~~~~~~~~~ "We are here for only a moment, wanderers and sojourners in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace." I Chron. 29:15 NLT

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Reality of Wandering and Wondering

Ecclesiastes 8:1  "How wonderful to be wise, to analyze and interpret things.  Wisdom lights up a person's face, softening its harshness."  NLT Bible

Hello, blogger friends.  You may be a returning visitor wondering where I've been all these months--again.  Or you're a new visitor who may stop by only once and decide you don't like what you read and see here.  That's okay.  I have my favorite blogs and I've visited blogs that I have bookmarked in hopes of returning because I really liked what I saw, even without knowing the blogger.  But I can't keep visiting all the myriad of blogs I have enjoyed--way too many leaving no time for me to write on my own.

Some bloggers have over a couple hundred followers, sometimes including me.  I don't know if I could handle 400-500 followers.  Not that I need to be concerned about that anyway.  Sometimes, however, I do dream of being the Susan Boyle of bloggers, ha, ha.  Now, that lady has the patience of an angel.  She sang well for years before she appeared on British or American Idol when she finally met her fame.

Ah, well.  I don't seem to have anything that distinctive to crow about.  Music has always been an important part of my life, first of all singing as a child with my brothers and sisters gathered around the old upright piano.  After lunch on Sunday we'd sit or stand in that tiny farmhouse room for a couple of hours and sing our favorite old hymns and some of the newer gospel songs.  My oldest brother would strum along on the guitar as best he could.  My parent's voices would blend in from the living room while they rested contentedly in their easy chairs.

My oldest sister was proficient on the piano because she was the most faithful practicing  her lessons.  She still plays for the church she attends in Paola, Kansas.  My other sister, who is now singing with the angels, could play the piano by "ear."  She was mostly self-taught on all the instruments she played: piano, accordion, auto-harp, banjo, and Dobro guitar.

I was so envious of Mary Jane's ability to play a song in one key and then change to a different key that suited our abilities more that, when I was in middle school, I taught myself how to play by "ear" too.  I was never as good as she was, but it was more fun than stumbling through a song trying to read all the notes in the hymnbook.

Being the youngest of five, two boys and three girls, I had more competition than I could handle trying to find a place to not only fit in, but to excell.  I was always the "baby" of the family until I demanded everyone put a stop to that when I had my own babies.  I guess it wasn't as endearing as they thought it was.

My oldest brother had difficulty in school, but he taught himself mechanical engineering in a course through the mail, and spent most of his adult life being able to fix any manner of cars and farm machinery.  He helped start the Goessel, Kansas Threshing Days and no matter how hot it was, or how lousy he felt from the cancer he fought for over 10 years, he was there operating a steam engine.  One of his most enjoyable accomplishments was building a working, miniature, model steam engine from scratch.  His hands were permanently stained with oil and grease.

My oldest sister was salutatorian of her class.  Our middle brother was valedictorian of his class, and my sister next to me in age had all that musical talent which helped her team up with another musician who played guitar.  They taught their children to sing and play instruments and formed a family bluegrass band, receiving recognition all over Kansas.  Later, I did get to play the upright bass with them.  Teaching myself to play by "ear" paid up big time for me in the fifteen years I sang and played with them.  Our jam and practice sessions on Friday night were the highlight of my week.

Sometimes I feel like that life on the farm was all a dream.  Maybe because I was somewhat dependent on this older bunch of siblings for my identity.  Slowly, one by one, they left and went to college, got a job, and married.  They never came back home to live and relieve the loneliness I felt after they were gone.  I looked forward to their visits and especially to the holidays when we were a family again with love and laughter filling the old home place.

Eventually, I left home too, after my parents and me moved from the farm to retire in Hillsboro. I went to live in Salina and attended Brown Mackie Business School for nine months, but only after I had spent one semester at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas where I started dating my future husband.

