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.
My husband and I chose to sleep in this Sunday. The world and local news and the encouragement for social distancing kept us at home. Our spring-like weather turned to winter-like this weekend. We watched the gold finches fuss amongst each other for a perch to feed at the feeder. The purple and house finches do the same on the other feeder. Such the nature of animals, and people alike. The world’s concern (and ours, too), this corona virus has been much to think about and digest. Some planning has taken place in our communities, proactive rather than reactive. And there are those who are in a reactive frenzy to protect self, not thinking of the others around them. The empty shelves at the stores are the evidence with the hoarding of toilet paper and sanitizer. Remember while protecting yourself, think of your neighbor, too. Those especially who are elderly and the many who have comprised immune systems due to chronic health conditions. I have several family members in those categories.
We took my oldest granddaughter to the bus station for her first big trip by herself to Florida. This is a trip that has been planned for months. Hannah decided as a legal adult to still take this trip. Instead of fear and worry, I have prayed for her safe travels and health. My three classmates, the plumposity sisters (PS) and I have postponed our girls’ weekend here at the cottage. Sad, but totally understanding of their feelings. I busied myself with cap decorating to match our tie-dye shirts for the newly scheduled June weekend. I gathered more journal ideas for future projects. Love the birds. They teach us so much. Sing their birdie songs despite their circumstances. Most importantly I spent some quiet time in meditation and prayer. Such a vulnerable state we all are in. Yet this is a season that will pass as all seasons do. Life is still good. Keep smiling, and choose wisely.
Remember the serenity prayer …
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
In other words … let go, let God. Easier said than done. And why is that? I will speak for myself. There are times, even some days I am not present moment with God. I think too much. I think I can take this one more thing on, figure it out on my own. God gives us a brain and wants us to use it. It is also Him who gives us the wisdom on how to use it. But sometimes I overstep God. “Here let me do this so it gets done”, like God is not fast enough to answer my prayers or He wants me to do everything but pray. Or “I know what is best”, like I am placing myself better than God! Or how about this one, “doesn’t God hear me?” God is Omnipresent. He hears and knows everything even before I verbally speak the words or know what the need is.
I am writing these words to myself today. A reminder of what I know already, but need to know today as The Truth For Today. There are so many needs within the family as well as the people God has surrounded me with. “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”. Serenity means “the state of calm, peaceful, untroubled, and tranquil”. I cannot change the health conditions of my daughters, my sons, my siblings, my cousins, my friends, my colleagues. I am praying for Your comfort and Your healing touch to each of these people on my heart today. There are many, God. My heart is heavy today. Lift this heaviness as I give each of them to You. “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7
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.
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.
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.”
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!
Racing along, this project done, another one or two started, excellent customer service given, that word of encouragement shared, another homemade dinner made with leftovers for the week, and then I stop short. Sometimes fall short. Sickness does that to me. Not just my sickness, but the news that one of my children or another loved one is sick can put me at a complete halt, worry with frenzy or analyze the problem until I am exhausted. Neither accomplish what is desired, complete healing even from cancer. God is so gracious to me, to each of us. His Word says, “for though a righteous man falls seven times, he will rise again” (Proverbs 24:16).
Prayer is where I go when I fall short. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16). Meditative prayers are said at church each day before noon Mass, like glorious chants reaching the heavens. My presence there uplifts me, I rise again from the pew ready to go about the rest of my day. Unexplained utterances come from my lips at times, when English words cannot say what my heart feels. And this too is promised in God’s Word. “For I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to withstand or reply to” (Luke 21:15) and “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4).
Does not matter where I am, at home, in church, at the office, or on a day outing. Just pray. And I am diligently doing. Please agree with me for complete healing of my daughter. “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them …” (Matthew 18: 18 – 20).
This Woman Warrior writes to share the challenges, battles, and triumph cries of women such as myself and you. This blog has brewed in the 4-part curriculum “Beyond Resilience” I have written for the employees at my full-time human resources job in a local government entity. With the recent news from my daughter, Elisabeth, and the beginnings of her fight against breast cancer, I felt it is time to share words with the whole world what I and so many other women encounter. Elisabeth came from the womb a fighter. A woman warrior. She will beat this damned cancer. She has a legion of angels who surround her, and prayer warriors interceding for a complete healing. It will be Elisabeth’s toughest battle yet in her 32-years of life, but she will win!
The focus of this blog is on women, common and not so common battles we fight as warriors in this world and beyond. These are physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and vocational battles. We struggle with our health, self-esteem, acceptance, forgiveness, as well as financial and job securities. Real life stuff. This blog is not a political platform to bash political parties or leaders. Nor is it to bash the men folk in our lives. I need men in my life, and I am sure you as well. Oh, how I miss my father today. Our men folk fight their share of battles, too.
We women need each other! We need to stop fighting, malicious gossip, and comparing ourselves to each other. God has made us each unique and perfect. Let us work together towards better purposes. Today I need you to pray for my Elisabeth, her husband, her children, and her supporting family which includes me. Love, faith, and strength unceasing during this battle. A victory cry awaits.
So much to write about in the near and farther future. My Elisabeth may set up your own WordPress blog soon. She wants to share her ups and downs of this battle against cancer, so maybe someone else can learn from her life and words. Elisabeth is a wise woman warrior.