angels continue to watch over my Rachel.

 

Posted in book, empty, Family, flower, friend, God, heart, house, husband, peace, people, quote, silence, solitude, well, world

Niche, Nook, Cranny, And Heart

heart-shaped-clipart Since my husband and I bought our quaint 4-room cottage in a historic small city in Missouri, many of my days have been filled with decorating thoughts. Color, pattern, texture, and space. Every niche, nook, and cranny of this less than 800 square-foot space. I am perpetually frugal, a bit of a “minimalist” is the word these days. Despite Dr. Seuss’ advice,“Fill your house with stacks of books in all the crannies and all the nooks,” I am being selective on where to create that niche, nook, and cranny and how to fill it. Although “the love of learning, the sequestered nooks, and all the sweet serenity of books,”(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) provides plenty of opportunity for my brain and time to distress from this too real world. Designer, Xorin Balbes offers a different use for nooks. “Creating nooks for conversation and shared activities can do wonders to bring people together. Create more intimacy at home, and you will become more intimate in the world.” Quaint times with and for others is good use of the cottage. We have the cottage listed with Airbnb for festival weekends only, and open our new space for family & friends, too.
Just the same I need time for myself. I allow every cranny of my heart emptied to be filled once again with God’s beautiful foliage. Like these cranny rocks in Cannon Beach, Oregon with a abundance of green moss and colorful blooms. And rest, a time to sleep, and just do nothing. Quiet…hearing my own breathe and the bird tweeting outside the window. “Each morning I gather strength from every nook of my soul softly inhale the aroma of nature,” Monica Bhasin says. Warmer weather sends me to the outdoors with green surroundings, but the winter season I can have that same peace and calm in the comforts of one of the living room perches, the arm chair in the guest bedroom, or even with a 10-minute break from the telephone, computer, and projects in my workplace office. The niche to wholeness no matter my environment is my heart yielded to our awesome God and His plans. All is well with my soul.

Posted in authors, body, book, friend, God, grace, hope, hospitality, house, husband, life, meditation, Prayer, salt, scripture, warm, words

Salty

I am not an affectionate person but with my husband only.  There are many deep-seeded reasons for that.  I have opened my heart to be warm and kind to the people put on my path of life.  Many years ago I read a book  Open Heart, Open Home by Christian author, Karen Mains.  It provoked me to develop my gift of hospitality.  This gift is not about impressions but acceptance and warmth to all.  Not just in my home, but in my heart and wherever I am.  Hospitality is not just for my friends and family, but for all people and creatures that cross my path.  “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers,” the book of Hebrews (13:2) tells us.

The mineral, salt symbolizes hospitality according to this bible study website https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/salt/.  “As one of the most essential articles of diet, salt symbolized hospitality; as an antiseptic, durability, fidelity and purity.”  Salt’s ability to preserve and to sustain life has made it an allegorical symbol in many religions.   “Called a ‘divine substance’ by Homer, salt is an essential part of the human body, was one of the first international commodities and was often used as currency throughout the developing world,” citing PW Reviews 2001 November.  We need salt to regulate the water in our bodies, both necessary for survival.  Did you know that 60% of your body is water?  “All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came, ” John F. Kennedy is quoted.

As a Christian, “Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it?  Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another,” Mark’s gospel (9:50) encourages me.  Do not take it for granted.  By God’s grace I keep myself salty by prayer, meditation, listening, and reading.  My hopes are my oral and written words shared season your heart with life and God’s love. himalayan-pink-salt

Posted in children, Family, friend, God, husband, Jesus, life, loneliness, love, people, poverty, Prayer, redeemer, world

Kin

Mr. & Mrs. Dean Anthony GallThere are so many people in this world, but it is a small world at times.  Based on the 1920’s concept “Six Degrees Of Separation”, we each are six or less connections away from one another in this game called life.  This concept is used with Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media.  Based on genetic studies, for most of us if you go back 10 generations, you  probably share a grandmother with your neighbor.  What makes someone kin to you?  Birth?  Blood?  Spirit?  Relationship?  Bonding?  Association?  Adoption?  “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin,” according to William Shakespeare.

This word “kin” reminds me about the biblical story of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz.  Boaz became a “kinsman redeemer” when he married Ruth after her husband (Naomi’s son) passed away.  A “kinsman redeemer” is the relative who restores or preserves the full community rights of disadvantaged family members.  Boaz was not the likely choice, an older man.  But Ruth listened to what Naomi told her about Boaz, a good man.  Ruth was a blessing to Boaz.  Ruth and Boaz would give birth to Obed, who was King David’s grandfather.  And King David is a descendent of our Lord Jesus, Who is the ultimate “kinsman redeemer”.  With my Savior Jesus, God’s covenant relationship with Israel was completed with the redemption of humanity in Jesus Christ.

Like Boaz was for Ruth, my husband, Dean is for me.  Although 3 months younger than I, he is related to a friend, my former supervisor who introduced us.  Funny thing as we learned after we met, we were very close to meeting each other in our younger college years right after high school as we attended the same university and knew mutual people.  My friend, now sister-in-law told me Dean was a good man, and that he is.  And I love him dearly, so very thankful for Dean and the completeness and joy he brings in my life.  We have a great relationship, not perfect but work things through.  There are differences in how we were raised, and how we raised our children.  We differ in opinions on some social and society issues, but come back to our foundation, Christ. Dean redeemed me from emptiness, loneliness, and small living as a divorcee and an older single parent.  A late-bloomer, I sought out a new career in my 40’s after raising my two daughters and while my son was still in school.  After a rough first marriage I gave up on the thought of marriage for a long time.  Then I began to pray for a good forthright Christian man for a couple of years before I met Dean.  Perfect timing, jobs, friendships, open hearts, like-minded on important matters, and love that were aligned by God.  So happy I ended up with Dean. From what Dean tells me, he feels the same towards me.  He calls me his rock, solid foundation.  And his queen, not pretentious, his “all natural girl”. “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same” ~ Emily Bronte.