Posted in Mom Life, Photo Inspiration, Things That Make My Brain Happy

Take Care of Yourself In Order To Care For Others

 

Hi everyone, today is the day to share with you some images I took at the park a couple weeks ago.  I love the views at this particular park I just stumbled upon.  It was so serene and beautiful I felt a entranced by the lighting, the slow movement of the water, the birds chirping and just the peaceful feeling of the place.  Maybe you need to feel that calm right now. Have you had a week like mine possibly?  Maybe your son or daughter is at that age where they’re giving you some pushback, trying to assert themselves too much or speaking to you like you couldn’t possibly know a thing from all your life experience.  It’s tiring, isn’t it? Lord, help us with our children!  I keep asking him for instruction on how to deal with a preteen who is goofy & affectionate and then insolent & angry because I tried to make conversation when her song was on in the car.  I find myself thinking a lot, “Is this what I was like?” and “I don’t remember acting like this at eleven.”

Life can be a lot like a rollercoaster, can it not?

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Photo by Angie on Pexels.com

The photos at the top of my blog post remind me to slow down, breathe, be still & know who God is, to turn off the TV, computer, cell phone, radio, podcasts, whatever… And to allow God to relax me with His views.  That first picture on the top reminds me to keep walking down the straight and narrow path and to keep following Him. It’s peaceful and brilliant.  I can remember hope and wonder filling my lungs as I explored the path; getting stronger with each step.  Ahhh, I love that relaxation I get when I’m outside.

It’s important to make time to take care of ourselves so we’re restored when we return home.  Like I did that day I went for a walk at a new park and shot these photos. We’re able to respond better to the challenges there when we take some time to breath and be alone with Him.  And if we can squeeze some time in to exercise, man, is that helpful!!  I went to the gym today and came back feeling like I could conquer anything.  Or do something artistic while listening to a great Christian book or a sermon.. I love it.  It calms my soul.  When I make the time, I don’t feel like I’ve completely lost myself in everyone else’s needs because I had that time I needed to be God’s daughter.

Sometimes, the stress of being a parent can leave us feeling like that one photo up top with the 2 gnarly trees.  Those 2 trees interest me because of their uniqueness.  They’re not your average trees.  They look a little complicated like our thoughts when kids test us and we’re trying to quickly figure out the best way to straighten things out. When things start to get complicated and you find the right time to sneak off and get with God, that’s not a selfish thing, that’s a necessary thing.  I know that about myself.  My time with God will lead me to feeling like that last picture on the right.  See the peaceful waters? I need the peaceful waters for a little while before I jump back in.

We all do.

 

 

 

Posted in Lessons He Taught Me

A Change In Plans

It has been a very long time since I have written a blog post. I can hardly believe how long I’ve gone since sitting down to write. According to WordPress, the last day I posted something was on April 15th. Wow!
Today, is another rainy day in NY and I am finding it very soothing and peaceful. After a long stressful week at work, I am enjoying this time to recuperate in solitude. It is so, so nice. I don’t know about you, but I love listening to the rain as I write. I had to open my kitchen window before making myself comfortable on the couch so I could hear that cathartic sound. It makes me so aware of God and nature close by that my body just naturally relaxes. If you would have asked me at eighteen, if I’d one day get up at 6:30 on a Saturday morning to enjoy some time to myself, I would have said, “Heck no!” In those days, I’d sleep in until eleven. It’s interesting how we all end up doing a lot of the things we believed we’d never do, but, hey, we weren’t parents yet. How could we know how nice it is to do things without so many distractions? To just sit and be quiet in our thoughts? Priceless!

When I woke up this morning and read that a couple of events I was planning to participate in were canceled, I was initially a little disappointed. I had plans to go hiking with the women’s group from church and I’m just so happy to have some new people to go hiking with. I love meeting new people and I love hiking in new places. There are so many beautiful places to explore. God definitely gave me the heart of an outdoorsy person who thrives on adventure and exploring the wonders of what he’s created. And it is so much fun to do with other people who are equally in awe. I guess, it will just have to wait for another time. I’m seeing the beauty in being lead in another direction for this day. Time to rest is a good thing. This Saturday is a true blessing from God.

Psalm 29: 10,11 “The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”

Posted in Lessons He Taught Me, Mom Life

Complete

via Complete

I wasn’t going to write tonight, after spending a lot of time editing another post, but then I decided to search up posts about cancer–having a lot on my mind–and I found this title below:

“Cancer Is Completing My Life, Making It Whole”: The Blogging Journey of Julie Yip-Williams”

I started reading an excerpt from her blog and felt like someone’s hand was tightly squeezing my heart and throat. I thought I might break down in tears but the feeling just froze in place like I was holding my breath. I kept reading like a voracious animal that hadn’t eaten in days, wanting to understand her full journey from her perspective, hoping that it would help me to understand my own.

