Archive by Author | CallMeTheClay

“It Was the Love,” He Said….

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“It Was The Love”

I just heard a man’s testimony on the radio this morning that struck a chord with me.  He said that he grew up Muslim.  However, through a lot of adverse things in his life, he became an Atheist.
At one point a couple of years ago, he decided he was tired of all of the anger and hatred that you hear in today’s music.  So he started searching for ‘clean music’ that his kids could listen to.  He stumbled across the Christian radio station K-Love.
Fast-forward to now and he is a Christian.  They asked him what was it that finally did it for him.  His answer?  LOVE!
He said that it touched him that there wasn’t all of the fighting and arguing being spewed.  It was the love that everyone talked and sang about.  He initially thought it had to be phony…but with time he realized it was real. And, he studied the bible and discovered that Jesus showed love to everyone regardless of who they were or what they had done.  He realized it was real.
For me, that brought to mind something else.  I have had friends and met people who are excited about sharing the Word.  So much so that you almost can’t carry on a normal conversation because they are busy quoting scripture to you in response to everything.  Half the time what they quote doesn’t even apply (or at least the person they are talking to can’t see the connection).
I’ve even attended a church in the past that is full of very loving people who desire to do God’s work.  However, if you are new or a visitor and happen to have a version of the bible that differs from the King James – then they hound you about it.  They try to ‘kindly’ give you the ‘right’ one.  They have been known to corner you and tell you how wrong you are because you grew up in a different church.
None of that wins the lost, people.  As a matter of fact – it turns them off and sends them running.  Which honestly, I don’t blame them!
I think that in our effortts to ‘win souls’ – we forget the most important thing:  show God’s love.  It’s not supposed to be the human effort anyhow.  All we are to do is let His love show through us.  The rest is between God and that other person.  It’s God’s love shining through us that attracts the lost.  They want what we have – just like that man mentioned earlier.
Jesus did not run after people and judge them.  He didn’t make them feel guilty.  He simply loved them where they were.
So I believe we should stop preaching at people.  Stop arguing your point.  Stop trying to show them how wrong they are and how right you are.  Stop quoting words that don’t mean much to the non-Christian.  Just love them.  Let God’s love shine through you in how you live your life.  Not through your efforts/works – but by being open to God’s will.

Yep, He Had My Back the Whole Way!

jesus holding the worldBoy has it been a year!  I have been through the ringer and this ol’ single mom is T-I-R-E-D!  But I’m also very grateful that I’m not alone. Here are just some of the things I can recall for 2014:

1) Started the New Year with frozen pipes/issues – meant lugging water in for a couple of weeks
2) Furnace stopped working – paid $$ I didn’t have for someone to come out and ‘fix it’ — only to find that they were full of you-know-what.  Then had to pay more for someone else to come out and do it right
3) Numerous times I had car issues/repairs
4) I got laid-off unexpectedly in March – lost a really good paying job that also included health care benefits paid at 100% for my whole family
5) Received a letter from IRS that I didn’t pay in enough some 3 years prior (long story)
6) Finally landed a job – at $11,000/yr less than my prior job + I had to start paying $400+ for health insurance
7) Was pretty miserable at that job – we were not a good fit for each other – but made some really awesome new friends too
8)  About the time I landed the new job – I also had to start paying $460/mo for childcare for the summer
9)  Car kept breaking down….so I finally gave in and signed on the dotted line for another one
10)  My daughter/best friend moved south out of town
11)  Was able to go see my daughter and her hubby for a few days during the July 4th holiday!
12) Received a letter from Attorney General that they ‘over-paid’ me for child support 2+ years prior and started taking half of my child support….which means I get a whopping $240/mo now
13)  Started getting down in the dumps about everything hitting constantly with no break…..started whining to God
14)  Got an unexpected call from my mentor and friend offering me a job (a little more money than my previous – for now, but promised more to come)
15)  Bills have been backing up and stacking up with all that has gone on so far
16)  Payroll company ‘forgets’ to enter my enrollment for health insurance…so they have to withdraw double payment out of my check = $500+
17)  Had to request them to defer a car payment when starting new job – in order to get them to coordinate with paydays = they had to deduct a double-payment out of the SAME paycheck that #15 occurs!
18)  Somewhere along the way – I reconnected with my first love, my high school sweetheart via FB
19)  Turned the big 5-0
20)  Thanksgiving — we were not able to work out schedules so that we could spend it with daughter and her hubby
21)  Thanksgiving — my high school sweetheart accepted and invitation to stop by and see me – he will have dinner with me, my son and my dad
22)  Christmas — we were unable to work out plans for spending this holiday with daughter/her hubby.  He was promoted – and can’t take off now and we can’t go that way
23)  Christmas — worked it out so we will go see daughter/hubby week after
There are many, many more ups and downs, but these are the things that come to mind right now.  It’s a lot.  Especially for a single-parent who is NOT getting any sort of assistance.  But it also means that someone had to have my back.  And He did!  God has seen me through as promised!  He never said it would be easy…but rather that He would be there.
However, I’ve also learned that He actually takes the burdens completely from me when I ask Him to – when I give it to Him.  It has been a hard lesson for me to learn – but I believe I’ve got it now.  I don’t even stress anymore about things….when something difficult comes my way – I say ‘here You go, God…it’s Yours’ — and He takes it!
May you all be blessed and enjoy your family and friends during the holidays.  And here’s to a beautiful, bless-filled 2015 coming around the corner!

