Monday, July 28, 2014

What's that burning smell???

Don't worry, I've just been thinking. About being content in all circumstances. About being thankful no matter what. About why God allows things in our lives that we don't like.

The last several years have been heavy with increasing weight as they moved along. The burdens have been hard to bear. Often, my back has felt broken by the yoke and burden.

I frequently speak of Corrie Ten Boom's book, The Hiding Place. I am particularly moved by the passage where she deals with thanking God even for the flea infestation in the concentration camp barracks where she and her sister, Betsy, are imprisoned during WWII. I won't quote the passage here, but it is very inspirational. (You can find it at this link on my Caring Bridge journal if you are interested in reading it.) In the passage, Corrie and Betsy are discussing I Thessalonians 5:16-18, "Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus." Betsy begins praying, listing things that are "wrong" in their lives and thanking God for them. Corrie struggles, but prays in agreement - until Betsy thanks God for the fleas. The biting, crawling fleas that cover their beds, bedding, every inch of their living space. Corrie says she just can't be thankful for the fleas. Betsy reminds her that the Scripture says ALL circumstances! Grudgingly, Corrie thanks God for the fleas. Weeks later, God's reason for allowing the horrible infestation is revealed and Corrie is truly grateful.

I think this is probably one of the most difficult of God's expectations for man - especially when the reason is never revealed. We don't like it when bad things happen! The concept of being thankful for inconveniences never mind in horrible circumstances is completely foreign to us! Nonetheless, there it is. I Thessalonians 5:16-18. Not only that, but the Psalms and Proverbs are full of admonitions to praise and give thanks to God in all things. All throughout Scripture, we find this concept. So, we strive to be thankful in all circumstances. I often say in my prayers, "even the fleas, Lord, even the fleas!"

But like Corrie, there are those things that we cry out, "This is too much!... there's no way even God can make me grateful for the fleas!" My life has been filled with fleas in the last few years. The last few months have been particularly infested. Let me tell you about why I am thankful for a specific infestation, my broken relationship with Harlan, the man with whom I thought I would spend the remainder of my life serving God and each other as man and wife.

Before betrayal and pain entered our relationship, their was love and devotion. Their was grief healing for both of us. Their was flirting and fun and long discussions about everything from theology to our days' events. It was easy to be thankful then! He had helped me begin to emerge from the blackest, the absolute worst time of my life, the death of my precious Al. Through him, God lit a light in the darkness, gave me the will to live.

Then, I discovered that the man I loved did not exist. He was imaginary. The true man emerged. I was shocked, devastated. I cried out to God. I begged. I refused to believe at first. At times, I still refuse, am tempted by his calls asking for reconciliation, crying that I have hurt him beyond what he can bear. And my heart was broken yet again. The darkness settled back around me, deeper, blacker than ever. I prayed - continue daily to pray - for him. I will do so until God releases me.

I have not been angry with him. I sometimes wish I could be. It would have made the loss more bearable. But that is not the way God chose to teach me thankfulness in all circumstances. He has revealed much to me through love.

