Sunday, January 4, 2015

Spinning my wheels

Written yesterday, Day 3 of 2015, I have decided to stop the annoying counting.  I think it just shouts to me how soon I can “get out of balance” and slip from my commitments to myself. I pride myself on being dependable and faithful to others, but not to myself.  I imagine I can do so much more in so less time than reality. I did a time budget once as part of a time management exercise to find more time in my schedule for the things I wanted to do and never quite managed, like getting enough sleep. I calculated the hours for all my activities and committed time and came up with 48 hours, which I thought was reasonable for a week, until I realized I had already divided by seven to give me a daily budget! No wonder I felt like a hamster on a wheel and my plans could not all be accomplished!
I do believe God has a reasonable plan for our lives and therefore our schedule, as it can be found in many places of scripture. I have tried so many tools, read books, and even took classes to help organize schedules and save time, spending less time per activity, etc. I have never been able to ‘catch up” with my plan or get off that wheel. I cannot remember the last vacation for the sake of vacating the daily grind, only recuperative days from illness, born out of my schedule and stress. Jesus promised His yoke was easy and His burden light if we are weary of carrying the loads put on us by ourselves and others.
When I am able to let go and turn things over to God, it seems things get done faster and sometimes get done without me doing a thing, like finding a solution without doing research on alternatives or making endless phone calls to resolve. Turning things over to God does not release me from responsibility but recognizes there is a plan and solution available beyond my knowledge or understanding of things and it requires trust in a loving God who cares about me and how the world can work better for everyone and for all creation. He designed all creation and knows the intricate details we can never gather or assimilate, no matter how complicated the computer assisted analysis we have at our disposal.
Let go and let God! It is not just a trite saying. It is a better way to be in balance. It requires changing the way we think, believe and act, taking more time to stop and let God be God in our lives and our schedules at every moment of awareness, which also needs to be kept alert and sharp and not dulled into rushing and multi-tasking, reacting to everything instead of considering our responses.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Lord is my shepherd!

The Lord is my Shepherd” Part 1

Day 2 of 2015, I am keeping my commitment to write.  I write best when not so tired, so I need to add a note to my blog postings that not all daily journal entries will be posted on my blog. I am not yet in a rythym of writing daily and, as I am learning with all goals, I need to schedule the time to do things I want to accomplish, because other distractions and activities that seem more important otherwise take priority. As a result, I will never get to those seemingly less important projects that come from our God-given visions of life purposes, but instead, I will focus on my own agendas and the perceived agendas of the world and people around us who seem to want or think something else is preferred or the answer. 

I am finding what I sometimes think are real and absolute threats or demands, are really distractions from my path and expectations of myself, a person or organization or ‘rule’ I perceive cannot be missed or broken,  otherwise causing loss or rejection, or ultimate abandonment. This is an illusion from surrounding myself with wrong beliefs and perceptions based on those beliefs. I ignore any evidence to the contrary. If I do not trust other beliefs, I cannot experience the truth working in my life.

These past few years my health problems have finally convinced me that other than God, I am the only one responsible for taking care of me and following the path God tries to show me.  I am also learning that God is always faithful and never lets us down. If I follow the guidance in my spirit as led by God, He provides all I need and keeps my path clearer from obstacles and more direct to His destinations, including meeting the worldly demands that cannot be ignored. God is like a good shepherd.

In the end, when I am down and out and all my chips run out, and I am not able to respond to others’ demands and expectations, I am left seemingly alone to fend for myself. Thank God He is always there to pick up the pieces and provide whatever is needed, even if I suffer some serious loss or severe pain as a result.  My losses are never the fault of others but my own errors in not discerning my path as directed by God and not developing boundaries to keep me on that path, a kind of fence to keep me from wandering off, like a lamb who eats their way off a cliff. That is why lambs need shepherds to keep them on the path. The Lord is my good shepherd if I trust in Him and follow. Stay tuned for more.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

"This time is for you, not for Me”


This is my first writing in 2015. I am determined to write personally every day, even if only a few sentences. This is one of my new resolutions within what seems a new beginning for my life, given the last few years. It is hard to know where to begin. So, rather than going over the recent past, I will begin with my conversation with God this morning.

I slept in late, given I stayed up later than usual to see the New Year in with Pitbull on FOX in Miami. It seemed a new celebration of our city and I actually found myself connecting positively to Miami like a favorite sports team, after feeling more and more disconnected with many aspects of our city over the past couple of years. I had been feeling much excitement and joyful expectation of the new year and this seemed to fit in with my forward positive outlook for my life this coming year of 2015.