THROUGH A CHILD’S EYES

MEDPARK2When my daughter was young, I worked full-time as a single mother.  My mom would pick her up from school.  When I got off, I would go to my parents’ house and we would all have dinner together before taking her home.  During those times – my dad always had milk with his evening meal.  So my daughter followed suit and would do the same because he was the father figure in her life and she wanted to be just like him.
Out of the clear blue, when she was about 5 or 6, she started refusing to drink milk.  After several evenings of this – I asked her why she quit drinking milk.  She informs me that we were always telling her to drink her milk because it would help make her big and strong (I know, I know…but that is what used to be said about milk).  And lately, we had been commenting that she was growing up so fast (you know how adults do)…..so, she connected the two and stopped drinking milk in order to slow down the growth process!
Needless to say we got a good chuckle out of the situation.  And of course we corrected the misunderstanding.
Fast forward to my 8-year old son.  He had to start wearing glasses last year – his first pair.  This year, we went for his check-up and discovered that he needed a new prescription.  We ended up going to a place that offered buy-one, get-one-free.  When we got home, he asked me what we were going to do with his old pair.  I casually mentioned that we would probably donate them – because there are places that will take them and help a child whose parents can’t afford to buy glasses for them.
A couple of weeks later, I get a call at work from the school nurse.  She tells me that my son had given his extra pair of glasses to a little boy – who didn’t even need glasses.  She tells me that the glasses are pretty much beyond repair.  I tell her to send them home and I would see what insurance would cover.
I got off of the phone stunned.  After all, I had noticed him wearing the 2nd pair of glasses and had even commented on it.  And he didn’t say a word.  And it was unlike him to do such a thing without asking first.
When I got home, I inquired about what had happened.  Come to find out – my son was showing his friends his new glasses – and a little boy said he needed glasses but his parents wouldn’t get him any.  And, my giant-hearted son remembered that comment I made about donating…..   So, he actually donated his OLD pair of glasses, not his new ones like everyone thought.  Of course he didn’t realize that one has to have the right prescription, etc.  But his heart was in the right place!
Comments that we think is very clear and simple – are not so when in comes to how our children interpret them  There is no being sarcastic with children….they don’t get it.  What you say is fact.  It’s black and white, no gray.
Therefore, if you have children/grandchildren – slow down.  Take time with them.  Take time to explain things….to show them exactly what you mean.  Take time to love them.

Journey Down Memory Lane & Back

Mixed emotions.  That is what I have been experiencing lately.  Like a roller-coaster, up on minute, down the next.  Funny how going down memory lane can bring back emotions as if you were back in that time.  It kind of wears you out to be up one moment and then deeply saddened in the very next one.