  • Through Harlan, God brought me joy when I thought I could never be happy again. He gave me light to get through the intense darkness. 
  • He showed me I could love again!
  • During my relationship with this man, I drew much closer to God. First through sharing a devotional time with him each morning, then, as he experienced a very difficult time in his life, through intense prayer for him and his situation.
  • He taught me a little more of His great love for us. I learned that I could care so much more for someone else than myself. Just as God cares more for us than Himself. And not just as I care more for Chrys and Kim because they are my children, no, I loved him purely, just for who and what he was, outside of the parent child relationship, just as God loves us purely and for who and what we are. Not just because we are His children, but because He truly loves us.
  • He has taught me stillness in His presence, careful listening.
  • He has shown me that my level of trust in Him was shallow and result dependent. I am learning to practice blind trust in Him. When it doesn't make sense. Because He is God!
  • He has shown me that the pain of loss is the worst kind of pain. First Al, then Harlan. The double loss, the worst pain I have ever known. The betrayal. The loss of dreams. The harsh reality. Only a tiny taste of the pain He feels when He looses one of us. I think this is the greatest lesson! My loss of Harlan was by choice, not by circumstance as with Al. I could change it. I could go back to the relationship without changes. When we turn our backs on Him, it is our choice. While He could force us into relationship with Him, he does not, but lets us choose. He could lower His expectations, but that would make for a shallow relationship. He wants depth! He experiences more pain than I can begin to fathom when we repeatedly turn our backs on Him! And the multiple losses!
    The double loss I experienced by my choice is nothing compared to the loss He experiences thousands of times each day by man's choice to turn from Him! How He must grieve!!! May I never do it to Him again!!!
  • He has honored me by calling me to intense prayer for someone. The most intense prayer calling I have ever experienced. And prayer is one of my spiritual gifts, I pray intensely a lot. What an honor and privilege! Thank you, Lord!
  • He has shown me that man cannot satisfy. In our humanness, we will always fail. My satisfaction, true satisfaction, can come only through Him.
  • I have learned that faith is a choice that I make. It is either strengthened or weakened by adversity. Which is my choice.
  • I have learned that deep love is both easy and hard. It is easy because there it is! I love Harlan. Period. Regardless of what he's done, I love him. It is hard because there it is! In betrayal, it doesn't leave, it just hurts, even, in some ways, grows as we seek to find a way around it. Just as God sought to find a way around man's betrayal through His Son, Jesus Christ, loving us all the more in the process. And when we continue to betray, He continues to love, seeking US! Can you believe it??? HE seeks US!!! He gave everything! Sacrificed! Paid our penalty! And He still comes looking for us! (Revelation 3:20 NLT, "Look! Here I stand at the door and knock. If you hear Me calling and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal as friends.") And so often, when we receive all we can get from Him, we turn on Him. And still, He continues to love us, woo us, seek our love in return. How amazing! How gracious! What great, infinite love! 
  • Finally, He took me where He wanted me by steps. A number of years ago, I was working at a law firm. I liked my job, I liked the people with whom I worked, but I was becoming bored, restless. I had advanced as far as I would be able to there. I was offered another job. A very significant pay raise. A better title. I made the move. Just six months later, my position was eliminated. Just in time to apply for my position at Amarillo College, the best job I ever had! Now, I have to be honest. I would not have applied for that job straight from my law firm. I would have viewed it as a step down. And I intended to use it as a stepping stone until I could get back into the legal field. I stayed until Al's illness brought me home as his caregiver. Would still be there were it not for that. It was the place I was meant to be. 
I met Harlan on Christian Mingle. I'd have never gone to any other site. But after Harlan, when I decided to get back on that horse, I didn't want anything to be the same. So when I got back on the sites, I didn't go to Christian Mingle. My sweet Michael didn't either. I'd have never met him without my Harlan experience to slow me down for the months it took to bring me to where Michael was so we could find one another.

So, silver linings. They really are there! Go find yours! 

Thank you, Lord, for the fleas! May I always be grateful in ALL circumstances!

Can we talk?

I'd like to tell you about Allan Nickael.

(Al)lan Nickael is the man I grew up with. I met Al when I was 13. Started "going steady" when I was 14. Married him when I was 18. Lost him to cancer when I was not quite 56. I miss him every single day of my life. We grew up together. We grew together. And those are not the same thing. We were young and loved each other so passionately! In some ways, our love never grew past that 16-year-old, all-consuming infatuation. We never lost the passion. It didn't matter whether we were loving or fighting, we did it with gusto! Al was handsome, strong, my fierce protector, my mentor. He was brilliant, the smartest man I have ever known. Oh, I'm sure I've know men who may have placed higher on the IQ scale by a little, but Al was not only highly intelligent, he had good common sense for the most part and he used it! He a was romantic, loving, caring husband. He was a wonderful, fun, loving daddy, a just, loving father (again, different). As I have traveled the last 18 months without him, I have come to more fully appreciate what I had and lost. I will always love him.