I wanted to major in music, but my music-professor counselor talked me out of it.  I felt so foolish that I had thought I was talented enough to make it in music. He told me that if I didn't want to teach I may as well forget the music major. It was a rude awakening after all the accolades I had  received through high school.  My middle school music teacher had worked so very hard to pull and shape what musical talent I had out of the shy, introverted school girl I was.  The fact that I loved playing the borrowed French Horn in the band and wind quintet didn't matter now that I was in the real world.

Feeling completely out of my element, away from the protection of the farm where I had loved growing up, I left the four-year liberal arts college and ended up in business school.  There, I could focus on one realm of studies and move through the classes at my own pace without the pressure of difficult biology and algebra assignments hanging over my head.  The business education gave me the ability to work as a receptionist and secretary for about ten years until I stayed home to raise our son and daughter.

Through the years, I developed an interest in writing and took creative writing classes.  Most of the instructors told me I had talent as a writer.  But I didn't have enough confidence to keep working at writing.  Something else always got in the way:  babies, family, our businesses, teenagers, keeping a home going, scrap-booking, illnesses, enjoying working at the college library, all the minutia of everyday life which kept me from settling down to the one thing that was always in the back of  my mind, and still is!

Why am I spending all this time wandering around in my past?  Because I've been wondering why I've carried a perpetual sense of failure around with me all these years.  I'm trying to understand why many of the people in my life seem to slap me up against the wall when I have a good sense of who I am and what I want to do.  And, most importantly, why do I let them?

So, I'm going to write this blog to wander through my wondering to see who I really am, or want to be.  It's time, and hopefully not too late.  I want to be honest and real.  It's never too late, right?

I'm thinking this blog will be my quiet time.  My time to think about the past, the future, the present and how I live in the present and future from what I've learned from the past. I don't want to keep repeating the same mistakes.  This blog is my time to think about what God wants for me.  And if something I share awakens something in a reader's heart and soul, then let God be glorified!

"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again yet expecting my life to change."  ~chortle~

More wisdom from Ecclesiastes:  6:10  "Don't long for 'the good old days.'  This is not wise."   ~I don't long for them, I want to learn from them~

6:13a:  "Accept the way God does things,...";  

6:14b:  "Remember that nothing is certain in this life."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Trying To Get Back on Track--Again

Ah, well, yes. I'm here as you can see.  I loved the candle background, but it's time for a change.  I like something new and different just because it keeps me from getting bored.

I'm feeling so much better than I did in spite of the fact that the burning pain in my hands, feet, and muscle aches have been unrelenting in the last month or so.  I think the time change has something to do with it.  It's essential that I take medications at the same time daily.  I guess this too shall pass.  It's something how an hour difference can mess with our lives, especially as we get more mature (notice I didn't say "older").

My cats have been giving me funny looks since their feeding schedule isn't making sense to them.  They think I'm nuts--I can see it in their eyes and non-verbals.  I didn't explain Daylight Savings Time to them since they've never understood why we humans mess with things to make life difficult.  I just told them that as both hubby and  I age we get forgetful and a little insane sometimes.  That they understood 'cause they're both past the 10-year mark, which would put them in their seventies--quite a bit older than us.

Forgive me, Sam E. and Bunny.  You act more than a little nuts--especially Bunny, who after a year of trying to get her used to Sam E., still has a hissy-fit which riles him.  I hate having fighting cats indoors.  If anyone can give me a good idea how to get them to be distant friends, I'll try anything once.  As it is now, we schedule the times that they're in the main part of the house so at least they can socialize with hubby and me.

I guess I can understand why Bunny would resent that.  She's never thought of herself as a cat since my daughter and I raised her from infancy when Amy found her in the middle of the street during harvest time.  The other cats which were in our house when she came got used to her instead of she having to get used to them.

I would love to post some new pictures, but we're going to help our daughter get ready for their oldest daughter's seventh birthday party this afternoon.  She had hoped to get a lot done yesterday, but the baby is fussy with teething and Alana came home from school in a bad mood and wouldn't clean her room--just a chain of events like that to prevent her from getting everything ready.