I did not want to get up so late but I had not spent all of my quiet time with God. I felt a bit guilty about rushing past my usual longer time with Him. I said to myself: “well, actually I have spent time praising Him and thanking Him for all the blessings in my life, lifting up others in prayer and reading through several, if not all, of my usual daily devotions. Had not I done enough?”

There was a loud response: “This time is for you, not for Me. You receive from Me. I do not need this time with you. This is not an obligation, but an opportunity to receive more love, power, and grace from Me. Everything you do “in My name”; every thought, every feeling, every action, every word said in reflection upon Me and with intention to serve and follow Me, no matter how trivial, or even distasteful, if done with thought of Me, is blessed and produces a blessing for you and for others. Even if you are behaving ‘wrongly’, in anger, resentment, impatience, judgment, etc., if given over to me (with repentance) will turn into a blessing for you and others involved. Take all thoughts, words, actions, choices, etc., even the daily physical functions of life, like eating and sleeping, and present them to Me at the meeting place of our connection, the altar of the sanctuary in your spirit’s heart, your holy tent like Moses, where I reside and you reside in Me, and I will use it to produce blessings for you and for others, always. That is what I do! I love you and all creation and want only the best for all my creation as an outcome of all things done, said, thought, felt, and reflected through who you are and who you are becoming to be in Me.”

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I love a mystery! Do you? Really?

I have always loved mysteries! Mystery stories, mystery quizzes, mystery puzzles. Anything that was missing an explanation. I loved Perry Mason, Sherlock Holmes, Columbo, who-done-it's. And figuring out how it was done: CSI, the TV series and all the spin-offs. That is the catch of many soap operas: trying to figure out what really happened, what was going to happen, to whom and when. Who shot President Kennedy? Was there really a Bermuda Triangle? How do caterpillars become butterflies? All mysteries. Solving them can be fun, satisfying and certainly brain challenging. Hence the popularity of the TV series LOST. There was a year the series got too confusing and people stopped watching. They could not figure enough out.

The biggest mystery of all: GOD. Is there a God? Who is God? Where is God? What is God doing? What is God going to do? Only one problem. God is unfathomable. We cannot figure that out and sometimes, that makes us angry or at least frustrated and confused. We really do not like mysteries we cannot solve or are not revealed to us satisfactorily. The secret to keeping us hooked is just enough information to keep us thinking we are going to get the answers we think we want. But with God, often there are no answers. And some of the answers are not what we want to hear.

The real secret, that brings peace and joy, is we do not have to figure it out! We just have to come to believe and accept what is out of our control, doing what we can to change things for the better. But that is not easy for most of us. We want to understand. We want to see, and feel, and know the answers. And we want the answers to satisfy our sense of right and wrong, and justice and fairness. If we could see the whole picture, from beginning to end, with all the multitude of players and histories; if we could possibly even begin to comprehend all of what is or ever has been in every moment of every things' existence until the end of time, we might just come to understand with satisfaction and compassion. But that is impossible. Only God can know all that is for all time for all things and "figure it out".

So the mystery remains a mystery. But when we accept what is seen and known as part of a much bigger picture and enjoy the parts that are there for us to enjoy every moment, enduring what is painful when it is, even if seemingly unbearable, we can grow to an awareness of a God who loves us unconditionally, leading us along the best path possible, providing everything we need along the way, bringing good things out of painful things, and comforting and healing the pains we have to endure. And, it gets easier. We grow more peaceful, more thankful, more patient, more loving, more strong. We learn about ourselves, and others and about God. We do what we can to make things better for everyone. And we can give up trying to solve the mystery and begin to find gratitude and awe in the mystery that enfolds us with love, compassion, provision, mercy, wisdom and grace in unbelievable ways, beyond our imagination or ability to find the answers in any way that makes sense or gives timely satisfaction.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day! Perfected Parenthood....

More thoughts and memories of mom today. I tried to avoid Mother's Day this year since my mom passed so recently, but it was unavoidable. Messages were everywhere. Mother's Day wishes have been coming from all directions and sources. Mother's Day is a big deal! We all have mothers of one sort or another. And in some way or variety of ways, we have been like a mother at one time or another to someone, if only in a small way for a little while. Even men act in mothering ways at times.

What do we think of as mothering? Nurturing, comforting, hugging, warming, kissing, cooing, emotional support, feeding, teaching, discipline, direction, guidance, nursing, healing, bandaging wounds. Some mothers have other characteristics: abandoning, rejecting, scolding, criticizing, judging, denying, bullying. Some traits are subtle. A few award winning. Others overwhelming, smothering, suffocating, destructive or murderous.

