Saturday, August 30, 2014

Off my pace

 Every evening, I walk three miles as part of my daily workout. I carry weights so that my arms are also getting a workout. I am slowly inching my way toward five miles. I will be increasing my route by a half mile on Monday. My current best average pace is 15 minutes even per mile and I am now consistently keeping within a few seconds either way of that pace. My goal is 12 minutes per mile.

Now, I am not a morning person. At all! That is why I workout in the evenings. I used to workout with someone who was a morning person and did his workout as soon as he finished his morning prayers. I enjoyed the together part so I did it, but I HATED working out in the morning. My body just doesn't like to move that fast in the mornings! It wants to be fully awake and it does that slowly! So, when it became clear that the together part was over, my broken heart and ecstatic body went back to evening workouts.

But this morning, I woke feeling really down so I decided to walk early for the endorphin rush. Off I went, my body saying, "Huh??? What are you doing?" I pushed myself to go my normal pace, but even before my adorable phone app made its first five minute announcement of my distance and current pace, I knew I was off. So I pushed harder, tried to make my body go faster. Its response? "DO YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS????????" But I kept pushing.

In every walk, their comes that point when I wonder if it's really that big a deal to go the whole distance. Normally, I hit that spot somewhere between 1.5 and two miles. You
know. That point where I really don't have a choice any more - thankfully! Stopping is not an option. I'm in the middle of nowhere, on the side of the road, surrounded by weeds. Turning around won't help, it is just as far, or farther, to go back at that point, there are no fewer hills, and the "big one" is part of my second double back so I will have it to climb either way. So I push forward. At about 3/4 of a mile into my current route, I complete my first double back and pass my street again. Today, that's where I first wondered. But those endorphins. I ignored my body screaming "GO! HOME! GO! HOME! GO! HOME!" and kept pushing. About 1.3 miles in, I face my steepest, longest climb. I wondered again. I kept on going.

Meanwhile, my pace tracker app kept announcing my distance and pace every five minutes. Still off - by more than a minute. I push harder. At one point, it felt like I was trudging rather than walking. I pushed harder.

It was right then that The Lord spoke.

"My love, why is it good that you are off pace?"

     "Huh? It's not! I'm trying to catch up, push harder!"

"Did I ask you to push harder?"

     "Um, well, no, but I should......"

"No, My love, I am trying to teach you something this morning."

     "Another lesson, Lord? Really? Do I really have to learn another lesson?"

"Yes, My child, you do. Why is it good that you are off pace?"

     "Sigh. I know, 'Give thanks in all circumstances.'"

"Yes, you should do that. But that is not what I am trying to teach you this morning. Why is it good that you are off pace?"

     "Sigh. Okay, Father, I'll think about it. Well, it will take more time for me to complete my walk. More  sunshine and vitamin D." (I am vitamin D deficient)

"Good. What else."

     "More? Sigh. Longer to pump endorphins?"

"Good. What else?"

     "Longer to sweat out toxins?"

"Yes. What else?"

     "Longer to work my arms, additional strength and toning. Changing up my walking style since my pace is off so that I am lunging more, working a whole different set of muscles harder than normal."

"Excellent. What else?"

     "A slower pace lets me observe more of the beauty around me. Things I hadn't noticed on my head-down-focused-on-pace walks."

"Excellent. Apply these things to your life, My love. You laid a route, set a pace, and have been upset that I have taken you outside that route and pace."

    (Head cocked to one side, eyebrow raised) "Yes, Lord, I have been upset. Very!"

"You have pushed. Tried to force the pace. Set the goal yourself. Tried to force the path to bend and curve, climb, descend, and have flat resting stretches where you felt they were needed."

     (Head hung) "Yes, Father, I have."

"Do you believe I love you? Have your best interest in mind? Know what is best for you?"

    "Yes, Father."

"Then let Me set the path. Let Me place the difficult terrain where it needs to be. Let Me give you the flat path when I know you need the rest. Let Me work the muscles harder that need to be worked. Let Me sweat out the toxins of this world from your spirit and give you spiritual health. Let Me give you the emotions I want you to have - and remove them in My time. Let Me shine the light of my glory and grace on you. You will reach the goal - Heaven, service to Me - much more efficiently if you do!"

     "Oh, Daddy God! I never thought of it that way! I trust You, Lord! I will let You set the pace! I will let You form the path! Thank You for showing me!"
"...and he has showered down upon us the richness of his grace—for how well he understands us and knows what is best for us at all times."
                                                                                                  ~~Ephesians 1:8 TLB~~

Friday, August 29, 2014

What if today's the day?

What do you do to motivate yourself to live when it would be easier not to? You know, to get out of bed in the morning. To make the bed. To take a shower, comb your hair, get dressed. Function! We all have those days we just don't want to, but we do it anyway. On those especially difficult days, what is your tangible, earthly motivation? 

Mine is "what if today's the day?". It doesn't matter for what. It just matters that it motivates me to do those things I'd rather not because I'm just too sad or tired or depressed or lazy or - whatever. God uses that phrase to motivate me to function. I used it this morning. I got up. I had my time with The Lord. I made the bed. I put on clothes. I had my breakfast protein shake. I cleaned the cat pan. I took out the trash. I put my breakfast dishes in the dishwasher. Because what if today's the day?

If you are struggling with life - and we all do, at least from time-to-time - ask God to provide you with a tangible thing, something that He and you know will keep you going when it's easier not to. And if you feel so inclined, share it with me - and others who may be struggling - in the comments.

Have a motivated day!

