A New Commitment in 2018

As 2017 came to a close I was drawn to pray for a teacher who was up against the board of education at her school. Her having prayed for her students was the reason behind the meeting and the possibility of losing her job was amiss. As I read of the circumstances she was within I began to feel her pain. I too, had been a teacher who prayed for the children in my classroom. I knew it was not legal to do so but did it anyway knowing all of the while I was risking my career.  I was blessed in that the district I worked in did not complain when I had a small picture of Jesus near my desk nor did they call me out when I walked the hallways blessing each room prior to the commencement of each school year. I kept my praying low key. I never initiated it aloud.  I would pray in silence and often leave the lunch room to avoid the gossip and be where I could find solace. I find that now I am home more and unable to work I am drawn to prayer more and more each day. As I watch things on television and see the news etc. I hear so much negativity in all areas.  One part of what we all witness is the violence in our schools.  I never dreamt when I became a teacher that we would have secured entranceways and hear of shootings in the buildings. But even more so than that I never dreamt I would have to experience the negativity of life in the buildings.  I did, teachers are human and it happens, Yet, in addition I was so blessed to work with teachers who were people of faith. In fact for a while we even had a morning prayer group once a week in a classroom prior to the commencement of our day. We prayed for one another. We lifted up those in need. But, more than that we were the light of God in our building. We brought his light and his love into that building and loved all children no matter their walk of life. For they, are born in his image and all perfect in his eyes.

As we enter a new year I had made a commitment to God to begin a new prayer group on Facebook to pray for our schools.  God Bless our Schools will be a venue through which we can lift up our concerns and pray for those in our schools. Why the schools? Because they encase the future of our nation. Those young people are the ones who will one day be the adults that lead our nation. I dedicate myself to posting scripture on the site and ask that you join us in our endeavor. Pray daily, or as often as you can. Light a candle or sing praises to God. The more light we cast into the world the better it will be. Today, I pledge as a part of 2018 I will pray daily for our schools. Feel free to join me. God is looking for those who will serve him.  It might just be you.

 

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Extravagant? Different strokes for different folks.

via Daily Prompt: Extravagant

 

The word extravagant may stir up visions of jewels or an exotic car for many folks. But to others it may be something as simple as a box of corn flakes with a quart of milk.  So many of us are blessed to be able to dream of jewels or fancy cars while others dream of having a meal in their stomach once in a while.  I learned this from a young man in Haiti whom I grew to love dearly.  He taught me so much about life.  I learned that there are those in Haiti who go days with no food. I also learned that an education there is not free.  They must pay to send their children to school. In many instances it is a choice between that and food.  To them a days wages may be only a dollar. That is enough to buy one bottle of pop at the local store. That is not enough for one person for the day let alone a family. While in Haiti I saw dirt cookies for sale on the streets and asked why they had them. They were eaten to absorb the acid in the stomach and curb hunger pains. It was uncommon there to see anyone who smoked. They could not afford the habit. Nor could they do many other things that we do such as have a pet.

Extravagance for him was a simple bowl of cereal and some clothes. How many of us would call that extravagance? Not many I would suppose. We sit in our heated homes sipping beverages and filling our tummies on a daily basis. Yet, so many in the world do not have a building to sleep in nor clean water to drink.  I am not trying to put you on a guilt trip. What I am doing is asking you to think about what your item would be if you were told you could have something extravagant for free?  As for me I am getting better at seeing how blessed I am in this world in which I reside. I am as a queen living in a castle my friend from Haiti once told me.  I sit in my castle while I dine on fine foods and fatten myself all the while knowing that there are people living in the villages starving.  Extravagance to me is no longer a classic car or diamonds. It is a desire of the heart to reach out to those in need and to help them.  If I could have something extravagant I would choose to build a hospital in a third world country that has a food bank for those in need. I would dream big, but not for myself. Yes, I could work at that facility but more than that I could help those stuck in a situation from which there seems no escape. That to me is extravagant.