My daughter and her husband were in town for the weekend.  The trip was quick and of course it went by way too quickly!  We have always been close – and this move has been rough on both of us.  No more dropping in on each other or calling and saying “let’s do lunch” anymore.  So we go from being anxious for days building up to their arrival – to great joy when they get here – and then a crash when they have to leave again.  It’s like mourning all over again.  Each time.
One thing for sure – we definitely appreciate our time together.  We value family and never take each other for granted.  My family has always been close and will always have each others’ back no matter what happens.  I never have understood how people can get ticked off at another family member and then simply cut off all ties.  That’s so sad!
Going down memory lane has been a bit more difficult on me lately.  We all take a stroll into our past from time to time.  Maybe it’s a song that you used to listen to when you were younger.  Or you see a book you read.  And maybe you run into an old classmate.  Whatever it is – it slams you right back into that time period for a few moments.
I find that Facebook has brought about a lot of those little strolls.  Whenever I re-connect with someone from my past.  The older I get – the more I value and appreciate those connections.  There are a few connections that surprise me.  They are the ones that humble me for various reasons.
Recently I reconnected with my first love.  I thought of him a lot through the years and often wondered whatever happened to him.  I honestly wasn’t sure that he was even alive as he was a mess the last time I ran into him.  As a matter of fact, after talking with him that night so long ago – I remember telling my friend I didn’t think he would live long.  So it has been a real joy to see that he did make it – and that his life is good.  My emotions run high with this experience though.
I guess it’s the Fibro Fog again – but for the life of me I cannot recall the specifics of why I broke up with him – other than being young and dumb.  He tells me that I was the only one to break his heart.  And that makes me feel really awful.  Yes, we were young and it’s all part of life….but that is no real excuse.  I regret that I caused him pain.  I regret that I didn’t know what I was doing back then.  And in some ways I regret letting him go.
It seems we both have lived through a lot.  Gone through tough times and survived.  For that I am grateful.  I really enjoy chatting with him and getting to know him all over again.  However, with that brings a lot of mixed feelings.   I find myself being like a school girl anxiously awaiting to hear from him again.  And at the same time – we live totally different lives in different cities.  Too much time has passed and we are different people now.  We can’t go back.  So then I feel like an idiot, ya know?
I’m sure it is the reminiscing about what used to be.  And what could have been.  And being single again.  But as mentioned in past blog posts – I have no intentions of getting into another relationship other than simple friendship.  So what the heck is up with my crazy emotions?!
At any rate – I am thankful for the people God has placed in my life.  And for the special times/connections that I have.  I am thankful that God has always had my back…..after all we are family.
Speaking of God having my back…I have been experiencing much favor of late.  I believe the reason is not that I’m ‘doing’ the right thing now – as that would be relying on my works rather than His grace.  But rather that I am believing that He has already provided everything I need and so much more.  I only have to learn to receive His gifts!
So thank You, Father for always being there for me and mine!

QUOTES FROM POSITIVE THINKERS

“A real friend never gets in your way–unless you happen to be on the way down.” — Wayne Dyer

“A true friend is someone who is there for you when they rather be anywhere else.” — Len Wein

“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better.” — Pat Riley

“The greatest achievement is to outperform yourself.” — Denis Waitley

And finally: “God, grant me the serenity to ACCEPT the PEOPLE I cannot change, the courage to change the one I CAN, and the wisdom to know….it”s ME!” — John G. Miller

Still On My Journey…Learning More…..Sometimes With My Heels Dug In…..

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I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything since May – and here it is October! A lot has been going on for sure. Some of it has been tough, but I lean heavily on God and He always sees me through!

As mentioned in this previous post, my daughter and son-in-law moved down south.  They are doing well though we are all missing each other like crazy.  My daughter had some serious home-sickness going on for a bit – but I think she is doing better now.

They both came back up a few weeks ago for a visit.  While here, many of their friends came out to the house for a little party.  It sure was fun seeing everyone together again!  And most recently they were here for the wedding of ‘my other daughter’ – as you may have read on previous posts….she is my daughter’s best friend.  They call each other ‘sister’ and I’m ‘Mom’ to her.

I also mentioned that the new job I got after being laid-off was not very enjoyable.  I didn’t want to complain about the job I had after losing the other one…but I was miserable.  I didn’t want to come across as being ungrateful. It was during this time though, that I started learning that I was not leaning on God as much as I thought.

I was so ‘worried’ about being laid-off that I grabbed the first job that came along rather than praying about it and relying on God to open doors for me.  Again, which has been typical in my life, I was trying to be in control and manipulate my situation.

If you read this earlier post of mine, then you will understand my thought process here.  Of course it wasn’t until after I started the new job and began to reflect on my situation that I came to realize that I was still struggling with ‘unbelief’. Though I had faith that God would provide, my unbelief came about in thinking that I needed to jump on that job because there might not be another offer rather than waiting on Him.  So I spent almost 6 months in a job that I was unhappy with and that was not a good fit – for me or the employer.

During this time, I kept studying and learning about God’s grace and His desire to provide for us, His children.  Most recently it dawned on me….

Just as an earthly parent, God does not want His children to suffer, be ill, in pain or live in poverty.  He wants only the best for us.  I have always said I believed that….but I think deep down I always felt like I wasn’t living up to whatever it was in my mind that I thought I should be or be doing for Him.  I felt that because I was ‘failing’ or falling short of what I thought He wanted….then why would He shower me with abundance?  If I couldn’t take care of the little, why would He give me more?

