Tag Archive | Love

“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.

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!

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!

MOTHER’S DAY EMAIL I JUST RECEIVED…

I just got the following email from my daughter who is almost 22 and getting ready to move to another part of the state in about 3 weeks:

Mom,

I wanna take this time to tell you just how much you mean to me. This Mother’s Day is gonna be a very bitter sweet day. I want to make it a very special one.

We are about to start a new journey and we are so excited we can’t hardly stand it. But, one thing has me very scared and sad, I won’t be close to you. Looking through cards and gifts for Mother’s day caused me to tear up at everything I looked at and made me realize just how much I will miss you.

You have been there for me through thick and thin. You have always supported me and pushed me to be the best I could be. You have helped me through emotional triumphs and with my faith. You did absolutely everything right! You couldn’t have possibly done anything better for me. You have given me everything even when we had nothing. You made my life perfect!

It started out with just you and I, by ourselves, then we welcomed K— and A—- to the group. I love them both but I will never be as close to them as I am to you. It was just us for so long that we share a special bond that I would NEVER trade. You are my best friend and the world’s best mother.

You have had a bad hand and I can’t explain to you how unfair that is and how it hurts me to see you get that bad hand. I do know that only you would have the strength to withstand it all. I hope that when I become a mother that I will have even half the strength you have. I hope to lead my children down the right path to God just as you have lead me. You and I have been through so much and I can’t tell you how grateful I am for every single one of those moments.

I wanted to let you know just how much you mean to me for Mother’s Day and there is plenty more to come. I just wanted to give a little piece of how I feel. We will have to have face time dates and look at going to women’s conferences once a year. I want K— to come with us to those but sometime I want to go on Mother Daughter trips just the two of us, the original team.I love you Mom, more than you will every know.

Thought-Provoking Movie Night

Movies.  I have watched a couple of movies recently that really touched me.  Movies that had me coming away still thinking about them and I thought I would share some of those thought with you.

The first was called ‘The Intouchables’ – a 2011 movie and based on a true story – full of meaning and humor.  It is about a quadriplegic who hires a young man to be his caregiver – who at first glance would not be your typical caregiver.  This movie reminds us not to ‘judge a book by its cover’ in so many ways.  First of all – the young man from the projects has more skills and abilities than those who are supposedly ‘qualified’ for such a position – but he also brings other things too.  He tells it like it is and is very up front about everything.  This is refreshing for the quadriplegic who is tired of the way people see and treat him.  He appreciates that the young man doesn’t ‘see’ him as unable or crippled.  He ‘sees’ him like anyone else.

The two men grow close and the story allows you to see how each one cares for the other in different ways.  It also shows us that though our lives are busy and full – we shouldn’t forget those less capable of the simplest of things like walking or feeding ourselves.  They still have life in them too.  They still have feelings and desires and dreams.  And, they have much to offer if we only slow down a bit and pay attention.  And maybe that is why this movie touched me.  Suffering from Fibromyalgia means that I am not able to participate in all of the things that I would love to do.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be included or at least invited to activities.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to spend time with my friends and family….but I may need to make some adjustments to when, where or how.

The second movie is a recent movie by Kirk Cameron called ‘Unstoppable’.  I was excited when I heard this movie was coming out because I have really enjoyed the Christian movies that Kirk has been involved in such as ‘Fireproof’ – which was awesome!  I have to say that I was initially disappointed in this one though.  I appreciate Kirk’s efforts in what he was trying to get across…..but it just took too darn long to get there!  My daughter and I kept sitting there wishing he would hurry up and get to the point.  And honestly, there were some aspects of the movie that we never did understand the purpose of it – he must have been thinking on a much deeper level than we were – Ha!  But I understand that he was trying to present this in a manner to help those who may not be Christians as well as food for thought to those who are Christians.

