Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Family

Tomorrow my grandson arrives!

 Kristjian and me in January when I went to Pensacola

This would be my second grandson in my daughter's family. He is 13 and he is coming to spend 3 weeks with grandma and grandpa!!. And yes, we are excited!!!

I have a ton of stuff planned but allowing for some down times (because Grandma will need a break now and then). Included in the plans is a week at Tall Timber Ranch for Jr High Camp. I'm going along and working in the kitchen that week so I can be a part of his experience.

My brother and sister-in-love are also back in town for a month long visit. Yippee! Family get togethers!

My husband is working like mad, at his regular job and also overseeing a project for a friends newest resteraunt. So it's been a little stressful at times and we haven't had much time to just chill but we have plans for a weekend get away the end of July.

Summer is wonderful! Sunshine, family, lots to do and see. I feel happy, full and blessed.
Hope you are finding things that bless you as well.

Friday, June 10, 2016

What Am I Doing?

Life's been pretty busy between building my new jewelry business, working part time at the bookstore, watching my grandsons one day a week, and keeping the home fires burning. Not to mention, the writing group I co-facilitate and the book project we are working on there. Then my former self-employed hubby has picked up a side job as project manager for a new restaurant set to open sometime this summer and that has me running errands again. Yes, life is a little busy. I don't have time for depression or anxiety or fibromyalgia to interfere with things. But it does. 

With my husband leaving the house an hour earlier most mornings, I find myself stumbling around, coffee cup in hand, feeling sleep deprived and out of sorts. When I give in to the lure of the still warm rumpled blankets on the bed and crawl under them I find the delicious cocoon my mind and body craves. I doze and awaken to sunshine sneaking through the cracks of the curtain, or the sounds of raindrops splattering against the windows. Sleep cycle disrupted again I struggle the rest of the day to find my rhythm. It's frustrating. Walking daily seems like a distant memory, something someone did a long time ago but I can't remember who or why. I force myself to push past fibro-pain, cloudy thinking and loss of passion for most things. People annoy me and the thought of engaging in conversation is so overwhelming I can't even ....
I lay on my bed a lot and flick aimlessly through apps on my phone.I ask myself if I need to talk to the doctor about changing my anti-depressant or do something different.  It's worrisome. 


But on the mornings when things seem to fall into place and I do find my rhythm it's glorious! I stay awake, I throw a load of laundry in the wash and scrub down the counters and swoosh a mop across the floors. I go for a walk and I snap pictures left and right of everything I see. I breathe deep and I listen for cues that nudge me here or there. I work my business and study to make it better. I go to work with a smile and energy. I have my list of things to do and I knock it out of the park. I think "life is amazing and so am I". And at the end of the day I wonder what made it different from the day before? 

Depression is a thief. It steals my joy, my energy, my creativity. Anxiety is a rope that ties me to a chair and holds me prisoner in my room. Physical pain is crippling and only feeds my depression more. In those darkest moments I seek out the Psalms and feel David's anguish as he pours out his soul. 




These things I remember as I pour out my soul... Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

My Cup Runneth Over

So much goodness the last few days...

Yesterday my sister and I were interviewed for a radio podcast, "The Karolyn Merriman Show". The daily show features licensed therapist, Karolyn Merriman and each broadcast covers a variety of different topics. From childhood abuse, to difficult relationships, from freedom from fear and anxiety to enriching your prayer life and many other life struggles and challenges, Karolyn offers biblical insights into dealing with and moving from hurt to healing through the power of God's grace.

in the recording studio with Karolyn, after a successful interview!
How did we come to land on Karolyn's show? Karolyn was my therapist many years ago and we've stayed in touch off and on. We recently reconnected on Facebook where she learned I was involved with a writing group. She was intrigued. As we chatted about what our writing group does she became more and more interested in the whole concept of a writing group designed for Christian women writers. She asked if we'd come on the show and talk about how we started the group, why, what we do in our group, how it benefits us etc. I was kind of taken back by her request originally as I couldn't fathom how our group fit in with the themes of her talk show. She assured me that because she often encourages her clients to engage in writing as therapeutic, sharing about our group would be appealing to many of her listeners. She also felt that what we've  done in establishing this group was worthy of mention as it may inspire other women (or men) in churches or communities to start their own writing groups. So.... Anita and I bravely committed to the podcast. It was so much fun!!

 ( You can listen to the podcast here)

Later that day I met up with a sweet gal who is going to host a jewelry party for me this month. I first met L. as a member of my Curves fitness center and we've stayed in touch on Facebook ever since. She is very excited to host a get together for me, not just because she loves the jewelry but she also shared she was happy to have a way for us to connect in a more tangible way than just online!

 I've had my emotional ups and downs when I look back on my time as a fitness center owner. I enjoyed the initial start up and being my own boss. I loved, loved, loved seeing Curves empower and strengthen women in all aspects of their lives. I loved feeling healthy and loved meeting so many wonderful gals and starting friendships that have continued long after the club closed. But the stress of running a business and keeping it financially strong was too much for me. The last couple of years running the club, I was depressed, angry, frustrated, stressed and exhausted most of the time. Not a very good presentation for promoting health! I've often wondered if my presence in the club was a positive one. If I made a difference in even just one persons life. I've questioned that over and over.