Just the title alone, I could relate to. Finding out you have cancer, whether it is the non-aggressive kind that I have which is said to move at a snail’s pace for most or the aggressive stage 4 colon cancer that this person had, really does complete your life in a way that would make most people wonder. It’s not exactly what people would shout joyously from the rooftops if cancer was a person. “You complete me!” is reserved for unrealistic romance movies not true life lessons.
Well, it completes your life like this. You never know if the cancer will be conquered by intense medical treatment, powerful prayer & the provision of God or if God will allow it to take it’s course teaching you a lot along the way and preparing you to meet Him face to face. It completes you because you do so much soul searching and leaning into God. You don’t put off things that God has been telling you to do anymore. You make time to do it because you understand that life is but a vapor. You could literally be here one day and not the next. You think about what kind of legacy you want to leave behind; how you want people to remember you. You want people to know that you love them and that you’re happy for their happiness; that you didn’t forget them. It completes you because you start to appreciate things differently instead of constantly rushing passed and somehow through that, you live fully. You take the time to smell the roses. And, I take the time to thank God for everything like the mountains after an energizing hike and a waterfall that mysteriously woke me up with it’s beauty and the way my daughter’s face lit up when she saw her completed birthday cake saying softly, “Wow, that’s really cool, Mom..”

Even though I don’t always feel good, in a lot of ways I live life more completely than people who criticize so much around them because I’m busy filling up my life with serving God and working on accomplishing things that will teach my daughter how important it is to do your best with fervor. To show her how important it is to fight your hardest out of love for your luvs. God gives me the drive to push when I’m tired but also reminds me to rest when it’s time to rest. Depending on Him so much, completes me. When I’m chasing love, I can learn the lessons God wants to teach me because I’m searching with everything in me.

You should read what Julie Yip-Williams had to say. She said it much better, being in the thick of it. https://julieyipwilliams.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/complete/

My own journey is really different than hers, of course.  I’m in stage 1A of Cutaneous T-cell Lymphoma and the majority of people diagnosed with CTCL live just as long as anyone else. I’m basically living with a chronic disease like other people that don’t have the word lymphoma in the name of their ailment. The word scares me and I’d like to give it away to a trash can but at the same time it’s forced me to make better choices and to lean into God even more. Experiencing His presence and that closeness is living life to the fullest.
The exhaustion is hard and so are the nights when the itchy skin is unbearable. I wish I could shed my skin & grow new healthy skin along with a healthy lymphatic system. I hate going to work so lethargic and not remembering things as quickly as I want to. I can get moody and sometimes I just want to be alone so people won’t think I’m an airhead or a grump. I am learning perseverance on a deeper level & trusting God to get me through, though. I know God is with me even when I’m too tired to smile and I don’t feel like I’m radiating his light like I want to. I’m more whole because I’m not neglecting my soul for things that don’t give me everlasting life.

I hope this blog post helps someone to feel a little less alone and to realize that even when a family member or friend is going through the biggest trial of their life, they can also be moving through the best parts of their life because God is completing them and if they’re a believer, they are likely feeling a connection with God that is quite beautiful & reassuring beyond words.

 

 

Posted in Happy Little Photos, Miss Sassypants, Mom Life, Photo Inspiration, Ponderings, Uncategorized

Is She Eleven Already?

 

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“Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.  Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.” -Psalm 127:3-4

My daughter’s birthday was last week.  Every year, we celebrate for three days.  We celebrate on the day of her birthday at home & at school by bringing in cupcakes or buying “birthday cookies”, she has a friends party and a family birthday party.

This year we celebrated a little differently.  For the day of her actual birthday, we went shopping for a fun outfit she could wear for the celebration with friends and then I ended up buying her a new purse, trendy sunglasses with blue tinted lens and a charcoal mask to try out together. When we got home, I made her tacos because it’s one of her favorite dinners while she made some cool cupcakes that were completely her own invention to bring to a church potluck.  While everything cooked, we took 20 minutes to lay on the living room floor, allowing our masks to dry and taking some time to meditate on the beauty of being still. Ahhh, why don’t we do that more often?