Ultimately, Kirk is trying to explain some sort of ‘answer’ to the age-old question of ‘Why did God allow (fill-in-the-blank tragedy) to happen?’  For instance, why do kids die of cancer or why did someone die in a car wreck.  I’m not going to provide his ultimate explanation – which really leaves the viewer to draw their own conclusions – but I do have some thoughts about some of the things he mentioned.

First of all – he referenced cemeteries as being called ‘Gravegardens’ – and though I haven’t actually been able to find that specific terminology pertaining to cemeteries (I ran across Grave Fields once), I like the term.  While using various stories from the bible he suggested that when one passes away we become seeds that scatter in the wind – and that it is part of the process for growing elsewhere.  Basically he was saying that we all have a time here before moving on to the other.

But this triggered some other thoughts for me.  I’m thinking – aren’t we supposed to ‘plant seeds’ in this life?  So it seems to me that maybe we scatter the seeds and touch lives of others while we are here on this earth.  We all have a specific ‘allotment’ for whatever God’s purpose is – and when we are done – is it our time to move on?

Think about it.  Just think of how those miraculous children with cancer touch our lives.  As a society we are always amazed at how strong they are and how happy they are though they are going through so much or how full of faith they always seem to be!  They inspire us to be better.  They cause people to consider their own belief systems and their own life situations.  I firmly believe that they touch more lives in their limited lifespan than many of us who live many more years.

Everyone has a purpose – and maybe some don’t even realize what purpose they serve.  But in the end – who is to say that they have not fulfilled their purpose and it is now time for them to move on to their next adventure with their Creator?  Grave Gardens – where God’s flowers are planted so they can bloom into the next season.

Okay – maybe this sounds cheesy…..but I like it.  I would rather think something like that than to try to ‘convince’ myself once more that ‘they are in a better place now’ and yet not feel comforted.  We always say that don’t we?  ‘They are in a better place’ or ‘They are no longer suffering’ – which does help some….to a point.  But then what?

So for me I like this little picture I now have.  I know that we will never understand God’s reasoning behind everything – but for me this helps to paint a picture that provides a bit more comfort in the ‘unknown’.

To sum it up – the movie/documentary is extremely slow at getting to the point.  And then I’m not sure what the final outcome is for everyone – make up your own mind with the food-for-thought that Kirk provides.  But I am glad that I watched it.  I like that it provided some thoughts that had never occurred to me before.  I like that it stuck with me afterwards……for me, that is a sign of a good movie!

SO – have you seen either movie?  If you have – what are your thoughts?

Can You Believe It Is 2014?!

It’s 2014…..can you believe it!?  Another year has flown by already.  This year will mark many changes for me – some of them will be bittersweet.

I’m not one to do New Year’s resolutions or anything like that – for me it has always simply been a new number on the calendar and that was it.  But not this year – not 2014.  Why?  Let me tell you…

My 21-year-old daughter and her hubby have finally made the decision to move out of town.  They are moving to ‘the big city’ in search of fulfilling their dreams.  I don’t blame them.  As a matter of fact, I told my daughter that recently.  She mentioned moving and wondering what it would be like and whether there would be more opportunities.  I told her that if I were her age and had the chance – I would give it a try.  They don’t have children right now and they aren’t tied to a mortgage….so now is the time to go and spread wings!  Of course at the same time, I will miss them terribly.  And it will be weird not having her so close.

Of course I will have a good excuse for getting my tail out of town once in a while – that’s exciting!  But it will be hard.  I feel that she is my strongest ‘connection’ I have to another earthy being.  Don’t worry – I don’t mean that I am all-consumed with my daughter and her life….she lives her own life here and I don’t interfere.  But we are close – we are friends and we are in a good place with each other.

2014….here we are a mere 14 days into the year and my poor son has had quite a tumultuous beginning.  He just turned a big 8 years old!  Side Note: Do you know how hard it is to have a great Christmas for a child and then turn around and have a memorable birthday in less than 10 days afterwards!? Ugh!

