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 answer, authors, book, courage, creative, empty, God, grace, granddaughter, Hannah, mind, patient, people, quote, scripture, silence, solitude, sorrow, stillness, words, write

Silence Is An Answer, But So Is Speaking Softly

Introverts contemplate, in quietness and solitude they create and conclude.  Susan Cain, author of Quiet:  The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking gives an eloquent Ted Talk on this subject.   Go to https://www.quietrev.com/ted-talk/.  She ends this speech for both the introvert and extrovert with “I wish you the courage to speak softly”.   For myself, and many of my loved ones who are introverts, this is for you, too. The photo is my oldest granddaughter in quiet thought near the river a couple of years back.  Now in her junior year with home schooling (not a senior like I wrote a few days ago).  Hannah makes time for solitude, reads, writes, draws, and is creative.  Introvert as it is, she or I do not need a group to follow or hang with.

As an introvert do you ever wonder whether speaking up is worth it?  Arguing never gets far, but even saying a word or two seems to cause trouble. “Silence is an answer too” has some truth.  But silence for too long can be misunderstood, leaves too much room for incorrect conclusions.  “I will watch my ways, lest I sin with my tongue; I will keep a muzzle on my mouth.  Mute and silent before the wicked, I refrain from good things.  But my sorrow increases; my heart smolders within me.  In my sighing a fire blazes up, and I break into speech,” David, the psalmist writes in Psalms 39: 2 – 4.  Silence is broken, passion rises up to spoken words.  For others it is the written word or an art piece.

So what does the word “silence” mean?  According to the online resource https://av1611.com/kjbp/kjv-dictionary/silence.html

silence
SI’LENCE, n. L. silentium, from sileo, to be still.
1. In a general sense, stillness, or entire absence of sound or noise; as the silence of midnight.
2. In animals, the state of holding the peace; forbearance of speech in man, or of noise in other animals. I was dumb with silence; I held my peace, even from good. Ps 39.
3. Habitual taciturnity; opposed to loquacity.
4. Secrecy. These things were transacted in silence.
5. Stillness; calmness; quiet; cessation of rage, agitation or tumult; as the elements reduced to silence.
6. Absence of mention; oblivion, Eternal silence be their doom. And what most merits fame, in silence hid.
7. Silence, in used elliptically for let there be silence, an injunction to keep silence.
SI’LENCE, v. t.
1. To oblige to hold the peace; to restrain from noise or speaking.
2. To still; to quiet; to restrain; to appease. This would silence all further opposition. These would have silenced their scruples.
3. To stop; as, to silence complaints or clamor.
4. To still; to cause to cease firing; as, to silence guns or a battery.
5. To restrain from preaching by revoking a license to preach; as, to silence a minister of the gospel. The Rev. Thomas Hooker, of Chelmsford in Essex, was silenced for non-conformity.
6. To put an end to; to cause to cease. The question between agriculture and commerce has received a decision which has silenced the rivalships between them.

What words need to go unsaid?   When does the silence need to be broken?  Will I take up the courage to say it softly?  Will you take up the courage to say it softly?  What words do you need to share with your world in 2019?

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 authors, darkness, daughter, Family, God, house, husband, life, Prayer, silence, Spiritual, walk

Silence

“Cobbles rumble when a wave recedes, and thunders break the air in lightning storms.  I call these noises silence …wherever there is stillness there is the still small voice, God’s speaking… the silence is all there is.  It is the alpha and the omega,” writes author, Annie Dillard.  We had a few summer storms this past week.  In the night, awaken to the pitter-patter of raindrops on the window next to my bedside.  Then the thunder claps and echoes in the darkness.  And the silence follows.  Awaken to pray.  Most of the time I know who for and why.  Other times I do not, and await to hear the still small voice.Rain on Screen

