Posted in Lessons He Taught Me, Things That Make My Brain Happy

Connected

Something I like about writing is the time I’m able to take, reflecting on my life and processing the ways God has been blessing me. For me, writing is another way I spend time with God. Going on outdoor runs is another way I connect with him.  As I listen to music reminding me of his promises and run through beautiful terrain that has his “fingerprints” all over it, I’m praising him.  I’m keenly aware that he’s with me.  There’s so much evidence in the trees, mountains, the rain and the rainbows, the sun showers that I’ve run through thanking him because he knows how much I love them. He’s smiling down at me as I’m smiling and looking up to Him, praising Him for giving me rest for my soul, filling me with light especially as I do these 2 things.

ARCO IRIS Chuva Sol Natureza Casa Colorido Desktop Backgrounds

In what ways do you feel even more connected to Him than normal? You’ll know what they are when you look forward to it each day.

Posted in Mom Life, Photo Inspiration, Ponderings

The Importance of Fathers

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A long time ago, my father made a commitment to himself that when he got married and had children, he would never break the promise he made to his family. He vowed to my mother and to himself, that he would be the father he grew up wanting to have and he would be the kind of husband to his wife, that his mother deserved.

It chokes me up just thinking about that as I type this.  The weight of pain he felt without his dad in his life and the weight of the pain he saw in his sisters and his mother as they all persevered as best they could without the man who should have had the strength and conviction to carry out his duties, is heavy.  It made my father who he is.  He is strong and determined. He’s always known what his job as a man is and done exactly what needed to be done.  If there were people in his life that may jeopardize the life of his family, he quietly stepped away.  The love he has for his family is evident on his face when he looks at us after we accomplish something he had no idea we could do, when he watches my sister and I as mothers interacting with our children in loving ways and when he proudly shows up for important events in our lives because he wants to celebrate WITH us.  He’s the kind of father who gets teary-eyed with love for us and lets us see that.  He says, “I love you.” every time we get together and at some point during every phone call and he doesn’t say it in a gruff, dismissive way I’ve heard some men use.  His heart is always in it.

Though, there was pain in his life early on, he allowed that pain to mold him into a better person.  He took it in as a lesson on who he wanted to be and who he did not. He learned how he would do things differently and he followed through. It wasn’t just a fleeting thought or great idea that later got tossed out in the trash because it wasn’t convenient.  And my sister & I were not always easy as teenagers.  We were as stubborn and head-strong as him with a strong sense of what’s right & what’s wrong. (laughing)

It was said to me once, about 8 years ago, that if marriage didn’t work out, my daughter should live with me because daughters need their mothers more.  That is the farthest thing from the truth because my father has made a lasting impression on my life.  Good fathers out there are all molding their daughters into great people just as well as their mothers.

Dads who are reading this, you are so valuable in your children’s lives.  Don’t let the enemy fool you into thinking you are not.  Do not make excuses by thinking, “I haven’t seen my daughter/son in a long time. Well, I won’t dwell on it because I have no control over that.”  You do have a say in the matter.  There are always things you can do if you don’t allow yourself to get into the habit of ignoring the problem.  You can initiate a visit yourself.  You can call.  Don’t let yourself be overcome by self-pity if you’ve made some mistakes.  God gives you the opportunity to be a new man, a better man everyday and there’s always hope to make things right. It will bless you. It will bless your child or children. It will bless the mother of your child if forgiveness has taken place in her heart and if her child is safe.  It will dissolve that pain of rejection a kid feels when their father walks away and views them like an acquaintance.

Fathers, you are just as important as a mother.  A mother and father’s role in their children’s lives have similarities and differences that are all extremely essential to human development.  Don’t forget how important you are.

Psalm 127:3-5
3 Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him. 4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. 5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.

 

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1 Corinthians 16:13
13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

Posted in Mom Life, Things That Make My Brain Happy

Race Day

Well, I’m not quite sure what happened but my last post posted today rather than a couple weeks ago when I wrote it from my mobile phone.  Don’t mean to confuse readers when you all see 2 posts on the same day. One talking about an upcoming race and the second talking about a race that happened yesterday.  Another one of life’s little mysteries, I suppose.

Hope everyone is doing well! I took the day off from work because I can’t put weight on my left leg. Despite that, I’m in great spirits! Yesterday, was a great day!  I woke up at 5:30 in the morning pumped and ready to run my first half-marathon.  I was especially happy because the night before I felt some pain behind and alongside my left leg, near the knee, but when I woke up it was almost entirely gone.  My boyfriend and I had prayed for healing the night before and he also gave me a leg massage to loosen things up a bit.  That combination of things worked well because I was feeling great and so, so relieved that all my training and efforts weren’t sabotaged by stubborn hamstrings.