Confess – Daily Prompt

via Daily Prompt: Confess

Confession, to me it is much more than what it is to anyone who is a non-Catholic.  As one of the Catholic faith it is about meeting with a representative of Jesus – the priest – to cleanse ones soul. As a priest, or man of the cloth, our father listens to us as a representative of Jesus to intercede and allow us to tell God all of our sins. I have to say that when I first came back to the Catholic faith from having been in the Protestant realm I thought that I really could just talk to God on my own. I had the mindset of many in that GOd hears our prayers when we talk to him and so I did not need to go to a confessional. Yet, when I went back to the confessional after many years of having been away I noted that there was a feeling unlike when I just talked to God. I was in the presence of a man of God who listened and then blessed me and absolved my sins. So often as a Protestant I confess and re-confessed my sins hoping that they were resolved. Yet, here I knew for a fact that God had heard them. I also knew what to do for my penance whether it be saying a prayer or doing an act of contrition. I know that this post is different than the others I tend to write, but it is my faith that has sustained me in times of the accident etc. I rely on God for so many things.  I confess to you that I am not one to tell anyone what faith is for them. Yet, I know that confession is an element of the Catholic faith that I believe in. It is for me. Is it for you?

 

Will I Overcome? Not This Time

via Daily Prompt: Overcome

 

My fortieth class reunion is tonight. I am not going. I would but the people I held most dear during that time on my life are not coming or have passed away. I thought about going but then realized that with a traumatic brain injury the band after dinner alone would be too much. I picture the reunion in my head and see the tables of people talking and laughing about old times. They are discussing their careers and grandchildren. I have grandchildren. I could discuss them. But my career is over and I miss it dearly.  The multiple conversations going on about me would force me to attempt to focus in on the one nearest to me and somehow attempt to hear what they are saying. That used to be so easy to do. But, now it is frustrating and it makes me quite anxious.  I have overcome so many things in the past forty years. I have lost dear friends, family members, loved ones. I have survived major accidents and more. Yet, this time I cannot beat this thing that has messed up my brain. I keep on trying. I cannot overcome. I cannot be successful with beating this injury. It has literally taken over my life. I cannot even go and enjoy my class reunion. I know I am venting. I seem to need to do that from time to time. I vent because when I looked forward in my life I did not see this one coming.

I sat at my graduation while over 400 students walked up to get their diplomas and pictured my future. I saw a family who loved one another, a good looking dude at my side, a house with the white picket fence, a dog, and I was working as a teacher. That was all I wanted. I wasn’t asking for much. God blessed me with all but the dumb fence. I was living my dream. Then came the accident. It all seemed to come crashing down little by little after that. No more career, no more being able to drive to go family or friends, no more dog. Why no more dog? I get sick if I bend over too much. To care for a dog and have to hook them on a line to let them out would literally make me ill. So, I visit them at the farmer’s markets and swoon over them there. I miss so many things. I miss having a dog to jump on my lap. I miss being able to drive to soccer games and to be at the pool with my grandkids. Yea, I smile and make people think it is all good. I am pretty good at wearing that mask, jacket, whatever you want to call it. Then days like today come along and I come on here and type. I type to let others know how I truly feel. How hard it is to not be the old me. I miss her. I liked her more than I like the new me I have had to become. She would have been able to go to the reunion. But, here I sit and read the posts of the people in town and sulk. I have not overcome. Not today. Some days I do all right. But just like when someone you love dies you have those days that rear their ugly head and remind you of your loss. You cry and move on. It is life.