Al(lan) Nickael is also the man with whom I fell in love after Al and who further damaged my already broken heart. Just typing these words makes my throat tighten and my eyes sting with tears. Harlan was wonderful! I fell fast and hard! He was charming and loving and handsome and also brilliant. Before him, I was convinced I would never be able to love again. Boy was I wrong! He helped me out of the very darkest days of my life, gave me a light by which to see, illuminated my path, brought great joy to the greatest sorrow I had ever known. Just 3 1/2 months after meeting him, we became engaged. Just five weeks later, I discovered he was not the man I thought him to be. And my world came crashing down. My grief now encompassed two. And the light that was helping me through the darkness of the first loss was snuffed out and the blackness was even deeper. But I learned some things. And, despite the anguish, in the end, I am glad it happened.

Allan N(ick)ael is also a dear, dear friend. I "met" Rick at the same time I met Harlan. We talked and had much in common. But at the same time I ended my conversations with Harlan, I ended our conversations. He invited me to contact him if I ever changed my mind. After Harlan, I needed to "get back on the horse" quickly. So, as invited, I called him, explaining that I wanted nothing more than friendship from him, and we met face-to-face for coffee. From then on, we texted and saw each other often. He let me talk about Al and he talked about his late wife. He let me talk about Harlan, let me cry, didn't criticize me or him, just listened. He let me talk about my dates. Sometimes we laughed (they were often laughable, let me tell you!), sometimes we shook our heads, but he always listened. We hung out. In our mutual loneliness, we were a safe haven for one another. Until he confessed to being in love with me. I only wanted friendship. We had some hard moments. He said he couldn't be just friends. So, I lost my friend. Got him back because he said he could be just friends after all. But I don't think we can and I believe I am in process of losing him permanently. Because I only want friendship from him. And he is such a good friend! Another hard loss.

Allan Nick(ael) is my future. Michael and I met on a dating site. We have known each other for nearly six months. We have spent most weekends together since April. He too has been a good friend. He too has listened to me talk about my Al. I have listened to him talk about his Joyce. He has listened to me talk about Harlan. He has heard all about all the baggage I come with. He has held me and comforted me as I sobbed, he has laughed joyously with me as I have teased and taunted. We have wonderful conversations about God and everything else. He is articulate, intelligent, musical - comfortable. He is passionate and loving. We dance, we walk together, we cuddle, we worship, we have become "us". I admit that I am terrified. Another potential loss. My heart is screaming "PROTECT ME!!!!!". He is older than I. I will almost certainly face a life without him at some point. But, nonetheless, the current companionship and love trump the possibility of future loss and sorrow.

I can no longer separate from these four men. Each of them have become a permanent part of my heart. And that's okay. Because Allan Nickael has helped shape me into today's woman. Stronger than I thought I could be. More tender than I thought I could be. A more committed woman of God. A better friend. A better wife. A better person. Thanks, Allan Nickael!

Thank You God, for giving him to me.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


I have a secret! About ten nights ago, I began a relationship with a wonderful man! We have spent several hours together every night since we first met. His name is Allan Nickael and he is absolutely perfect for me! Yes indeedy, everything I've ever dreamed of in a man! In fact, my dream man is just that, a dream, name and all!

Now I thought it was strange the first night since I didn't know an Allan Nickael but he looked  a lot like a combination of my beloved Al and my ex-fiance and had all the wonderful personality traits of the four men in my life (except for my sons-in-law) that I most care for and it was a very pleasant dream so, hey, go with the flow. I had several dreams that night. And the next. And every night since. Still a little strange, but still, mostly lovely dreams.