All of us are mothers in one way or another at one time or other. None are perfect. Except one! My God is a good mother, the most perfect of all! My God provides all my needs at all levels, in the most perfect ways, usually in surprising ways if I let God be God and surrender to the "parenting". God always knows more than I do, before I could ever discover even a part. God knows exactly the best way to give me what I need, direct and guide me where and when and what to do for my best and the best good of others. God can teach me what I need to know when I need it. God also disciplines and corrects, but in merciful and gentle ways if I respond with a desire to listen and do the best I can.

God can heal any wound and love unconditionally in abundant, lavish ways. And if I ask for the wisdom and ways to be, as best I can, a "mother" to others, God can do that too! I will never be perfect, but God is perfecting the motherhood in all of us that surrender to the parenting of God!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Cycle of Life, Losses and Transitions

This is the centerpiece from the reception after my mother's memorial yesterday. The roses were almost closed yesterday, promising more beauty to come upon opening. I debated in my mind if I really wanted to keep the token of her memorial, as if trying to keep away the grief, but something inside urged me to take it home and display it in a prominent place.

The memorial was perfect in so many ways. The readings, music, and sermon all provided a message and experience of celebrating the movement from life to death as a transition, not an ending. The sermon particularly and poignantly directed us to the mystery of God and God's ways! God uses everything for good according to God's purposes, which are better than we could ask, hope for, or imagine. Along the way there are losses, disappointments, even tragedies, that cause pain. But God can redeem anything and turn it into blessings for ourselves and others.

In death and after, there is loss and it hurts, some times more than others, like waves crashing on shore. Some waves are barely noticed, others knock you over or, at least off your path, and, at the very least, creating unbalance, later causing you to fall down. Often the waves that are hardest come unexpectedly in surprising ways. The memories that appear are mixed and travel the mind, dancing to different rhythms and pausing over some more than others, provoking a variety of feelings, like the sounds of various instruments in an orchestra's performance. Some of the movements are difficult, others almost impossible to bear.

A few of the losses I have experienced cannot be shared with most people, others are losses I thought might be temprorary abscences of important aspects of my life, things that I gave up over the last 4 years in my decision to help my mom have more quality of life, while maintianing my health. Some of those losses I am now finding I can never recapture or retrieve. More death, more empty places to fill!

I passed by the floral arrangement this morning barely noticing, perhaps even denying its existence in the room, like I sometimes do with my feelings. Later today, I felt some sadness and tears from various sources of pain, and looking at the memorial token, I was reminded of the love and support I felt yesterday, something I have been deprived of for many months by the demands of my mother's care. The warmth and soothing washed over me and I noticed the open roses delivering their promise of more beauty and the expansion of my life into new blossoms and the ongoing cycle of life.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Losses and life changes! Happy St Patty's Day!

This is my mom on her birthday at a beautiful garden here in 2009. I took over the management of her care the previous year and she moved on to better gardens in heaven last Saturday. Her passing was difficult for me, although she had no pain. The pain was all mine in losing her a bit at a time over a few weeks. Thank God it did not happen over months or years, like many have to endure. The reason I have not posted in a while is due to my focus on her care and maintaining my own health, trying to get enough rest as I could given all the amount of urgent activities and decisions.

It helps that I have learned to rely on God. I did not have a partner or other family around to help and many of my friends have moved away to other geographical areas. My two closest friends were out of town and without phone service at their locations. But God provided wonderful people who prayed, called, texted and even appeared, at just the right moments when I needed someone to be with me, even if to hear their voice on the phone or read their text and receive their "virtual hugs". A new friend who lives out of town most of the year (a snow duck, as she calls herself), appeared and was with me most of the day my mother died, and more importantly, was with me at the moment my mother expired so I was not alone. I knew God was with me, but sometimes we need someone in the "flesh" to comfort and strengthen through our senses, and not just in the spirit or virtually "away". 

Losses are difficult. Any change is really just a loss of one thing or another. If we can practice letting go and grieving the little losses and changes in our lives, the bigger losses and changes get easier, but some are never "easy" and some are traumatic. If we can accept things we cannot plan or control (which is mostly everything), trusting an all-powerful, higher power that knows every thing we need, knows everything about every thing past, present and future; who loves us unconditionally and delights in providing all that we need and all that makes us joyful (not just happy for a time), life can be so much more full and abundant, no matter what is going on, even if we have less than we think would make us "happy". My God is like that! The more I let go, trust and believe, the more I experience the many ways God is there for me, loving me unconditionally and providing all that brings me joy, peace and fulfillment in my life no matter what is happening. Thank God!

She is in a better place!