So my little fella had a rough time starting this year.  He keeps telling me that it was ‘the best Christmas ever, Mom!’ – which of course does my heart good.  But my ex-husband and I split up in 2010.  Since that time, the ex has been out of the country with his new love during Christmas on into the beginning of January each year.  That means he has missed our son’s birthday. 

This year, his father decided to stay in town/country and have his honey join him here.  He then decides that he is going to basically take over the birthday party planning – and I let him….let him foot some of the cost for a change!  Long story short – dad had his times wrong about when he set the party up at the facility – so many of the guests arrived too early.  Here we are – my son, my daughter and myself – trying to work something out with the people at the facility to accommodate the guests early…..and dad was nowhere in sight (he arrived late). Then we discover that the party room was set up for a girl…..so they had to take the decorations down and re-do everything real quick.

Then when they finally got around to the birthday cake – my ex’s family has a tradition of smashing your face in the cake – don’t ask me why…I never have understood it.  My son experienced this when he was 2 yrs. old and the look on his face broke my heart – they all speak Spanish and my son and I do not….so he had no clue that they were going to do it or why.  So at this year’s party, dad sticks to the tradition – and again, my son is bewildered….but also embarrassed because here are all his friends seeing this and laughing…..and again he has no idea why it is done.  He then comes running out of the room to look for me (I had taken a child to find his mother) with cake on his face and crying.

After the party – it was planned that our son would stay the night with his dad and come home the following day.  When he arrived home the following evening I discovered that he and his father had it out….apparently it was like a war zone at his house.  Sadly, at 8 years old, my son told his daddy that he hated him and never wanted to stay with him again.  Since then, dad has called to apologize and I even took him by dad’s place to drop off some papers thinking it would give them a chance to visit.  Nope.  My son is simply not interested right now.

And finally, to top things off – my son came down sick this week and has had to make a visit to the doctor’s office.  Let’s hope it gets better for him soon!

In addition to all of this…..I will be turning the big 5-0 this year.  Now how depressing is THAT!?!?!?!  I don’t FEEL like I should be that old.  I don’t WANT to be that old.  And it certainly makes you think about life.

I have always said that I have no regrets about my life.  Disappointments – yes, but not regrets.  But now I’m thinking there are a few things that I wish I had done differently.  I think that is probably because I had a different idea of where I would be at this point in my life….and honestly, being an overweight, single mom was not even close!

I really didn’t expect to be in a position of having to work full time at this point either.  Now, don’t go throwing rocks at me….but my mom worked because she wanted to and I guess I assumed it would be the same for me.  And I envisioned having a good man in my life who desired to be a friend, partner, lover, supporter and companion.  I think that part is my biggest regret.

I am without a doubt thankful for my children – and had I not been through what I have – they would not exist.  It is because of this that I will never ‘wish’ it didn’t happen…..but I regret that I am not married for the long haul.

And I regret that I allowed myself to be physically unhealthy.  I was always really thin and never had to worry about my weight.  But when ‘something’ in my body changed, I was not prepared.  I didn’t know how to eat healthy and that exercise would be crucial until it was too late.  And try as I might now…..I am having a terrible time at this.  I often wish I had someone to go through the process together with – but I don’t.  So if I do this, I am on my own.

I also thought I would be more financially set by now.  Through the many ordeals of my life and starting over so many times….I have nothing.  I live paycheck to paycheck.  I am putting some into a retirement plan….but too little too late if you ask me. 

On the flip side of all of this though….

For the most part, I am happy.  I enjoy my family though I wish we could spend more time together.  I like my job.  I have my own home and transportation (though it is pretty iffy at times – LOL) and I’m still kickin’!

So every day I thank my Father above that I am surviving.  I thank Him for taking care of us and for what I believe is headed our way.  I don’t give up and I never will.

Here’s to hoping that you too, dear reader, will have a very blessed 2014!