I thank you Lord for my family, and my home without the silly picket fence. I thank you for my dude at my side and for all of the things you have blessed us with. I will overcome this day by day one step at a time with you by my side. But as for today, keep me busy and let me feel you near. I overcome only with you at my side. HUGZ

Anticipation of the Unknown

via Daily Prompt: Anticipate

Ramblings on the topic of anticipation of the future, the unknown:

Carly Simon’s song Anticipation begins with the following words,

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway 

So true, we think on the future most all days and wonder about what is to come. This week we have watched as Texas has been digging out from the massive floods and see that more trouble could be heading toward more in the US. We hear predictions of this and that. Turn the channel and hear yet another prediction or commentary on the prediction of someone else.  Some people are rushing to gather needs as they anticipate what will occur over the course of the next few days. Will it hit the East coast or the Gulf side? How strong of an impact the trail of terror impact us all? Will my loved ones be okay? Will my home and belongings be lost? What will happen?

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway 

So, what do you do when you want to know of the future and want some input from an outside source?  Do you turn on the news? Go online and research the topic? Visit a psychic?  Pray and ask God? Worry and think of every single possibility that might occur? Call your friends and ask them what they think will happen? Most people do one or more of those things. So much of the time we spend our moments in the future. Is it an attempt to control it? Does it give us a sense of security?

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway 

What about premonitions and dreams that we have to tell us of the future? Do they come true? Why do we have them? Those are good questions and I would love to have input from others on this topic.  I do not know the answer. But, I hope I am making you think. (In my opinion those are to not so much warn us of things to come but to be able to pray for those situations in advance to alter them to lessen the effects on all peoples.)

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway 

We are not in control of much. Especially not the future. Yes, we can do things to alter our direction but we cannot control what will happen with those things we do. Take for example the impact of flooding on the good people of Texas. Many had wonderful homes, vehicles, belongings and more. All gone. They had planned to be ready for the future with said items and now … nothing much is left. They will be lucky to have their insurance companies replace those items. Another example-  I had taken several classes to advance my career and now have a traumatic brain injury and cannot work.  I do not regret taking those courses and still wish I could use the education but I cannot.  What about the loss of a loved one? How many times have you wondered who will go first – you or your loved one?  We are not in control of that unless we break the law. That is written by God.  We are not in control of near as much as we would like to be.

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway 

Those days to come are going to come (unless we die) and will be filled with all kinds of life. There will be bad times, good times, happy times, and sad times. There will be days that will feel as if someone grabbled hold of your heart and ripped it out. There will be days when we will feel love overtake our beings and we will weep with joy. There is no song, no dreams, no time travel to let us know what will occur. We try to embrace those who will predict, those who seem to know and hold on tight to hope. Hope that we will guess correctly and that all will be as on the happy ending movies or in the TV shows of yesteryears. But more than that we fear that a bad thing will happen and at times we dwell on it.

We can never know about the days to come
But we think about them anyway …… even though what we think never comes true as we thought it would.  Live for today. Be in the moment and place the things of tomorrow in God’s hands. Your life will be so much happier if you do.

 

Infatuated with Life

via Daily Prompt: Enamored

 

Enamored, a word not often used in day to day verbiage.  Defined it means to be filled with a feeling of love, to be in love with, smitten by, or merely having a liking for something is to be enamored with something.

As a young woman I would have stated that I was infatuated with the love of my life, my spouse, and although that remains true I would not be here to love the man of my dreams without life. Life, a word with only four letters and such a large meaning.  To have life, to breathe, to sustain a way of living is not a given. It is a day to day gifting.

Only yesterday a dear friend underwent an eight hour surgery. She is resting now and healing from the endeavor and she is alive. Alive to be with her family yet another day. Breathing and taking in air, enjoying a breakfast that only a hospital can make. 🙂 She has been given the opportunity as have all of us to reach out and touch people in a new way. As one who is fighting back at breast cancer she is a stronghold of the culture within we live. So many have fought the battle against cancer, so many have won the battle against death with accidents, illnesses, and on and on the list could go.  I have survived a few things myself but today I choose to focus on the fact that I live for a purpose, a reason.