Until yesterday.

As we chatted L. expressed just how much she enjoyed her time at Curves and emphatically stated that it was my presence there that made the difference to her. She saw something in me that clicked with her. In addition to being friends on facebook since the club closed, she's been a faithful follower here on the blog (Hi L! Surprise!!) and shared that my posts often speak to her just what she needed to hear on that particular day. Wow.

Every writer desperately wants to be 'heard' and my deepest desire as a writer is not to attain fame and fortune (although I wouldn't turn it down, ha ha) but to know that my writing, Holy Spirit inspired, reached even  just one person and impacted them in some positive way. Yesterdays visit with L was a confirmation that yes, it has. And for that I am so very very blessed. Thank you sweet friend.


And to put the cherry on top of the day I came home with a burning desire to BLOG! And to WRITE! I whipped open my laptop and began pounding the keys. Even if it was drivel I have managed to shake loose the chains that were binding my hands and mind from creatively flowing. Hallllllllelujaaaaaaah!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

This, That and The Other Thing

this....
I'm taking a writing course! 
The School of Creative Christian Writing, taught by Jeanne Halsey, is halfway through and I am being challenged both in thought and emotions. It's good and it has got me back into some writing. This is good! More on that another day. It's a lot to process!

that...
Speaking of writing...
The Christian Women Writers Group that I co-facilitate with my sister, has caught the attention of a friend who hosts a Podcast on FaithPlace. She has invited my sis and I to come be interviewed for her show as a way to encourage other women to start their own group! It will be a live interview. Little nervous about that! It's happening on May 5th on the Karolyn Merriman Show at 10 am. Since it's a podcast, you can catch the interview anytime.

the sassy sisters sparkling in high fashion jewelry
the other thing...
Sparkling Over Here....
About 15 years ago I took a leap into the field of being an independent distributor for a jewelry company called Premier Designs. I had some fun for a few months but due to other things going on in my life, I kind of ran into a wall and let it go. My beautiful niece, who was responsible for recruiting me back then, has been with the company for more than 16 years and it's proved very profitable and rewarding for her. Every once in awhile she'd check in with me and ask if I'd ever consider coming back to rep the line. I'd say "thanks but no thanks" but then in February when she asked me again, it just seemed there was a definite nudge to really consider it. So, I took the leap again and resigned with Premier. I'm now a Jewelry Lady! I've always been impressed with the company and all it stands for and the jewelry is lovely. I've done my training show and have launched seemingly successfully. I am excited and see this as an opportunity to continue in a ministry to women. It's not about sales. It's about service and I was created to serve!  I'm still working one or two days a week at the Christian bookstore so this is a perfect compliment to my busy life.

and just a tad bit more..
We've been working on some remodeling in our kitchen. It's a work in progress but I'm pleased with the results thus far.
I'm looking forward to my grandson coming to visit this summer for a few weeks.
I'm eager to go camping and I'm loving longer days and warmer weather. The dark fog of winter has lifted and life is beautiful.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Life Goes On

This may be the longest break I've taken since I began blogging. I have to admit, upon my return from Florida, I fell into a funk. Sure, we can blame the depression (under control but always lurking) and certainly the awful sinus/upper respiratory infection that lingered for 6 weeks. But mostly, it was (is)  the pain of separation. Saying good bye is never easy. And the realization of just how much my grandkids have grown and changed since we visited in 2012 has had a very sobering effect. I've missed such a huge portion of their lives.


As I watched the days get gradually longer and the buds breaking forth on the trees and bushes, my spirits started to lift a bit.  The approach of spring will do that.



Next week my sweetie and I will take a little trip to the coast, visiting family and enjoying the Olympic Rain Forest and other hidden treasures. It will be great to get away and relax, play and have time together. Maybe this vacation will help chase away the blues and maybe even help restore my desire to write!


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Life Is A Treasure


I just spent a week in Pensacola visiting my daughter and family.It was a long overdue visit (over 4 years) but trips to the other side of the country are not easy to come by. When my daughter and I hatched the idea for me to visit it was back in September and I had no idea how I'd pull it off. But God did. Shortly after I set a visit date of January 2016, I was offered the part time job at Family Christian Store. It was an answer to prayer. Still, it took awhile to save enough funds for the trip, because as soon as I started saving other things came up. Things like a major car repair, an unexpected medical expense, a higher than normal electric bill. In other words, life. Funny how that happens. Still, by Christmas I had the money to buy the airplane ticket.