My Allan Nickael is tall, broad-shouldered, handsome, caring, romantic, a deeply spiritual man, a lot of fun, very, very intelligent, generous, attentive, as I said, everything I could possibly want! We talk, we play, we kiss and hold each other. Sleeping pills have helped me sleep the past 10 nights, Allan Nickael has made my sleep pleasant.

This morning, it hit me. Allan Nickael is a composite of those four men. Even his name! Hey! This could really work out!

Have I mentioned that I have a very active imagination? ;-)

Monday, July 21, 2014


I went shopping today. With a teenager. A girl teenager. I had forgotten! You know, what it's like shopping with a teenage girl. We walked a thousand miles in the mall. Passed up stores. Went back to them. Nobody had anything good. In the entire mall. I found five shirts and lotions.

She did finally end up with three pair of flip-flops, two tops, two pair of jeans, and lotion.

But it was so much fun! We talked, caught up with each other. She is still not dating. Because she has a plan. She will be a junior in high school this year. She wants to be a pediatrician. She has a friend who also has high aspirations and they have a pact not to date until they have their lives together. They hold each other accountable.

This year, they have SATS for which they must prepare. Dual credit classes. She will have a job. She will need to keep her GPA high. No boys.

Next year will be senior year, lots of activities, gotta keep the GPA up. Dual credit classes. Will have to have a job. No boys.

The next year she will be finishing up what she can from Amarillo College. It will be a new experience. Lots of concentration. Will have to work. Gotta keep the GPA up. No boys.

Then on to West Texas A&M for her bachelors. Another new experience, harder classes, longer drive time. Will need to be working as well. Keep up the GPA so she'll be accepted into Med School. No boys.

Then on to Texas Tech Medical School. Hard, intense work. Job. GPA. Residency. No boys.

Then specialization. Job. GPA. No boys.

Medical boards. Study, study, study. Job. No boys.

Finally, practice. Have to get established, medical practice takes a lot of time. Maybe boys then, maybe not.

Five years into practice. Established. Successful. Now boys.

This young woman lives in an area of town that sees more unwed mothers than the national or state average. She doesn't want to get caught! This area has as many high school dropouts as graduates with very few grads going on to college. Her parents are poor. She wants more.

She has a plan. And at 16 and a junior in high school, she is sticking with it!

I am so proud of her!

I hope to be that mature someday!

Sunday, July 20, 2014


So I'm out for my evening walk, weights in hand, headed west into the setting sun. It's warm, 92, but humidity here is low and their is a stiff breeze blowing so it promises to be a pleasant walk.

I live out in the country and I head deeper into the boonies on my walks where traffic is low, it's quiet, I can talk to the horses, the bunnies, and the occasional dog as I walk by and no one thinks me odd. Well, now they do, but I digress.

About a half mile, give or take, into my walk, I pass a home where three doggies feel obliged to inform anyone within earshot that I am keeping to my exercise program. They run to the end of their drive, tails wagging to say hello. I say "Hi Poochies" and keep going. They stand in the drive for a minute watching and telling the other critters that I'm moving on as usual, and then head back home. Because I retrace my steps coming home, we repeat the process a couple miles later.

Tonight, however, my second "Hi Poochies" apparently was spoken with an inflection that in doggie-talk said "You two, follow me!" And so they did. I ignored them figuring they'd turn around in a minute. About a block later, I said sternly "NO! GO HOME!" That seemed to mean "Keep following, but back off a bit." About a hundred feet later, I repeated my stern command and added a stamped foot. That apparently meant "Ooooohhhhhhhh, she wants to play!!!" I kept walking. They kept following.

A quarter of a mile later, I turned around to take them home thinking I would have to take them to the door - a block or so from the street - and have their mommy and daddy keep them contained until I was out of sight. Nope. We got to the driveway, they each loped on past me, turned and looked, yipped a couple times as if to say, "Enjoyed it, see you tomorrow" and headed toward the house. I turned, and resumed my extended walk home, smiling, figuring the extra half mile hadn't hurt me any.