On birthday celebration #2, my boyfriend & I took her to the city with 2 of her close friends.  We knew every step of the way these animated–loud– kids would be bouncing all over the place, unable to contain their excitement. We were so right! We started out the day by taking them to our favorite deli to pick up breakfast for eating on the train.  As we predicted, just going to the deli was super fun for them–they were so silly, I couldn’t get one picture without contorted faces.  It was not possible for them to calm down and pose pretty.  I really couldn’t blame them.  I’d been looking forward to all of our fun plans all long week, too.

Once we made it to the train station, the girls linked arms and practically skipped to the ticket machines. The train ride was fun but we could have done without the foul-mouthed teenagers sitting in front of the kids.  On the flip side, we also ran into Makayla’s friend from school and her grandmother who I’m friends with.  Something about running into great people I know on the train just makes me happy.

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So, while we were in NYC, we walked out to The Highline that runs from Chelsea, Manhattan to the Meatpacking District. The walk was only 34 minutes from Grand Central and we enjoyed the walk, checking out cool stuff along the way, taking pictures, making videos and the gorgeous weather we were blessed with.  Makayla’s favorite part about the Highline was the fun playground they have on the Chelsea side.  It’s made out of recycled beams from the former freight train trestle and covered in some sort of people-friendly rubber that looks and feels pretty cool under your feet. The playground also had some cool tunnels that led to this contraption below.

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After we walked and played for awhile, the five of us were pretty hungry so Drew googled some restaurants that were nearby and we ended up eating at New York Burger Co.  The food was REALLY good. We will definitely go there again.  I had this really delicious grilled chicken sandwich the came with some kind of vegan sauce–tasted really good and it was nice to not have to worry about getting sick from any sort of dairy products, corn syrup or rice anything.  And their Idaho Fries where also pretty darn good!

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Just thinking about our time in the city makes me want to go back again very soon!  The Highline is now one of my favorite places to go in the city.  When I go back, I think I want to try the food at either Sugar Factory or The Green Room which is nestled in the heart of the Chelsea Market. I have a feeling I will probably go with The Green Room. The food is organic.

Anyhow, I’m going off topic..it’s getting late and I’m still here at my kitchen table typing to you all as if I don’t have to wake up early tomorrow morning.  I will end with saying that on the third day of my daughter’s birthday celebration, we celebrated Easter & had a small family party for her. My favorite parts of that day where seeing her and my nephews run around my parent’s back yard looking for colorful, plastic Easter eggs and drinking my father’s first bottle of homemade wine with all of the “big people”.  Who knew my father could make such amazing wine?! There was a lot of laughter and great memories made last Sunday.  I feel blessed to have so many great people in my life to celebrate my daughter with.  Children really are a heritage from the Lord and a wonderful reward from Him!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Lessons He Taught Me, Palpating Poetry, Photo Inspiration

Baptism

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Like each individual droplet of water in a waterfall

They gracefully free fall over the edge

Together

Creating something beautiful

With courage from within

With fear and trust at the center

Falling, colliding

Into something bigger than themselves.

Taking the ultimate plunge

Risking it all for the good

Melding together yet uniquely separate

In tandem with his radiant glory.

New life starts here at the end of yourself–

Standing at the brink of old life and new.

It takes certain strength to let go and fall into it.

Falling into his plan and stepping out of your own

Steals your breath.

Adventure seekers take note–

Don’t miss this

The everlasting waterfall

More breathtaking

Than you can fathom.


Posted in Photo Inspiration

Procrastination (co-written with Joseph C. Bagatta)

 

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As soon as I get back on my feet, I’m gonna find good honest work, hold onto it and pull my own weight. The Lord whispered, “Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest.”

The man did not hear him. While sitting on the porch at the end of the next day, he thought to himself, “As soon as this dark cloud lifts, I’m gonna pay down all my debt. Then I’ll feel better.” The Lord spoke softly, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.”

The man felt a slight stirring inside him. He had more strength to accomplish tasks that needed to be done.  He lay in bed that night, feeling good that his spirits had lifted, though he wasn’t quite sure where it came from. He drifted off to sleep thinking, “As soon as my luck returns, I feel like that might be soon, I’m gonna pay back all those who have helped me.”

The following week, after he was given a month of electrical work, he began dwelling on things that had gone wrong for him and he mentioned to a co-worker, “As soon as I get out from under, I’m gonna pay it forward, volunteer and help people around me.” His co-worker replied, “Why wait, man? We’re not promised tomorrow. This life is fleeting. We’re here one day and gone the next!”  That strange stirring danced inside his chest again and he walked off trying to make sense of it.

