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 book, challenges, comfort, courage, crazy, God, purpose, quote, resilience, thankful, Warrior, woman

Escape

cs lewis cup of tea quoteHow do you escape from this sometimes crazy world?  “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you,”  1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us.  Being thankful is one way to escape from overwhelming thoughts and situations.  You say, “that is a challenge right now”.  I know.  I experienced one of those days today.  But more importantly, woman warrior, what recharges you with more resilience, courage, and purpose?   Is it being nestled under a comfy quilt with a book or the Bible in one hand and a cup of steamy tea in the other?  Is it a brief foray with an art medium or craft you are developing?  Writing or making music?  Is it an afternoon out with a friend, or date night with the hubby?  Or maybe a whole weekend away or at a retreat?  Whatever it is, just get there.  Make it a priority, plan it, and the escape from this crazy life will come.  Go ahead, do it, and giving thanks all the way through … I knew you could.

Posted in authors, book, comfort, Emotional, faith, Financial, forgiveness, God, happy, husband, Mental, pain, patient, Physical, sad, Spiritual, strength, thankful, weep, woman, words, write

Women, Stories, Faith, and Heart Matters

“Women’s stories matter.  They tell us who we are, they give us places to explore our problems, to try on identities and imagine happy endings.  They entertain us, they divert us, they comfort us when we’re lonely or alone.  Women’s stories matter.  And women matter, too.” ~ Jennifer Weiner

I read many literary pieces authored by famous and not so famous women.  Women have many untold stories, happy, and sad ones, too.  There is a time to share those stories, and other times to be quiet.  A time to work through heart matters in solitude.  Inspirational writer Ann Voskamp asks in her book Be The Gift, “Are the most painful tears the kind no one can see, the kind where your soul weeps alone?”  This is where God meets us, holds us, hugs us, comforts, allowing the tears to flow until no more.  Empty oneself of all.  In the midst of physical pain, mental anguish, sudden illness, chronic health conditions, death, wrongful accusations, troubled relationships, mean co-workers, political wars, poverty, domestic violence, or complete exhaustion, faith has to play a part to get through it.

But also, “faith has to be exercised in the midst of ordinary, down-to-earth living,” writes Elisabeth Elliot.  “Faith without works is dead,” the Holy Scriptures tell us.  “Faith is built out of small acts along the path of life,” Maria Shiver shares in her new book, I’ve Been Thinking … Today, what small act strengthened your faith, your belief in God and His creation?  And that creation is you, too.  Was it surrendering your curse words to thankfulness?  Was it a smile shared with that co-worker who loathes your presence?  Was faith exercised in giving your lunch money to the homeless lady sitting on the bench?  How about when you wrote an encouragement letter to that relative estranged from the family?  The tenth time to patiently point out a grammatical error to the simple-minded teen?  Scrubbing the stains off the wall made by careless guests?  Forgiving the thoughtless comment from your husband?  When you forget another appointment, but reschedule and mark it on your calendar this time?  The lists goes on how we exercise faith in others, God, and ourselves.

We women have stories, and faith to make the stories go on about real heart matters. Heart Key Hole

 

 

Posted in challenges, day, God, life, live, meditation, people, Prayer, purpose, secure, thankful, walk

Present Moment

Three or four days of my work week I am able to break away from the St. Louis County benefits office located in the middle of Clayton’s business district where buses, delivery trucks, cars, financial institutions, niche shops, eateries, entrepreneurs, visitors, and government employees blend.  These 1-hour get-aways can include lunch in or out, meditation and prayer at the corner church, possibly a catnap in a quiet loveseat down the hall, and almost always a walk.  Today I brought lunch from home, egg salad made with white bean hummus (yum!) and whole wheat crackers.  Afterwards I took my daily stroll.  I chose to leave my cell phone and water bottle behind, my security usually a tote on my constitutionals.  It is a brisk 50 degrees this cloudy March Friday.  I can survive without H2O for 20 minutes.  And the cell phone, what did I do for the first 4-1/2 decades of my life without one?!
I have my Fitbit on, but do not check it during this short walk.  Besides I have these Clayton blocks memorized, either 3000, 2000, or 1000 steps depending on what direction, destination, and how far I decide to go.  I made a conscious effort to be present moment on today’s walk.  Four blocks north of my office and back.  The church bells chimed louder.  Other pedestrians’ voices and footsteps were clearer.  I was aware of how many people waited at each of the traffic lights with me, what shoes and jacket they wore, and the colors of the vehicles that passed through the intersection before the crosswalk signal switched.  The birds chirped feverishly.  Flowers popped out at me as if I was the sun.
In contrast, I feel the sharp, damp air on my face, hands, and the tops of my feet.  My joints ache, but this provokes me to keep moving these arthritic parts, and not stifle what God has created.  “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  I know this clearly.”  Along that thought … What have I been created for these later autumn years of my life?  I think of the human life span as the seasons.  Spring is my childhood.  Summer is my young adult up to mid-life years.  Autumn is my mid-life up to retirement.  And the winter will be retirement and elderly years.  See how the cold, moist air on my arthritic joints brought me to thoughts of my future retirement during this walk?  It is a challenge for this planner and organizer to stay present moment.  Yesterday my heart’s desires bubble up among projects and schedules.  A sketch of the next 5 years came to me.  I have been asking God what am I to do after employee wellness and benefits at the County.  Only 132 weeks until my retirement to be possible.  I give tomorrow’s blueprints to God, my Creator.
Back to present moment … thankful … for this moment to walk, breathe, love, and live fully.
Posted in battle, depression, faith, Family, God, light, love, man, pain, peace, people, Physical, purpose, quote, Rachel, sacred, Spiritual, thankful, Warrior, woman