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not talking about doing ‘works’ in order to get to heaven.  But just as with my own children….they may do things that are not what I would choose for them…and they may even disappoint me from time to time.  But would I want them to suffer, do without, hurt?  No way!  So why would I assume God would be any different?

I heard someone say that maybe we shouldn’t be asking God for ‘just enough’ – meaning, why do we ask Him for things like giving us just enough to live comfortably, or feel better, or pay our bills?  We are children of God.  We were made righteous by Christ.  So we should claim it!  We have power through Christ!

So I recently sat down and had a lengthy conversation with my Father.  And I laid it all at the feet of my Savior. It finally made sense to me! I gave thanks.  I cried. And rejoiced.  And cried some more.  But afterwards I felt so much lighter and I could definitely feel a difference.  The burdens were gone.

Very shortly after that…things started happening for me:

First of all, I hurt my back carrying something at work that was WAY to heavy.  And I was laying in bed on the 3rd night of the worst pain I have ever been in.  But through the misery – I kept repeating thanks over and over for the healing.  And sure enough, the pain went away without seeking medical care.

Every time I found my mind wanting to head down in the dumps or start with the negative thoughts – I would correct myself and say thanks to my Father.  I gave thanks for my healing (we are healed by his stripes….) and thanks for His provision. Let me tell you….it was not – and still isn’t – a natural or automatic thing for me.  I am so used to thinking ‘here we go again’ or something negative…and then gearing up to deal with it.  So, I have had to repeat many, many times that I do not have to carry the burden….God’s got this!

Next, I got a call from someone that I have always considered a mentor of mine.  I had worked with him in the past and though we parted ways years ago, I would still do some ‘virtual assistant’ jobs for him from time to time.  I also know his boss – the owner of the company in which he works now – from that same time period in our past.  He asked me to stop in to help them with some personnel issues.  I agreed.

When I got there, both of them were there telling me about how some things had changed within the company – and they wanted to offer me a job!!!  You have to understand – I have wanted to work for them for years!  And here it was, out of the clear blue, being offered!  Needless to say, I accepted the job.

Within the first week – I was given a raise…to cover the healthcare premiums – so that it wouldn’t cut into my take home pay. Can you believe that!?  I was also assured that I would be getting my pay bumped up very soon.

Then came the realization that I was most likely going to lose my insurance on my home – due to ‘forgetting’ (Fibro Fog) to pay it…and my first check was coming in exactly one week later than the cut-off date.  Again I found myself starting to get stressed.  But I reminded myself that God’s got this….and I was just along for the ride.

Sure enough – no quicker had those thoughts crossed my mind when my boss asked me how I was with the gap between my last job’s payday and this one.  I told him I was figuring it out.  He told me to give him a figure and he would advance it to me.  I did.  He did.  When I asked about re-paying it…..I was told not to worry about it right now.  So, house insurance was paid – literally within 4 hours of it being cancelled!

For many – this may sound like small potatoes….but for me – this is huge!  For the first time in my life, I feel that things are going to be good for me!  I no longer feel like I screwed up and therefore it is what it is!  Of course there will still be things to come up and I will probably have to remind myself another few hundred times to let things go….but I’m confident that it will become easier as I’m growing and learning more!

Next on my list is my health – again, I’ve spoken with God about this and I am confident that my body is repairing itself and I will no longer suffer.  For now, I find that when I’m getting caught up in the ‘unbelief’ – my Fibro starts acting up.  Once I claim healing and refuse to worry about the situation the symptoms recede.  I believe that for now this is my little reminder to help get me back on track.  But I also fully believe that I am healed and that my healthy body will manifest once I learn to accept the gift given to me.

And finally…..relationships.  I’m not sure where I’m going here yet.  But I’m trusting God to lead me.  At the moment, with all of the pain and mistrust I’ve experienced in this area….I do not want an intimate relationship with another man…ever!  But at the same time, I find myself lonely and wishing for companionship.  However, I will wait on my Father and see what He has in mind for me.  Maybe it’s more than I can ever dream of…..or maybe I’m not supposed to have another man in my life….either way, I’m good with that.

F.R.O.G. = Fully Relying On God…..that’s the fun part….once you learn to relax and go with it!

Bittersweet Life Events

Lots of things have taken place of late (since March).  All have been quite emotional and has taken me on quite the journey of soul-searching and learning.

Without notice, my employer laid several people off – and I was included in that group.  My supervisor called me while I was on vacation to break the news to me.  The layoffs were effective immediately.