But it made me think. If they had followed me on the westward journey I'd have enjoyed the company, from the very beginning rather than just as I was walking them back home, would have talked to them about how they were likely going to be in trouble when they got home, the bunny trail I took to look in the windows of an empty home for sale, and dropped them at their driveway as I passed by, headed east. It was all about the timing.

Isn't that the way life is? How we view a new baby, a new car, a new job, a new house, change of any kind, is all about the timing. We planned it, we're happy. We didn't, we aren't. But in the end, we are generally glad it happened. 

Oh, I know, believe me, that's not always true. Some of life's experiences never feel good, even when we look back at them from the other side. But we grow and learn from everything God allows in our lives.

To be honest, I rather enjoyed those silly pups following me, watching as they ran ahead to chase a bug or a rabbit, or a blade of grass blowing in the wind. I laughed as they rubbed against my leg after my foot-stamping command to go home. Yeah, I had to walk an extra half a mile to take them home. It didn't hurt me any. I got home a few minutes later. So what? 

So I learned a little bit from those little pooches. Life is full of unexpected experiences. Appreciate them. Learn from them. Do what you can to change them if you feel the need. Move on.

Thanks guys!

Quiet Noise

My house is very quiet. It is a lot lately. I rarely turn on the TV and when I do, I usually turn it off again quickly, rarely watching anything, even half hour shows, all the way through. I used to have music playing all the time, but I really don't even do that much lately. 

This afternoon, I sat down in "his" chair because I wanted to "touch" him for a moment. I originally was going to turn on the TV, but didn't. I just didn't feel like the noise. And it made me wonder why all at once the things that used to keep the house from being too quiet have become just clanging noise.

Because even in the noise, the house is too quiet. 

Strangely, rather than making the house less quiet, it almost makes it more quiet. It's unsettling. It doesn't make me feel any better. Because it is, after all, just noise. It is not companionship. It is not the voice I long for. It is not the text or ring tone that I crave. It is not the touch for which my body aches. It does not fill up the ginormous hole in my heart. It just jangles my senses.

And you know what? I've discovered quiet is a good thing! In the extreme quiet and stillness that God has asked of me in the last few weeks, I have been able to hear His voice. I have prayed, I have read His Word, but I have done a lot of literal still listening. Sitting in a chair. Being quiet. Being still. His Word and my prayer journal in my lap.



Prayer Journal




Prayer Journal


Stillness. Physical stillness. Spiritual stillness. Emotional stillness.

God is so smart!

Oh, don't get me wrong. My life isn't "fixed". I'm still a widow. My former fiance is still no longer a part of my life. I'm still alone and lonely. I still miss them, wish they were here. I am still in love with two men. I still can't have either of them. I still grieve.

But GOD is speaking! And I'm hearing Him!!! All the noise, all the frenzied searching, all the crying out, all the travel, all the distractions I tried to place in my life to help me "get over" my sorrows kept me from healing! When it comes right down to it, all those things were just more noise.

Sometimes noise is just that. Noise.

I wait quietly before God,
For my salvation comes from Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will never be shaken...

...I wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.

O my people, trust in Him at all times.
Pour out your heart to Him,
for God is our refuge.

~~Psalm 62:1-2, 5-8 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Wise counsel and roller coasters and teeter-totters

Proverbs is full of wisdom and advice to listen to wise counsel:
  • "Fools think they need no advice, but the wise listen to others." 12:15
  • "The advice of the wise is like a life-giving fountain; those who accept it avoid the snares of death." 13:14
  • "Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many counselors bring success." 15:22
  • "If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. If you reject criticism, you only harm yourself; but if you list to correction, you grow in understanding." 15:31-32
There are many more, but you get the idea.