We had some grand plans at first. A trip to Atlanta Georgia to attend a Women of Faith Conference. A side trip to Alabama to see my son. As the date got closer and reality set in we had to trim things back and then I got an upper respiratory infection that almost made me postpone the trip. It was with a resigned spirit that I boarded the plane last Wednesday. I say resigned because I really was disappointed that the WOF Conf wasn't happening. A visit to my son was probably not possible either and while the Rx was kicking in, I still felt exhausted and wimpy due to all the coughing and sniffling. And did i mention I had laryngitis? But as the plane carried me through the air I thought about how blessed I was to take this trip at all. The whole purpose of the visit was to spend time with my girl. It didn't matter what we did, just that we did it together. As for the laryngitis, didn't God give me the word "listen" for the year? Well, I'm still chuckling over that one because with a raspy voice it was certainly easier for me to let my daughter and grandkids do all the talking while I sat back and just listened!


The week went incredible fast, as vacations are always prone to do. I saw where my daughter works, met some of her co-workers and friends, surprised my granddaughter at school by showing up for lunch, met my oldest grandson's 'friend-girl' (not girlfriend he says) got reacquainted with my step-grands, watched my grandchildren play, took them on a field trip, went to the beach (in spite of very cool temperatures and threatening skies) and went clothes shopping with my girl. In between, we just enjoyed each others company, shared secrets, laughed, cried, and laughed some more.


My grandkids are growing much too fast! The boys are taller than me! Their voices have changed. There's facial hair!! My granddaughter is wearing a bra! In less than 2 years the oldest will be 18 and graduating. For crying out loud! Stop!!


 Life goes on, whether you are watching carefully or not. I've been home for just a couple of days and as always, in retrospect I think of all the things I had wanted to do but didn't. But I look at the pictures of all the things we did do and I recall the conversations that took place and the memories we made. There will be more trips. We'll fly the kids up for visits over the next few summers. We'll skype and text and facebook. It's not the same as having them down the street just 10 minutes away but this is life. It's not perfect but I'll treasure it.


Thursday, December 31, 2015

Listening for the New Year

New Year's Eve... with many thoughts swirling through my mind, I sip another cup of coffee and reflect.

My dad at his favorite watering hole; Dunny's in Nooksack.
He met many a friend there for coffee several times a week!
Nine years ago this morning Dad passed away. I wonder how many cups of coffee he's enjoyed with Jesus since then? (I'm sure I acquired my love of coffee from my dad. After all, he started me on it about the time I was weaned!)

 I don't spend a lot of time wondering what heaven is like but when I do, I'd like to think we'll still drink coffee. Can you imagine sitting across the table from Jesus, and chatting over a steaming latte? Perhaps some biscotti to go with it. (Calories and gluten intolerance wont exist in heaven, of this I am certain!)

I do love a coffee date with a friend and many a great conversation takes place while we sip. What do you suppose one would talk about with Jesus? Oh, the possibilities are endless.

Speaking of talking, Jesus has been. Talking I mean. To me. I've been choosing a word now for the past several years, a word that would be my focus for the year. Love, Grace, Relationships, have been some of the words I've committed to. So, of course as this month started to close in I began thinking of a word for 2016. There were a couple of words that immediately came to mind. I even had a word for my sweetie (of course he was ever so grateful for me sharing that with him! HA!!) After I have a few words, I then bring those words before the Lord and ask Him to direct me.


He did. He brought me the word "listen"

What? That wasn't on my list. I shook my head when I heard it. "Listen? Really Lord? That's what you want me to focus on in my new year?"

Well, now look. I like to talk. I mean, coffee dates, hello!
I'm often guilty of interrupting, in my enthusiasm for sharing my opinion or ideas. And I admit, when I'm tired or my internal battery has been depleted, zoning out is much more likely to happen than giving rapt attention to whomever is talking.  As a creative introvert, I am constantly processing internally all that is going on around me. Sometimes this results in getting lost inside my head and I begin to tune out the noise around me. Even when the 'noise' is the voice of a loved one.

But the Lord keeps reminding me that he gave us only ONE mouth and TWO ears so there must be a reason... which is to listen twice as much as we speak. He also convicted me in that its not just my earthly companions I need to listen better for. I need to be listening more for HIS voice....


This is what I read in my daily devotional a few days ago. "Are you interested in praying a prayer that could revolutionize your life? Try this: Begin each day by asking God a series of questions. "Lord how can I love you today? What acts of worship can I do? What words can I utter that will honor and bless you? What act of service can I do to represent your love? How would your scripture inspire me to pray today?" *

Whoa. That's some serious questioning and it will require intentional listening to discern the answers. It almost feels like too much to ask for. Because revolutionizing ones life sounds a little intimidating! Scary! Risky!! But, conviction gripped me and I knew this was meant for me to undertake at this point in my spiritual journey.

A day after this reading I learned from my boss that they were keeping me on after the holidays! I am delighted as this job has turned out to be a blessing in many ways. And when you are in the retail/customer service arena listening is very important. It's not about me, it's about serving others.

Then, just after I informed my husband I was pretty sure this was the word God has given me for 2016, I went on my phone to play a word search game and the very first word that I found was.... "LISTEN". Say what? Oh, God has such a sense of humor and I just chuckled... and the word was cemented in my heart.









*At His Feet; the one year devotional by Chris Tiegreen, Tyndale House Publishers Inc.