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 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 body, capture, change, courage, day, differences, faith, God, grace, heart, hope, husband, life, light, meditation, night, old, pain, Prayer, rest, scripture, silence, solitude, spirit, strength, understand, vision, walk

Clearer Vision

During this week off from the everyday grind, I am present moment many moments of my day, and days plural.  My senses are wide-open.  I hear my husband’s heart beat in the silence.  My vision becomes clearer by the hour in the solitude.  What a difference capturing a subdued vacation dedicated to the rejuvenation of the mind, body, soul, and spirit.  Old thoughts are changed to clearer vision and direction. Faith in my God and myself restored.  Life is punctuated with grace, hope, and love.  Courage and strength for the walk ahead.  I see the path.  One of prayer.  Pray the Word of God.  Meditate and then pray Psalms 119.  Today’s verses 11, 18, & 148 …“I have hidden Your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You … Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your law … My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on Your promises.”

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?

Posted in brother, father, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, life, live, mother, Physical, purpose, scripture, sister, spirit, Spiritual

Whence

On several occasions I have had an older gentleman ask me “where did you come from” or “from what place are you from”.  He forgets what I told him the last time, so he asks time and again “whence you come from?”.  Here is the definition of the word “whence” and the use of this phase …

  • ADVERB
    from whence (adverb)
    from what place or source.
  • ADVERB
    from whence (adverb)
    from which; from where.
  • to the place from which.
  • as a consequence of which

In the physical realm I came from my mother & father, who met at the grocery store chain they both worked at in the mid – late 50’s, married in 1958.  I am their third child.  Their firstborn is my older brother by 17 months.  And then came my identical twin sister, born 7 minutes before I.  The doctor and my parents were not expecting me, as my mother did not show signs have being pregnant with twins.  Remember ultrasound was not used back in 1960.  Right before my twin sister was born, they felt what they thought might be a “tumor”, but lo and behold, it was me, a 2nd baby barely over 5 lbs.  My parents waited, and my little brother followed 3-1/2 years later.  Mom said “if the pope wanted her to have another baby right after my twin sister and I, he can raise them”.  Born and raised in Missouri, we lived in a small town subdivision for my first 8 years, and then lived on a tree farm in the same county for another 10 years before moving across the state to go to college.

In the spiritual realm, I am a child of the Living God, predestined for His wonderful plans. “In Him we were also chosen having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will … having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit … live a life worthy of the calling you have received”, the book of Ephesians tells us.  This is where I come from, from our Father, Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.Remember From Whence We Came Ephesians

 

 

Posted in citizenship, creative, Emotional, Financial, God, heaven, house, live, meditation, Mental, Physical, Prayer, purpose, quote, scripture, spirit, Spiritual, Vocational, write

By Chance Or Creative Citizenship

 

A wooden birdhouse nailed to a backyard maple tree was home to Eurasian tree sparrows year after year. Eventually the squirrels chewed a bigger hole and took residence.  Now the tree does not exist as we made way for a room addition to the house, but the prized songbirds still return to our feeders every winter.  The Eurasian tree sparrow finds its citizenship in some select communities in the St. Louis, Missouri vicinity.  “Its presence in Missouri dates back to shortly after the Civil War. At that time it was a fad among nature enthusiasts to import nightingales, chaffinches, bullfinches and other songbirds from Europe. This was done in the false hope that new birds might help control insect pests, but was also an excuse among nostalgic immigrants who wanted to see birds ‘from the old country,'” written in a Missouri Conservationist Magazine article.  These meek songbirds entertain us humans by making nests in our birdhouses and stay around for winter dining on seeds left in the feeders.  Not native to Missouri, but they thrive.

Writers and artists need their own space to allow their creative juices to flow.  Writers’ and artists’ retreats can be found around the world.  Michael Pollan’s cites in his book, A Place Of My Own, “a room of one’s own … is a space of solitude a few steps off the beaten track of everyday life.”  I think we all need that space whether it is a nook in your house, a favorite bench at the park, or trail to walk amongst the trees and wildlife.  Creativity is for all people.  Historians, sociologists, and National Geographic photography and author, Dan Buettner study people around the world, seek those who thrive and live as centenarians. These century-old people have 9 common threads in the communities they live in what has been now dubbed the “Blue Zones”.  These threads are unique to their culture but can be tied together.  These threads are: they move naturally, have purpose, consume plant-based foods and stop eating when 80% full, practice moderate wine consumption, have daily down time, their family comes first, live in the right tribe for self, and belong to a like faith community.

As a wellness professional I stand by the concept of “The 7 Dimensions of Wellness”:  physical, spiritual, vocational/financial, emotional, social, intellectual, and environmental which I can easily tie into the Blue Zone’s 9 common threads.  With all this, what is one dimension that the others surround around?  It is the spiritual dimension.  It defines our purpose, beliefs, and values.  It centers our thoughts, prayers, and meditations.  It is big enough that it allows us to accept others.  And your spiritual practice,  is it integrated in everyday life?  Are you thriving?  Where do you find your citizenship?  Are you here by chance or did the Creator create your place/space for a purpose?  And where will you be after the Earth is no more?  Your spirit lives forever.