Now, I gotta tell ya, I don't like to be told what to do! I never have! I know what's best for me, right? Well, not so much! Over the years, I have learned to seek counsel, have developed a small group of very trusted individuals off of whom I bounce things - sometimes after the fact, sadly, but I digress - and whom I trust to pray for me and any situation with which I may be struggling. I offer the same to them. But it is not easy for me to hear wise counsel when it does not fall in line with my wants and desires. Sometimes it's downright irritating and grumpy-making! Even when I've asked for it, and if I haven't? Oy vay! But I do try to listen and make thoughtful, wise, Godly decisions based upon God's Word and the wise counsel of other Godly individuals.

This week, just the last couple days in fact, I have received some wise counsel - mostly uninvited, but just what I needed to hear! Things that I hadn't thought of on this grief/healing journey I am walking. I want to share.

First up: My friend, Rachel Moore, posted the following reply to another friend's anguished cry of sorrow and loneliness for her husband. 
 [Name withheld], I feel deeply for you as everyone has expressed. But I want to point something out to all of us. DEATH WAS NEVER INTENDED TO BE GOD'S WILL!!!! If we miss that truth we will walk in confusion and despair through this life. We live in a FALLEN planet. When Adam sinned, the world that God created for his children disappeared and it changed TREMENDOUSLY! The reason why Gary (my husband) died is because we live in a fallen planet and we have all sinned. Now I also believe that God holds all of us in the palm of his hand, yet, we as believers are not exempt from the fact that [s]atan is the God of this world and that sin pervades everything and that the curse is more profound than we can comprehend. Everything in us screams, 'THIS IS NOT HOW IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE" and God and all the angels in heaven say, AMEN!!!! It is NOT supposed to be this way. This isn't the world that God created. God created Adam and Eve to live in perfect harmony with him forever. We were never created to become widows and yet, all have sinned and all live in this world under the curse. We are redeemed, but we don't live in the fullness of that redemption until eternity. Jesus paid for the curse so that we only have to live this way for somewhere around 70 years, give or take a decade or two (or three) but when we are saved we aren't suddenly removed from the fallenness of this world. Nothing on this planet is "the way it is supposed to be". Anyone who has done any missionary work will tell you that. Any one who has walked the streets with the homeless can tell you that. anyone who has been to an Auschwitz concentration camp can testify that this world is fallen. So I just want to encourage you that the agony and the injustice that you feel inside is correct but all of this isn't God's ultimate will any more than any of the above mentioned things were his doing. Yes, he holds his children in the palm of his hand, he cares when the sparrow falls but the rain does still fall on the just and the unjust. I would venture to say that there are just as many believers receiving chemo today than unbelievers. We live in a disease filled and sin filled world. Jesus came for our eternal redemption and praise God we don't have to travel in this world forever!
 Wow! This really made me think. This wasn't news to me, but was something I had forgotten to remember as I have walked the last several painful months. I have often said that God allows everything that happens in our lives, and He does for He is the Master of the universe and can change the very laws of nature at will. But man chose to step outside the perfect will of God and by doing so let in all kinds of yuck! Unfortunately, that means that none of us can walk in God's perfect will, for his perfect will does not include sin in the world - the result of which is sickness and pain and death and all other imperfections of life. So, to say that it was God's will for Al, or anyone else, to die is incorrect. To say that because of sin in the world we all must die and God chooses that time is far more accurate. God does not "will" loneliness, sorrow, loss of any kind, for any of us! But He does provide us with a way through it when it comes! Thank you for your wisdom, Rachel!

Second: My friend, Lori Barney, was relaying her recent vacation, her first without her beloved, and made the comment, "...sometimes we stop to catch our breath, but we can't stay there." She went on to say in reply to my comment on her post:
 You know Gina, I have climbed Pikes Peak many times with Dan, our kids, friends and for races. I have taken "first timers" up there too and there is one piece of advice I give everyone as you get to the last 2 miles- when you are feeling the lack of oxygen and your legs feel like heavy tree stumps. Everyone thinks "I can't do this" and your inclination is to stop and sit down to rest. But, that is the worst thing you can do.
You can slow down but if you stop, it takes so much more energy to get going again and some can't. This is where the altitude and their mind gets the best of them. It is truly mind over matter at that point. So... my advice is always "Step, breathe, step, breathe, step, breathe". And before you know it they are at the summit. This is a reminder to myself with this grief journey too.
 WOWWOWWOWWOWWOW!!!! That is exactly what I have done the last couple months! I stopped to catch my breath and never got up!!! "Step, breathe, step, breathe, step, breath". Much easier than the mad dash to the top I was attempting before I became so worn I just had to stop - and became frozen in place!