Working on my blog spot to tuning it up to more my liking,  and posting pictures will have to wait for another day.  We'll see about that.  May the Good Lord hold you in the palms of His Hands.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

What Can It Be

I can't put a finger on it.  Could be the after-Christmas doldrums?  I weathered that pretty well, or so I thought.  Maybe it's the January blues, unseasonably warm weather, but I usually like the sunshine and warm temps we've been having.

Or, maybe it's a sense of purposelessness I can't get a handle on.  I'm unfruitful except for the time I spend with the grandchildren, but which I feel less than capable to spend time with.  I look at others filling their days with apparently purposeful work, etc. but what looks like a treadmill to me.

I'm really disorganized.  I start a project in one room and go to another room for something forgetting what it was I wanted on the way, only to return to that original project a couple hours later and think, "oh, yeah, this is what I was doing."  I guess I'm making sense here.

"It" could be that in spite of the warm weather I'm always cold, and that would be my thyroid which has been out of whack, my TSH being on the high side which means I'm not getting enough supplements to make up for my next-to-nothing-gland. You think you're confused?  Usually, this is how I feel, like now, that something very important is missing from my life.  That life is bland; I'm spark-less.

My endocrinologist is finally on my side.  Months ago he told me my TSH test was fine, even though I knew my body was telling me otherwise.  Now, that the test finally proved me right, it's going to take several months to get it balanced--reason enough for this melancholy, right?

Perhaps my feelings are finally catching up with the fact that it was a pretty rough year in 2011, and I'm afraid this one could be really good or it could be even worse...talk about borrowing trouble!  One of the difficulties is not knowing if I'm feeling down because I'm physically challenged or mentally out of sync with my faith. I need to remind myself like I remind others, "This too shall pass."  Is it possible to give God the glory when I'm feeling this awful?  What about this gives Him glory?

I need to go read Debra's, As I See It Now, blog about doing what I need to do to take care of myself and follow those good habits that I've let fall by the way, and I'm finally paying for it physically and mentally.  Also, her 1/09/12 post about insecurities.  Thanks, Debra, for those reminders.

One thing I do know is that if you love praying for troubled people like me, please pray for me now.  I really, really, need it!  We're getting guests tomorrow evening and I have to un-decorate the tree, clean up the kitchen and bathroom and get a good night's sleep.  But don't just feel sorry for my guests, put a little sympathy in there for me too.  I would be most grateful.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Praying for Young Mothers Everywhere

To all the young mothers out there struggling with children who are hyperactive with an abundance of sweets and too many gifts to play with all at once but clutters every inch of your living spaces, I admire you. "Have I (the Lord) not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9 NKJV

The path of least resistance comes so easy, while keeping watch over our child's behavior is hard work. But look at the benefits of either action. Which one reaps the better harvest? We get so tired of having to repeat the same chants every day. "Don't pick on your sister/brother, pick up and put away your ______(whatever fits here), don't pick your nose (don't get the first two confused with this one), what's wrong with your hearing, or what don't you understand about 'NO!?'"

Now, if those "gentle" reminders and requests don't work, resort to shouting or screaming. And if that doesn't make their little jaws drop down to their chests, trying throwing something while shouting their name. (Only, try to throw something soft that won't injure your "lit'l darlin" or break into tiny pieces that humiliate you into sweeping up your own mess). 

The best that can happen during that tirade is the kid gets off his/her bottom and begins helping you. The worst that can happen is the kid(s) starts grinning or laughing. Oh, if you haven't lost it completely by then, that usually does it! The only wise choice here is to take a book (a Bible seems a good choice) and lock yourself in the bathroom to get your blood pressure down and your courage back up. Hopefully you have more than one bathroom so the kid or kids don't regress in their potty training.