I Know This Man … I Know This Woman

I was a guest panelist for the St. Louis American Heart Association’s Workplace Wellness Solutions Forum this week.  What a wonderful experience to share the budget strategies I have incorporated in the wellness program at my workplace with other human resources and wellness professionals.  Our keynote speaker, Aaron Hunnel brought his message of perspective, positivity, passion, and purpose.  This humble young man has accomplished much in his young years. An American veteran who served two tours overseas, overcame addiction, has literally climbed several huge mountains, ran an Ironman Marathon with a disabled young woman as his partner, author of the book Upwards, and a successful business owner.  His keynote message “There Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” moved many to tears.  I sobbed.  His authentic message reached home in my heart.

You see I know this woman who has a beautiful soul. She seeks the good in everyone she meets. She loves unceasingly, full of “thank yous”, and affectionate hugs. “See the light in others, and treat them as if that is all you see,” Kirk Weisler is quoted, and this is what this woman lives.  And the courage she possesses is like no other I know.  This woman has not one but multiple disabling medical conditions. This woman is Rachel, my oldest daughter.  I am so proud of the character she has and is.  An “all abilities” woman.  The battles she has fought and continues to fight are extreme pain with advanced degenerative disc disease and arachnoiditis.  Depression, self-pity, “why me”s, “why now”, purposelessness, faithlessness, hopelessness Rachel has fought against too.  And this woman warrior has won!  Her faith in God has saved her time and time again, and will continue to sustain her.  Rachel gives love to family, friends, and strangers because she knows she was created for such as this.  Love is sacred, love shared, no holding back.

 

 

 

Posted in envy, faith, Family, God, jealousy, life, light, live, love, peace, scripture, secure, thankful, write

Be The Light

“There are two ways of spreading the light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it,” author Edith Wharton is quoted. Edith began to write poems, short stories, and novels as a child in the latter 1800’s. Her first published novel would not be until she reached age 40, as it was not acceptable for a societal woman to be active in writing during this era. Edith’s life reflected her love for humanity during the first World War, brave efforts made for her French friends.  Days and years, maybe a dimly lit wick, but she persevered in those humane and writing works.  Edith Wharton’s influence is seen in literature and the arts today, and she has been gone from earth since 1937.

“He will not break a broken branch or put out a little fire. He will be faithful to make everything fair,” the Bible verse encourages us in Isaiah 42:3.  In today’s world when life seems totally unfair, there is this promise from the Old Testament. Do not put out your own light by living like life is unfair, slanted, short-changed.  Stop the envious comparisons to your family member, curtail the jealous plans to out beautify or own more than the Jones, and live your life at peace with yourself , neighbor, and God.  Be secure in God. Be thankful. “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine …”  Be that candle, and reflect God’s love for you as a mirror to the community you have been placed in.

candlelight

Posted in battle, Blog, cancer, daughter, day, Elisabeth, Emotional, Enemy, faith, Family, fear, fight, Financial, God, mother, Physical, Prayer, Spiritual, thankful, victory, Warrior, write

Wonder Woman, A Village, And Miracles

 

A few months ago I began this blog dedicated to the warrior woman God has called each of us to be. This necessity to write about this topic came after my daughter, Elisabeth was diagnosed with two forms of breast cancer, stage 1.  Within each of us is a fighter, some more pronounced than others.  So I am not speaking of a roughneck girl looking for a fight.  (Though I believe either one of my daughters, daughters-in-law and their mothers could hold their own if confronted in a physical battle.)  With this blog I am speaking about the spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional fight we as woman encounter on a daily basis.  And for some that fight is minute by minute of every day.  My Elisabeth had such the fight the past 5 months.  She told her story on her social media page, not whining and complaining, but injecting faith and the power God gives to fight against fear and the Enemy.  The Enemy, cancer lost!  After 5 months of chemotherapy and a bi-lateral mastectomy Elisabeth received the pathology report announcing “CANCER-FREE!” The victory is hers!

In my eyes, and many others’ eyes, Elisabeth is Wonder Woman.  She endured chemo treatments every 3 weeks, the nausea and zapped energy level that followed for days.  Hair and breasts loss.  The mind and emotions battled the lies of the Enemy, refused defeat every step of the way.  It takes a village to raise a child.  And my daughter had a village praying for her, literally hundreds of family, friends, and church groups surrounded her with love and support, and beseeched Our God.  And the countless miracles that followed … her husband’s unwavering support … God’s grace extended from her employer, to work when able… strained relationships focused on one thing, Elisabeth’s healing rather than their differences … a clinic of dedicated medical staff … most expenses covered through the healthcare reform mandate … non-insurance covered special bandages left in the mail box during recovery … gift baskets delivered … and most of all the village’s thousands of prayers said on her behalf.

How thankful I am that my Elisabeth has been healed, and continues in the grace of God!  From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for loving my girl!  To God be the glory!