As I got ready for the race, I listened to praise & worship music by Charity Gayle, Hillsong and a few others.  All I wanted to do was praise my God for healing me and hearing my prayer.  My worries about not being able to get through the race were dissipated.  There’s nothing better than having your hope renewed, right?

Once we arrived to the race site, it was so good to see everyone in my group, all stoked and ready to get their run on!  We planned on doing the 2018 New Paltz Challenge in part to support a woman from church who was recently diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s Disease. It would be her first 5k.  Our pastor had t-shirts made that read, “Team Sabrina Parkinson’s Awareness” with 2 people running in the background and a large tulip overtop, which is the symbol for PD. Our running together was a message to Sabrina and all of us, that we’re in this together.  We do life together, fighting the good fight and running the race faithfully, until completion. (literally & figuratively)

Hebrews 12:1 New International Version (NIV)
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

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We looked pretty excited, did we not? In our group, though not everyone arrived in time for this particular picture, we had 9 people running the 5k and 3 of us ran the half-marathon.  Pastor Scott, his wife and I started our race at 7:30 AM.  Now, can I just mention how happy I am that races this long, start so early before it gets extremely hot outside?!  We couldn’t ask for a better morning to run.  It was nice and cool out. No humidity. Breathing was not a challenge.  We were almost taken out by a senile, old man trying to exit his apartment complex, however.  He slowly drove the front end of his car right towards 600 runners heading for the starting line, but luckily a few volunteers stepped out, insisting that he turn around and exit another way.  It was sort of an interesting way to start out.  I was silently worried about him, wondering if he should really be driving anymore.

Anyhow, the half-marathon went well! The course was definitely more challenging than expected but I kept my pace (something I worked hard on during the last couple months of training) and didn’t let the hills scare me.  I developed a new strategy I call “looking down at the ground while running uphill” so I wouldn’t focus on how far I still had to run uphill and just focused on keeping pace.  It worked! That and thinking about the movie Finding Nemo, reminding myself to “just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.” My strategies were very technical.

When I finally completed 13.1 miles, I was just so relieved to cross that finish line and hear the DJ (is that what I should call him?) announce, “Angela Phillips finishes the race at 2:21:5! Great job!” I saw my boyfriend, my daughter and my friend Heather standing on a hill smiling and waving at me. I mustered up an exhausted smile and walked over to a volunteer who handed me a bottle of water (oh, thank, God!) and my first medal for running.  I tried to keep walking so that I could cool down properly like I normally do, but I felt a little strange.  I tried to fight it and push through but my legs were weak. a I was also light-headed.  Cooling down was not going to happen. Standing was good enough as Makayla walked over and gave me a loving hug.  Then, Drew was there and we were laughing, “I made it…” And he said, “I know, I can’t believe you did it!” He looked so proud and happy for me.  Then, my father was standing next to me, “Ange! I can’t believe you did it either!” More laughter from all of us, mostly because we were relieved and the look on their faces really meant so much to me.

So, I should probably end this post with the paragraph above but that’s not quite how the race ended. (I’m laughing, just so you know.)  After the race, I was so tired, all I wanted to do was sit down to stretch, drink some water and use my first GU energy gel. I was in serious need of electrolytes and amino acids.  My leg muscles were tight and I was afraid I might faint.  Thanking God again, for something else–GU energy gel. It came to the rescue like nobody’s business.

While the GU helped with the lightheadedness, it didn’t help with my legs.  When I tried to stand up, my left leg was suddenly in so much pain, I almost collapsed! My father and Drew caught me.  My hamstrings were so tight I couldn’t straighten out my leg while putting weight on it.  Has this ever happened to you? If so, what do you do for it?  I’ve been icing that leg for 20 minutes on and off, resting, doing light leg exercises in my sister’s pool and laughing at myself as I crawl from room to room.  Despite the pain, we all had a great Father’s Day with family.  It actually made the rest of our day pretty hilarious!

 

img_20180617_105540_499-506224250441429640.jpg                                  This is a picture of my daughter & I before my near collapse.

img_20180617_113312_491-1-1770915349.jpgAnd, this is the sweet, nurturing guy who went to get his car and move it as close to me as possible while my awesome father and daughter helped me slowly hop over on the good leg.

It was all good! God answered my prayers for healing so I could run the whole race I had set out to do months ago AND he provided many opportunities for laughter and bonding afterwards.  God Bless!

 

 

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 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.