A month or two later, he was talking to a friend at the diner about life.  After a long conversation, his friend said, “I don’t know, bro, as soon as I can get this monkey off my back, I’m gonna pay all of my past-due child support, reach out to my children, and work on healing broken relationships. None of it’s my fault anyhow but maybe I’ll do something about it.”  The Lord gently whispered to his friend, “Forgive as I have forgiven you. I will help you.”

The man heard but convinced himself he was just tired and needed to get home and get more sleep.  As he was on his couch drifting off he thought, “I don’t know what that was all about but as soon as everyone gets off my back, I’m gonna quit drinking, drugs, smoking and gambling. I can’t do that now with all their nonsense.”  The spirit of the Lord hovered over him as he slept, giving him dreams of becoming a better man who sought the Lord and felt a new zeal for life. He didn’t yet understand that the Lord was giving him a glimpse of his future.

A year later, the man and his friend were talking on their way back to their trucks after work.  The man started out, “I don’t know what’s been happening this past year but something is changing me.  I’ve been seeing how I neglect my wife and how I put off reaching out to my kid from my first marriage.  I can’t stop thinking about it and I don’t know, man, I think it’s God leading me to do something about it.  I look forward to finishing work just so I can make it up to them.”  He stared at his friend for a second, thinking..  For the first time he told someone about his dream.  The Lord whispered to them, “Yes, do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

As the days passed, the friends found that their thoughts began to change.  There were fewer thoughts that began with, “As soon as this changes, I will..”  There was less blaming everyone else for their mistakes or putting off tomorrow to find ways to be better people and serve the Lord.  Amazing things were happening in their lives, no matter how big or small they appeared to other people.  God was moving, leading them to do the right things and they began talking openly about how God pursued them.  Gone were the days when they thought things like, “As soon as I’m living on easy street, I’m gonna..” The quality of their lives improved because they realized God was fueling them with strength. Each time their spiritual tanks ran low, God filled them up again, showing them the fullness of life.

 

 

Posted in Palpating Poetry

Eyes Wide Open

 

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His hands are soft and always warm.

His body radiates heat no matter what the temperature outside.

His eyes are full of jokes or encouraging words.

He strives to be a blessing to everyone in his life, eager to ease any burdens and ready to join me in my spur of the moment plans.

Together, we live out our faith, explore new places and are regulars at all the local Indian and Thai restaurants around us.

As we’ve grown together, it makes more sense, it’s gotten easier to adapt and we are comfortable in our differences.

We know God has made us who we are individually, there’s no pressure to meld into the other.

Only to become more of who He designed us to be, as a son and a daughter of the King.

Only to understand what God is leading each of us to do and to follow the path He has picked.

This is huge.

I’m so aware of God around us.

I want nothing more than to listen closely to the Father as He reveals the great adventure written for me and written for him.

Posted in Happy Little Photos, Miss Sassypants, Photo Inspiration, Ponderings

What Does Freedom Look Like?

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This morning, I was thinking about what freedom looks like to a believer and how we live out our freedom in Christ. I think we get stuck sometimes, thinking about the meaning of this from only one perspective. When we become believers, we learn that we are new creations in Christ, that our sins have been washed away and we have a clean slate with God. The chains have been broken and we are no longer tied to the “old man” that dictated how we live our everyday lives and we now experience freedom in the presence of the Lord, to follow Him and in essence, get a do-over. We have freedom to love and serve others sincerely as God guides us. We have freedom to be who God made us be without our past mistakes bogging us down. We have freedom to choose a godly lifestyle which really frees our spirit.

Then, I was thinking about the Mercy Me song, Happy Dance. Have you heard it? I just heard it for the first time a couple weeks ago. It’s such a great song! The message of the song is that sometimes as Christians, we get so caught up in doing the right things & perhaps coming across as always having it together, that we forget that freedom we also have to dance, to be goofballs & joke around, laugh and enjoy life like a kid! I love this song because it reminds me to not always take everything so seriously that I’m afraid to come across as anything less than perfect.  God is perfect. Human beings are not. While I strive to be more Christ-like, that doesn’t mean that I should never let my guard down or constantly look like a go-getter who’s never short on wisdom.

So, did you notice my wacky picture at the top of this post? This is me, mostly when I’m at home or working with my giggly deaf student at work. This is me being free to be funny, believing that I can be a true servant of the Lord AND let my quirks and sense of humor show.  I don’t want to live in fear that someone may notice my weaknesses or shortcomings.  God knows the real me and He knows who you really are. And He doesn’t grow weary of us. He loves us and is aware of how much we seriously need Him.

This is what freedom in Christ looks like!