I found myself having to work through quite a few emotions during that time.  I’ve been laid-off before…but this one hit me a little differently.  If you have read previous posts – you know that I’ve struggled to get back on my feet after the divorce.  I literally had nothing financially – I was living paycheck to paycheck.  The day that I got the call was also a payday.  And that was the day I had been working towards – I FINALLY got out of that dreadful financial hole and was looking forward to breathing a little easier – until I got the phone call, that is.

So, needless to say, it took the wind out of my sail – as the saying goes.  I was devastated.  I found myself starting to worry about what I was going to do.  I was also a tad bitter.  You see, I was the ONLY person in my entire department who was cross-trained in all other positions.  Therefore, it didn’t make sense that I was one of them to go.  I learned later that the decisions were strictly on a whim made by the owners who had no real clue as to who did what….rather they went with the good old ‘seniority’ excuse. Hmph!  I also have some other emotions tied up in this – but I choose not to dwell on them and therefore, I won’t bother with them here.

For the most part – I only allowed myself to ‘grieve’ my loss for 3 days.  No more.  No wallowing allowed.  I immediately started the process for filing for unemployment (which I have never done before) and job searching.  

I was given a small severance package of 4 weeks’ pay when I was laid off.  So – God took me on a journey of trust and faith.  Not knowing how long I might be unemployed – I didn’t want to take a chance of losing my home.  So I took the severance and was able to completely pay off my mortgage (no, the pay wasn’t that huge….I was just that close to being finished with the note).  That left just enough to get me through about a month if I was careful.

During this time, I completely kept my eyes on my Savior and trusted Him fully to take care of me and my son.  It was actually a very pleasant and healing time for me.  My health improved.  I relaxed for the first time in ages.  It was wonderful!

It all came to a close WAY to quickly for me!  But exactly to the day that I ran out of money (unemployment had not kicked in yet) – I started a new job – though the pay was considerably less than I was making in my previous job.  This is as I suspected – I was going to have to accept a lower paying job because they just aren’t paying around here anymore.  But  I’m so grateful that it all worked out.  I thank God for always taking good care of me/us!

I must admit though – I find myself feeling a little down from time to time.  Some people will not understand this next part – but it is how I feel. You see, I have always thought that I would marry and have a husband who took care of me and our family.  Again as you know if you have read other posts here – that has not worked out for me.  That still saddens me.  Don’t get me wrong – I am not a gold digger or anything.  But I sure didn’t think that I would be in the position that I am now, at my age, in having to take a job because of money and the need to make ends meet rather than because I love it.  And honestly…..I’m tired of being the one to carry that burden.  

Another emotional roller coaster I’ve been on lately – is the care of my son this summer.  I’ve always had him in an excellent childcare facility during the summer.  My daughter went there when she was young as well.  However, with all of the above-mentioned issues – I simply am not in a position to pay for the childcare this year.  My ex-husband is the type of person to cut costs no matter what – so I could not count on him to take up the slack.  He did however agree to keep our son this summer.  You see, he now owns his own computer repair business.

Under normal circumstances – this would be a perfect solution.  But – in reality what that means is that my dear 8 year old son will be sitting in front of a computer monitor day in and day out for 9+ hours each playing some pretty graphic military computer games (that I do not approve of).  There is no talking to the ex about this – been there, done that.  He won’t listen nor cooperate.

In addition to that, my daughter and her husband have made the decision to move out of town.  Initially, I was excited for them – believing that they have so many more opportunities there than here.  As a matter of fact, if it weren’t for my father living here – and my not wanting to leave him alone – I would probably live down that way too.

But now, with one week left to go before the big move, I am finding myself feeling lonely and sad already.  Yes, I know, I know….it’s to be expected.  As a matter of fact, I did the same thing when I was her age – except I moved out of state.  I remember my dad calling me once to ask me to call more often because my mom was down in the dumps all of the time.  I did.  And I made it about 5 years before I came back to Texas…to home.

And finally….though I do not ever want to complain about what God has provided….I find myself feeling down about my new job.  It seems that a majority of the people there are unhappy employees.  I have worked in that type of atmosphere before and don’t care to do it again.  It is too emotionally draining.  I keep telling myself that it is simply people struggling to adjust to growing pains of the company and to change.  But the longer I’m there….the harder it gets to keep saying that.  So I pray that God will lead me….that He will guide me in the direction I should go.

On a positive note though:

One:  It’s Memorial Day weekend!  Woohoo!  May God bless all of our military – those who protect us now and those who have protected us in the past.  Thank God for all who have served and died.

Two:  It has been raining for 3 days now!  We have been in drought conditions for a few years now – so this has been a great blessing!  They say we would need 18+ inches within the next 6 months to pull us out of the drought – which is doubtful……but hey, at least it’s a start!

Take care….see you next time!