As a child I was blessed to live near a pond where we would ice skate. As I passed time there with friends we always seemed to search for life frozen in the ice. We found fish, plants, and more. The ice seemed to perfectly hold in time the item it had captured. Along the edges of the lake the ice crystals formed on leaves, sticks, and whatever nature provided for us to view. Back then, I did not have a camera to capture the beauty of what we saw. So, a few years ago I took a day and walked along a local reservoir and again witnessed the ice sculptures formed along the edges. The beauty was something that I had not witnessed for such a long time and I was taken back in time while listening to the sounds of the lake moaning and groaning as I walked along the edge. Back to when if we heard that sound we would hurriedly get off of the ice. It was possibly moaning as it was about to crack. As I walked along taking photos of all I could a young man came along and showed me how to skip a rock on the ice. It made the most marvelous sound as it jumped along. We stood there skipping rocks and listening to the symphonic orchestration of ice meeting stone. A small dog came up and I knelt to pet it. His warmth was welcome on my cold hands that had been exposed to the elements. I moved along after a while and found an area where the ice was reaching up toward heaven like they were yearning to see God. I was in awe and took far too many pictures. I have to say that I never did find any fish frozen in the ice that day. In many ways I was glad for that. Yet, I did find God in the frozen crystalline structures created by wind and water. In those moments I grew spiritually and am still in awe of the things I witnessed that day. Growth frozen in time became a vehicle for me to grow. I am now ever closer to the one who created all and am glad of it.
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.
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.
“Cherish is the word I use to describe… all those feelings that I have hiding deep down inside…. ” These lyrics rang in the mind of my younger self. I loved the words to this song and yet I had just begun to understand the true meaning of them. To cherish back then was to love in a simple way; holding another’s hand or to view a brief kiss of a couple nearby. Yet, now I see so much more depth and breadth to that simple word. To cherish now means to hold one’s heart in your hands and in your heart. To be blessed enough to have that person in your life for the long haul no matter what is to be able to cherish them. It is to know that person inside and out and to love when they walk into the room even after forty years of marriage. Cherish is only one part of the vows I took so long ago – I pledged to love, honor, and cherish the man I love. Those words spoken to be done in any condition even in sickness. In the last few years since the accident that left me unable to work I have watched my spouse take on all of the challenges including the monetary ones without even one word of complaint. In those years I have watched him work hard as he always has asking nothing in return. He has even told me that all will be okay and has encouraged me on so many occasions. I am so blessed to have a man in my life that is so loving and caring. I cherish my time with him. The time home has brought us closer together and allowed me to love him through simple acts such as baking or cooking meals for him. To cherish is to love in a way that nobody else will ever know of. Even if you read this you will never understand the meaning of our love.
As I read posts on Facebook from those who are caregivers I see so much distress in their words. I see their emotions that they wear on their sleeves. I feel for them. Yet. I also feel for their loved ones with the TBI. I wonder if their loved ones read their posts. I wonder how they feel being caught in a world that they did not ask for with someone they cherish complaining about them. To lose one’s self has to be hard enough. To lose one they cherish and live through their opinions and blasphemy has to make it far worse. My old self is gone. But parts of that old me remain. I am thankful that my love for my spouse remains. I am thankful that he cherishes me enough to not cast his problems on me as I heal.
“Cherish is the word I use to describe… all those feelings that I have hiding deep down inside….” Do you cherish the person you are a caregiver for? if you do then think of how you show that to them in your every day actions. I am blessed to have my spouse. Are they blessed to have you?
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.
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 time. I 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.
Immersion has more than one definition. One definition is to involve oneself deeply in a particular activity or interest. Another is to dip or submerge in a liquid. Odd how in faith we may have done both.
Baptism is an example of immersion in some faiths. I have been lucky enough to have been submerged by a man of God at the River Jordan as others witnessed my cleansing. That was something that took but a few minutes yet meant so much to my walk of faith. But, I dare say, that was the easy part of immersion in my walk with faith. The other definition, the one that involves going deeply into an interest is much harder.
Immersion, that daily walk with my faith is something I do okay at some days and not so well on other days. The ability to walk with Christ daily seems to be a challenge as there are other things that seem to get in the way. Our modern world offers up so many things that entertain us and keep us busy. Television and radio are two of them. Having heard sermon after sermon on how we spend more time with both of these things than with God I began to realize that I had what some may call false Gods in my life. So, I began to change how I viewed media. I began to seek ways to shift from the cultural influences on both to the spiritual ones. I now watch and listen to Christian channels more than I ever had. I have even discovered a Jewish channel and have found programs out of Israel that show places I had visited while there as well as new locations. I am now able to immerse myself in things of faith daily. It is not a perfect answer but it is a start.
Immersing myself into a prayerful life is another area wherein I have found small ways to make a difference in my daily walk. I now pray while in the car, while I sew, or when I walk out to get the mail. I have found that my mind is becoming better at flipping into prayer in my mind than it had before. Immersing myself in prayer helps me to obtain the goal of praying unceasingly. I may never master this, but I am making an effort and am seeing progress. I know God sees it as well.
Immersion has more than one definition and if you attempt to follow it faithfully it has more than one challenge in your life. Look for the little things that you can change in order to walk with him more closely. Immerse yourself in his word and listen when he speaks to you. He will help you. HUGZ. God bless.