Merry Christmas 🎄

Family Christmas trees and a newly engaged daughter.

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This is turning out to be a very satisfying holiday season so far, even though I woke up this morning with the stomach flu 😦

I think because I decided early on when feeling overwhelmed, to make a list of what I like most about Christmas. It ended up surprising me by being quite short. I also noticed that my likes were often the very things that got shuffled off and lost under all kinds of parental busyness.

So the day I realized this year I don’t have any children to schedule my days around, no pageants, concerts, parties, and the very hard work of passing down family traditions by being diligent in including them in our daily holiday life, was the day I made my list, and relaxed. For my list was easy and doable.

Consequently for the first year in forever, I didn’t find myself trying to crawl behind the Christmas tree and hide.

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Who would have thought that a Christmas Day stuck puking sick in bed would still be part of one of the best Decembers I have had in a very long time. I have to attribute it to having kept my doings small and my focus on Jesus large. It certainly has put the Merry back in Christmas for me.

❤️Blessings Belinda

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50:31 Hither and Yon

50:31 Random thoughts of today.

Well let’s see, this could be a list right? I love lists!

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So if I let my mind wander one of the easiest things that I trip upon is that Little Miss Happiness is now a year old. It seems like a life time ago that I was up North helping my daughter with the birth of her first child. There were also many firsts for me that Christmas: falling snow, bone chilling cold, and colorless winter landscape. Very unlike this photo I took few days ago while I was on my daily walk here in California.

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I never appreciated the temperate weather here in Southern California until I spent a Winter month in Montana. It wasn’t so much the snow that was problematic, but the ice. I am so used to being able to go out for a walk whenever I want, and the icy sidewalks in Montana were a deterrent to wandering and adventure.

For I like nothing better than to go out for a long walk and weave stories in my mind about all I see. Not only did I miss the mental stimulation of imagination, but the miles I try to walk each day, help to stave off my depression, so unfortunately by the end of my visit my mind was in a very bad way. But all things have a silver lining and mine would be the appreciation of what I have, for there is no place like home.

Which leads me to another thought for the day, limitations. I might have reached the point of little return for effort expended in regards to my Rheumatoid Arthritis. Not that I am giving up, or not going to try and beat this thing back into submission, but the thing has flipped on me.

Instead of having short periods of illness followed by extensive periods of almost wellness, I am now dealing with very short periods of almost wellness, which are being surrounded by, and almost swallowed by, painful and limiting periods of illness. Even walking has become a trial. This is going to take some getting used to, and I am very much in need of medical advice, but without income, or insurance, this is not going to happen any time soon.

Well I can see that these random thoughts are not going to be a list, because lists should have a theme, an overarching purpose, and my thoughts definitely do not. They sometimes will go hither and yon before circling back into a sort of connectedness, but I don’t think this is going to be one of those times.

Anyway, this morning while wandering through the many means I use to hold my prone to wander focus on the knowledge of the Lord, I came across some written words which were contemplating trials and the proper response to them. The advice given was that one shouldn’t pray to be delivered from the trial, but rather only for the endurance to bear them, thus one would suffer like Christ and then be more Christlike.

Hum….Uh, no, I don’t think so.

Yes, we live in a fallen world, full of sorrow, heartache, and pain. I am not denying this, and I do pray constantly for endurance, strength, peace, joy, and that I will reach the other end of whatever the days, the weeks, the years, trial with my faith intact. But I also pray fervently with deep moaning and gut wrenching pleading, that if it is possible, please, please please remove the thorns from my live. Please!!!!!!!

Lord willing. But pray for removal of trials I do and should. If I didn’t, would I not be limiting God, not trusting in His goodness and promise to do what is best?

Sometimes His best is through suffering, but I also believe that sometimes His best is through deliverance and restoration. So I will continue to pray for restoration and deliverance, but if He doesn’t, I will love Him no less.

If this was a list? Maybe:

  • Celebrate life, look for the smiles.
  • Be thankful for what you have, the grass is not always greener.
  • Make the best of a bad situation, some one thing can always be improved upon.
  • Push back against limitations.
  • Trust God, and ask ask ask without ceasing!
  • Jesus is our finisher, we cannot fail.

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

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hungry and full

“A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” Proverbs 12:27

Wait a minute! What? Oh, okay, I see, thank you Lord.