Third: I went to dinner with a group of friends who have all survived employment at a certain unnamed employer. We meet together once a month or so and laugh and giggle and share what's going on in our lives. I shared the struggles I had been having over the last several months and my determination to return to looking for the good, the positive,
the silver lining that is inside every dark cloud. I was using my hands to demonstrate the journey I have been on over the past several years saying that it was like a roller coaster with extreme highs and sudden plunges. Think about a roller coaster with all its highs and lows, twists and turns, upside down, black tunnels, extreme fear, great exhilaration, dread, anticipation. It's great fun for the minute and a half that it takes to complete. But when we allow our lives to be a roller coaster ride with no break in between, just constant looping - well, it makes us sick!!! I went on to say that I needed to find a balance between allowing myself to grieve and allowing myself to live, using my hands to make a slight opposite up and down motion indicating balance. I've used the roller coaster analogy often. But over the last month as I have been being still and waiting on God, He has been telling me that I don't need to be on a roller coaster. 

 So what to do? How do I get off? How do I live life which is full of ups and downs, twists and turns, loop-d-loops, dark tunnels? My friend Tiffany had an epiphany! (Hey, I'm a poet! ;-)) She said that watching my hands make the opposing up and down motion made her think of a teeter-totter and that maybe I needed to stop seeing my life as a roller coaster
and begin seeing it as a teeter-totter with God as the balance. Wowzers! There are ups and downs. We are on one end. Who is on the other? If we invite God to be our teeter-totter partner, sometimes we will be on the top, up in the air, looking at the view. Sometimes we will be on the bottom, getting sand in our shorts. But mostly, we will be balanced, happily going along a mild up and down motion that is simultaneously thrilling and calming. Because God is our balance! Not our circumstances. Not our losses. Not our grief. Not our jobs. Not our children. Not our spouses. Not our....... anything! God, whose weight adjusts perfectly to ours, who never jumps off and sends us crashing to the ground! Rather, when He allows the ground bump, He has only adjusted His weight momentarily for purposes known only to Him. But He will not leave us there unless we start piling on rocks and loading our shorts with sand to keep us weighted down. Then, He allows us to have our way, waiting patiently, gently saying "Throw off the rocks, My love, empty the sand out of your pockets, Gina. It's time to rise from the ground!" Thank you for that new picture, Tiff!!!!

So, no more roller coaster for me! And you know what? God showed me just how to get off! On any roller coaster, when the cars are at the bottom and start that looooooooooong climb to the top, it is very slow. You can feel the train straining, struggling with its burden of people to get to the top. Well, that's where I am. At the bottom, with the roller coaster going slow and struggling to get to the top! And I have unbuckled my belt, raised that bar, and climbed right out! I went at a dead run last night to my teeter-totter and guess who I saw holding it steady, waiting for my arrival? There was my Jesus! I climbed right on and let me tell you, I'm throwing sand out of my pockets as fast as I can. And there sits my Jesus on the other end, adjusting His weight to help me rise, smiling gently at me, saying "I love you so much, Gina! I'm so proud of you for taking that step of faith! I know that even at the bottom of the roller coaster track the ground and this teeter-totter looked very far away! Together, we can make this ride much more pleasant! I may sometimes take you high, I may sometimes let you bump the ground, but I will always be here to balance things out and keep you mostly in the pleasant, smooth, up and down that you enjoy. Keep your eyes on Me, My love, I will not let you drop!"