Well, yeah, it feels like only yesterday I was a mother, and only a year since I became grandmother to our daughter's four (she might feel that more than me). What kept me from insisting she have only two and no more? She never seemed in the mood to listen to me talk about the gall and bitter sweetness of motherhood. I wouldn't have it any other way of course since she seems to be in love with their children, but is beginning to consider the blessings of not-at-home learning. 

Sometimes, when I hear my daughter trying to discipline those little "hellions" (I always said "not my grandchildren"), I wonder where did she find that voice, and, and, I can hardly bear some of things she's saying in that voice (of course, I exaggerate), and than I hear my own voice with similar words. Oh, no, she learned those disciplinary methods from me?! 

Oh, boy, we did this to our daughter? (Of course, it's "we," she has a Father too, you know.) So then, I realize something. My daughter's too far gone to change--she'd never believe she learned anything from me. It was always she and her daddy you know, pretty much like that today. I'm not jealous or anything, mind you. I've always appreciated the fact that my daughter and her father have a neat relationship, all the jokin' around and laughin' (did I mention that some of the jokes and laughin' are about me, sniff, sniff). 

I'm good for goin' shopping with, but that's not always guaranteed since my walking isn't so great anymore and my spending is dependent on social security, three fourths of which goes to insurance premiums and meds./drugs.

There's only one thing I can do: take one of the grandkids home for a couple of nights and run after them. Well, actually there's another thing I can do--and that is PRAY! I found this acrostic:

How do you pray in the midst of bad times? 
Welcome to Habakkuk, the Hebrew prophet in the seventh century B.C. God taught him how to trust Him when everything is filled with confusion and perplexities. Where is God? What is He doing? Why doesn’t He do something now? Habakkuk sounds like us when life begins to unravel and fall apart.

Habakkuk teaches us how to pray and trust the LORD God when we don’t have the answers. Let’s center our thoughts around an acrostic P R A Y E R.

P – ursue God. That is what prayer is all about. Habakkuk asked, “How long, O LORD, will I call for help, and You will not answer?” (1:1).

R – examine self and confess sin. “LORD, I have heard the report about Thee and I fear. O LORD, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy” (3:1). The prophet confessed his fears and asked God to revive His work. He prays that God’s work, not his own plans, will be renewed. “Renew your deeds; receive your work,” is the prophet’s confession. He was praying for revival.

The only way we dare approach God is in humility and a plea that He be merciful to us. We need to ask God to do a new work in us. In Your wrath please remember us with mercy.

A – ffirmation of what God is doing. The prophet asked God why He wasn’t doing something about the iniquity, wickedness, destruction, and violence in the land. The LORD told Habakkuk that He was busy doing something. “I am doing something in your days – You would not believe if you were told” (1:5).

Y – ield yourself to the LORD God. Habakkuk did not like what he heard God reveal. "Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor. Why do You look with favor On those who deal treacherously? Why are You silent when the wicked swallow up those more righteous than they?" (Habakkuk 1:13, NASB 1995).

This is where the prophet grew in His knowledge of God and understanding of His ways with men. What is God teaching me that needs to be corrected? Let us learn to judge everything in the light of His eternal purpose. “The righteous will live by his faith” (2:4). God is still the eternal God, and nothing catches Him by surprise. Nothing can separate us from His love. It is in those moments we must reaffirm that conviction and yield to His sovereignty.

E – xpect God to answer according to His will. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14, NASB 1995).

In time God will answer according to His eternal purposes. God controls history. The Babylonians did not rise up on their own. God raised them up to accomplish His purposes in the history of Israel. They were the tool in God’s hand for correction and purification of His people. Look for God’s answer in His Word. God will answer your prayers, and you will be able to stand back in awe and say, “I saw God do it.” 

R – ejoice and give thanks to God. Habakkuk closes with a doxology. “Yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like hinds’ feet, and makes me walk on my high places. For the choir director, on my stringed instruments” (Habakkuk 3:18-19, NASB 1995).

Selah!       http://www.abideinchrist.com/selah/sep16.html