This is how many of my mornings go while communing with the Lord, but thankfully He explains if I just shut up my mind and listen to what He has to say.

I am hungry for knowledge of the Lord and how He wants me to live. How He wants me to grow. How He wants me to love my neighbor. How to worship Him fully.

Therefore if my bitter experiences produce a greater dependency and love of God, if they deepen and broaden my love for my neighbor, if they bring me to my knees, of course I am hungry for them. Enjoy them no, but in my hunger will I eat them with relish, yes.

So in the bitterness of hardship can lie joy, and in the plushness of abundance can lie complacency. Not that I don’t want and need times of plenty and peace, rather I must remember to give thanks always in everything, and to put my confidence in the Lord regardless of myself, and sometimes this is can be more satisfying, or perhaps I should say more obvious when my need is greatest. My thanksgiving stronger. My Praise louder, deeper, sweeter.

This does not mean the next time I read this proverb it won’t speak to me differently, that is the joy of the living word. I can never exhaust it or know it completely for it meets me where I am in moment and provides me guidance, or simply peace for that day.

I know there are Bible scholars who will have decided exactly what every dot and tittle means exactly without compromise and I am not going to say they are unnecessary, for I do use study Bibles and multiple interpretations to widen and illuminate God’s word during my morning devotionals, and I also will agree that the loose interpretation can cause a world of grief and harm.

However God is bigger than my limited understanding within my infinitesimal bit of borrowed universe. Why would I want to try and contain Him within it? That would be foolish indeed.

So instead I fling open all my windows and secret passageways, wait for Him, listen, and believe; His words are alive for me today, and give me joy and life abundantly. What a feast He provides, and how thankful I am to Him for the hunger He gives me to enjoy it even while He keeps me full. Oh the wonderful sweet mystery of it all. My cup overflows.

To God be the glory forever and ever! Amen!

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Doting

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Fist Pump

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I did it! All by myself. I put up the Christmas lights.

I of course am laughing at myself that this simple act has me doing a happy dance inside, but I also know that this is something for me to wiggle like a puppy about. For I have let myself fall into a kind of learned helplessness when it comes to doing something new.

I know why this is, and I have recognized its existence for several years now. But it is a crippling behavior pattern I had become comfortable with. Growing up with six brothers and critical parents meant I, when ever possible, looked to the men in my life to do any task I could talk them into. And I have kind brothers who will still take care of me if I would ask them.

It continued into my marriage, not because my husband thought me incapable, but because he liked to take care of everything for me. He liked to feel needed, so I let him. And it was a behavior pattern I was used to, so I went along with the flow.

Then when my marriage imploded, and I was alone with my children, I was away from home more than I was there, working at a desk all day, and my very capable children took care of me when I was home. I am forever thankful that they did because the grief and darkness that I was swallowed up in would have drowned us all if they had not stepped up.

Well it is time for this madness to stop! I am capable. I may struggle, but my family is just going to have to step back and let me, because it is ridiculous, and actually very boring, for me to wait around for others to do things I can do for myself. It is time for this bad behavior pattern to get the boot.

So today, I got out the ladder and put the Christmas lights up all by myself (insert fist pump here) Yes it did take me way longer than it should have because I for sure and certain did not want to fall off that ladder. Not only would it hurt, lots, but it would have reinforced the opinion that was floating around that I shouldn’t be doing anything.

I love my kids, I know they mean well, and it is their love that has them wanting to keep me in my cocoon, but it is time for them to give me some space, and let me grow.

I am laughing again, because I know how hard it is going to be for them, if they are anything like me. I had a really hard time not wanting to keep them in a cocoon for the rest of their lives too. Hehehe, this is going to be fun.

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The Light

 

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Regardless of the calendar, for me it is officially winter in Southern California. I know this because of the lights. You see, I like to think of the lights, which are so prolific in my hometown, as our visible replacement of the changing seasons. It is our snow; our own kind of frosting.

Contrarily, the lights make the outside darker, the air seem colder, the shadows deeper. There is also a hush about the air, a calm stillness from the lack of air conditioners running, making the nights a silent time of reflection.

So while gazing out my kitchen window to admire my neighbors snow, I can not help but marvel at the faithfulness of the God of all creation, who meets us wherever we are, and uses whatever is available, to remind busy people like me, that this is the season to celebrate, the Light of the world, peace on earth, and good will towards men.

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