My husband and I have downsized our own living space by moving into a 4-room house. Not sure if to call us “minimalists”, but having a smaller home has slowed us down. We are more focused on our relationship, and that was our intent.  More quiet time, more silence than what we have lived the past 4 years while sharing our bigger home with my daughter and her family.  No pets in our new space either, we enjoy the neighbors’ pets during our walks.  Just the Mr. and I, simple or elaborate meals prepared in-house depending on the mood, less eating out.  Projects and chores or snuggling on a love seat watching a classic movie.  And the silence. “Slow living … opens up the prospect of slow love, the most sustaining sort of love … a love that comes of unhurried and focused attention to the simplest things, available to all of us, at any time, should we choose to engage:  family, friendship, food, music, art, books, our bodies, our minds, our souls, and the life that blooms and buzzes all around us … slow love comes out of the quiet hours, out of learning from the silence that is always there when we want it,” writes Dominique Browning, former editor of a major design/decor publication.

We all need the silence.

Posted in authors, book, challenges, change, day, easy going, Family, father, house, lesson, life, mother, people, quote, understand, walk, words

History Lessons

Life evolves, perpetually moving.  Hopefully, forward.  But maybe we would rather live in the past, the good ole’ days?  I dream of the whimsy of unhurried days.  Summer afternoon napping in a hammock under a willow tree.  Leisurely walking the shoreline combing the white sand for a treasured seashell or starfish left behind by the ocean blue waves.  Sunday autumn walks spotting the brightest red leaved tree.  Hot tea and freshly baked scones for a winter snack gathered with my youngsters.  Life is not so easy-going while working full-time hours as a human resources professional.  Commuting, family obligations and responsibilities, bills, and then keeping house for our two homes.  I am sure it is not easy as a carpenter in the summer heat.  Or the 1000 sandwiches prepared for another hungry crowd.  Or the school teacher putting together lesson plans and then teaching them to the 100 & 1 needs of the students you are responsible for.  The disabled or elderly making doctor appointments and their thinning budgets.

Do we really have it all with our careers, 2000 + square-foot homes, high-ticket sports events and concerts, organic foodie plates at $50 per, high-tech computer programs, phone apps, texting, social media posts, networking breakfasts, and so on & so on?  Recent weekends while antiquing for my husband and I’s newly acquired get-away house has prompted history lessons. We ask each other why this piece of furniture or household tool was used back in 1940 or another era.  Think back on those less hurried days, many items make sense.  I better understand my parents’ and grandparents’ generations.  Their tight-fist around the piggy bank,  renovated solid wood tables and reupholstered chairs, no big screen TVs but large radios for the living quarters’ entertainment and news, dishes galore because they did not “go out” to eat, and a plethora of tools to fix that broken whatever.  Maybe life was unhurried because it could not be with the lengthy meal preparations and length of time to repair or build?  Maybe life wasn’t so easy back then.  Maybe it just seems that way, because life is not easy now?  Pioneer author Laura Ingalls Wilder once wrote, “Sometimes I wonder if telephones and motor cars are altogether blessings … When my neighbor gets into her car, it is almost sure to run for twelve to fifteen miles before she can stop it, and that takes it way down the road past me.”  Mrs. Wilder recognized how modernization changed her social connections.  I know it affects mine.

I read non-fiction books and articles to find out who I am or who I want to be (or not be).  Marie Kondo encourages us in her book The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up, “the space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past”.  Such an easy concept, live the now and look to the future rather than the past.  But I would have to challenge those words and their meaning.  I agree with the concept of this book, de-cluttering and making your home or office space functional, becoming a better person.  But the past is why we are who are now, and this will carry to the future.  I rather filter the past, keep the nuggets of wisdom of the past generations, use for guidance.   Learn from and not repeat their mistakes, but I will surely make my own.  That antique end table or butter dish reminds me of past generations’ input into my life, directly or indirectly.  Their legacy, history makes me and you who we are now and what we will become in the days to come.  I ask you to think on someone in your past or from your history lessons.  What is one sentence this person would say to you right now that can effect your today and tomorrow in a positive manner?

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 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.