What is that reason? I live to serve. I live to serve God and his church. I live to serve those who long to know more about what it is like to live with a TBI.  I live to love my friends and family.  I am infatuated with life.

This morning as I rose from slumber I came right to my PC to go onto Facebook. I knew that a post would have been made concerning the well being of my dear friend. A photo of she and her daughter greeted me as I slid down the page of entries. In that moment I knew she was okay. Joy entered my heart as I knew I would be able to talk to her again soon. We would be able to come together and make handmade cards for those we love and speak of our lives. We would form more memories and explore our lives. I am thankful for that opportunity.

In a few hours I will venture out to celebrate a birthday with someone who was in the rollover accident with me. We will celebrate another year of life. I will look at her and recall those moments wherein we were not sure we would make it. She will look at me and do the same. Then we will embrace and know that we are blessed to be here. To celebrate yet another year, to be there with those we love, and to serve.  To live, to celebrate life and to be enamored by all of its possibilities.

 

Homage to God and Nobody Else

via Daily Prompt: Homage

 

As days pass and the years go by I seem to see many things in a different light. Perhaps it is due to the fact that I have survived near death. Perhaps it is just a normal part of aging.  Either way it is something that needs to be respected in our American culture (but seems to not be). With that said I wish to pay homage to the lessons my God has shown me. I hope that you glean something from this blog. It is why I write.

Lesson 1 – People who you think are your friends will use you for the sake of gossip. There I said it. I hated to tell you that one, but it is true. How do I know? I used to talk to someone almost every day. Our conversations could go on for an hour or more. But, I came to realize that as she spoke to me she slandered, or cut down, the people in her life that she called her friends. After years of hearing this I thought to myself, “I wonder if she does the same thing with what I tell her about my life?” If she were in fact talking to me to get information to tell them!  I began cutting back on telling her things and grew more and more sure of the fact that she was. I hated that I had fallen for that. I was a part of a gossip roundup – gathering and spreading the herds of data – manure and all. Since that realization I have decided to keep my mouth shut more than I used to. I have given up gossiping and use words to edify more than I did back then. People will use you. You have to set boundaries. If you don’t you will have repercussions.

Lesson 2 –  Private matters should be discussed with someone who is a counselor or trained to help you sort it all out. This is a follow up to number one. Confide in those who must keep your private matters private. I have gone to a counselor and not am ashamed to admit it. I know that they have taken an oath and will guide you. Friends and family on the other hand might think they know what is best and want to help but they are not always right. I lean on God and pray more than anything now to get my answers.

Lesson 3- Set boundaries with those who need it – I am not real good at this yet, but I am trying. I have people in my life who seem to think that they can tell me what to think even though what they think it completely opposite of who I am. I cannot do as they wish nor will I. To me, if I do as they tell me to do they become a sort of false God. Especially when they are telling me to do things that are not in agreement with the Bible.  I set boundaries and will listen to the one true God, not anyone who is a wolf is sheep’s clothing.

Lesson 4- When You Change People Will Not See it and Think You Are Still the Old You – Change takes timeI have changed but most still see me as the old me. I let her go a while ago. I am a new me dedicated to God. It is okay that people do not see it. That is not what matters. What matters is that God sees the new me.

Lesson 5- People will judge you even though they have no right to – It is a natural thing – to judge others for whatever reason. Maybe your eyes are a different color or you are in a wheelchair. Maybe it is something not physical but spiritual as you are of a varied faith. The reason is not important. It is the action that is taking place. Judge not lest ye be judged. Speak words of love, not judgement. If you are offended by someone pray for them. But more than anything, if someone judges you do not let it bother you. By doing so you give them control over your feelings. Focus on what God knows to be true. That is the only thing that is important.

 

I used to give homage to so many things. Those were the things that I spent an enormous amount of time on. Now, I choose to give homage to God and what he asks me to do. Homage to God as his disciple is not always an easy path to choose. But I choose it.