Praise God forever and forever!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

There is no worm!

I am feeling sorry for myself today! I really am! I'm just having me a big ol' sobbing pity party!

Life just hasn't turned out the way I planned, wanted, expected! I did not expect to be a widow at 55. I expected that, at this point in time, my husband and I would be looking forward to retirement in a couple more years. Grandkids, travel, fun. That didn't happen. I did not expect to find love in the midst of my broken-hearted grief. I was still grieving my sweet husband, but LIFE came along and swept me up and I was happy again! We were so in love, got engaged. I expected that he and I would live out our lives together, loving, being grateful for a second chance (he was also widowed). Then the irreconcilable difference and our relationship ended. And a new sorrow to add to the old one. So today, I am feeling sorry for myself.

And that's okay. Everyone is entitled to feel sorry for themselves from time-to-time. The problem comes when one allows it to take over. When every day is a pity party. Every moment is the focus of loss and sorrow. I know people who do that. Well, not me buddy!!!

So, I hopped on Facebook. Because Facebook fixes everything! ;-) And laughed out loud at this picture! I knew it! There is no worm!

But you know what? I DON'T LIKE WORMS!!!!!!

What do I want with a stinkin' worm??? Or a bug??? Or any other big, fat, juicy yuck??? I have rainbows and unicorns and pots of gold!!! My life is full!!!

Last night, my granddaughter spent the night. We went to the park, swinging, playing tag (I can outrun a 5-year old despite how it may have looked yesterday. Okay, I can't.), feeding the ducks. Then we went to Braum's and had ice cream. Then we came home and we watched Clifford the Big Red Dog. Then during prayers - she is very detailed and long winded - she thanked God for a fun day going to the park and spending the night with Grammie. Then she said, and I quote, "...I love grammie. And I looove grammie, and I love her! And I actually love her!" And I got it on video! That's better than any old worm!

And today my daughter has called to check up on me a couple times because she knew I was having a hard day.

And my grandson greeted me at church this morning with a big hug and a long conversation about his spiritual growth at camp this last week.

And my kitty adores me!

And I have a lovely home!

And good friends!

Do these things replace my lost loves? Do they fix my broken heart? No. They don't. But do I have MUCH for which to be thankful? Oh my, yes!!! So, this evening, I choose to focus on the rainbows and unicorns and pots of gold in my life and thank God for not making me eat a worm!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


Roscoe is my robot vacuum, so named because it does my heart good to see a man vacuum. ;-) Anyway, most of the time, Roscoe moves right along, vacuuming happily until he runs out of juice. Then he returns to his base, recharges himself, and when he's done, he begins his chores again, picking up right where he left off. But sometimes Roscoe gets confused.

For example, today, he vacuumed the perimeter of my office where he begins and returned to his base. Three times. Each time I went and restarted him. I finally shook him and now he's happily cleaning like he should. Sometimes, a stray sock or a cat toy or some other debris will get in his path and he stops and signals for me to come help him out of his jamb.

I am just like Roscoe. I do my work, recharge, pick up where I left off. But sometimes, I get stuck, something unexpected gets in my path. You know what I mean. "Why???" That's a big stick for most of us. Something happens, we get stuck in the why of the situation and can't move on. Or "But I want...". That's a big sticking spot too. We run into something we really want, but cannot have, and can't move on. Sometimes we get stuck in "I don't want to...", or "It's not fair!", or...whatever. Sometimes we even get stuck in fun spots and fail to complete our task because we like where we are, it's comfy and familiar. We all have our sticking places.

I am so glad that I have a base to which I can return for charging, a Master who, when I just can't seem to get unstuck or simply don't want to move forward, shakes me up a little, just enough, and restarts me where I left off. His "eye" is never blocked, His path is sure.

"Lead me in the right path, O Lord, or my enemies will conquer me. Tell me clearly what to do and show me which way to turn." Psalm 5:8 NLT