            "I can do all this through Him Who gives me strength."
                                                                                      ~~ Philippians 4:3 NLT ~~

Thursday, August 28, 2014


I want to talk about suicide. Since the death of Robin Williams, depression and suicide have been in the news a lot. I toyed with talking about it right after, but, really, haven't we heard enough?

Well, no. Because I know someone who is depressed. And lonely. And heartbroken. And is talking about ending their life. And I know just exactly how this person feels.

A little known fact about me is that I come from an extremely broken childhood. I have suffered mental and emotional issues as a result. I have been suicidal. Many years ago, I made an attempt. The last few months, when my sorrow and grief has seemed overwhelming and permanent, suicide has taunted me.

So I know just how this individual feels.

The difference is that I received help. I have learned to know the warning signs. I know that times of extreme stress or sorrow bring on depression, the number one cause of suicide. But I also know that this is temporary. Circumstances change! Emotions change! Our ability to cope changes! Even though hard things feel permanent while we are in the midst of them, they are NOT PERMANENT, they are temporary!

Suicide, on the other hand, is permanent!

So, I want to talk to this individual. And any others out there who are feeling hopeless.


"Family history of suicide, suicide attempts, depression or other psychiatric illness increases the risk of suicide." ( 

If you choose to even attempt suicide, you are increasing the risk that your children, grandchildren, siblings, parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews will do the same. Live for their sakes if you can't do it for your own right now!

This one piece of information, provided to me with the percentage of increase (which I now can't remember, but it was very high, over 50% more likelihood that the family member of a suicide would themselves commit suicide eventually) gave me the strength to fight to live back then. It would have been much easier to have ended my life than to get well, believe me!, but the thought that my precious children or husband or siblings might commit suicide because I had, well, that gave me strength and determination! Grab onto that as I have in the last few months!

"12. How does suicide affect friends and family members?
Suicide is extremely traumatic for the friends and family members that remain (the survivors), even though people that attempt suicide often think that no-one cares about them. In addition to the feelings of grief normally associated with a person's death, there may be guilt, anger, resentment, remorse, confusion and great distress over unresolved issues. The stigma surrounding suicide can make it extremely difficult for survivors to deal with their grief and can cause them also to feel terribly isolated.

Survivors often find that people relate differently to them after the suicide, and may be very reluctant to talk about what has happened for fear of condemnation. They often feel like a failure because someone they cared so much about has chosen to suicide, and may also be fearful of forming any new relationships because of the intense pain they have experienced through the relationship with the person who has completed suicide." ( 

It's not just your family you affect. It's your friends! Those people who thought to themselves, "If he can do it, so can I!" What happens to them when it turns out you couldn't? And what about those people you encouraged to keep on going with your words? Why should they if you didn't? Why should they stop drinking or drugging or get counseling or ........ whatever else? It obviously doesn't work anyway.

Most family and friends blame themselves for a loved one's suicide. They feel they should have known. They should have been able to prevent it. They even feel they were the cause. They will feel guilt. Now, while that may be the goal for some people in your life, it will not just be that person/people who feel that way. Your child(ren) will feel that way. Your siblings will feel that way. Your pastor will feel that way. Your best friend will feel that way. The little lady in the wheel chair who sits across the aisle from you at church will feel that way. The checker you befriended at the grocery store will feel that way. The shut-in you visited regularly will feel that way. Everyone you touched will feel that way. Google it. You will see the research, the reports, know that I am speaking truth.

Further, having experienced loss and grief yourself, do you really want to put your friends and family through the same agony when the past has proven that things will improve?

If you, like my friend, are in that place of hopelessness, loneliness, and sorrow, I encourage you to FIGHT!!!!! Don't let "it" or "them" win!!! Get help!!! TELL someone you need help, you are discouraged, you are hurting, you are depressed, you feel like you can't go on, you are suicidal!


You are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Ps. 139:14), let Jesus help you through your suffering (Matthew 5:4, I Peter 2:21-24, 2 Corinthians 1:8b-9), let Him comfort you and you continue to use your experiences to help others (2 Corinthians 1:3-7).

I pray daily for my friend! Many times, through the night, I waken and lift this individual! Others of you who are at this point, realize that there ARE people out there who care for you!!!! Even those who may be the root of your angst do not want this for you!!! And if they do, they are not worth your life!!! Someone out there is praying for you! God has led them to do so! Rest assured!

I love you, my friend, even when you think I don't! I care what happens to you even if it seems otherwise! So do all the other people in your life!!! DO NOT GIVE UP!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

69 and cloudy

For a little while today, it was 69 and cloudy at the same time in Ferndale, WA, Amarillo, TX, and Paris, France. That is not significant to most people but it is to me. Why doesn't matter. But it gave me pleasure to know that the exact same weather experience was happening in all three places.

The climate of two of these three places is similar. The third is very, very different. Despite the nine hour longitude difference, the latitude of Ferndale and Paris are virtually the same so the weather is often similar
temperature-wise using adjusted time of day. But rarely is it similar at the exact same time. For example, the temperature at 9am in Ferndale is often similar to what the temperature was at 9am, nine hours earlier, in Paris. But because 9am in Ferndale is 6pm in Paris, the temperature is rarely the same in real time. And while both areas do have a lot of cloudiness and rain and are sometimes the same, they just as often are not. Amarillo, however, is much further south on the latitude scale and is very, very rarely the same temperature-wise in either real or adjusted time. Further, it gets very little rain, mostly sunshine. So, for all three cities to have the exact same temperature and weather conditions at the exact same real time, especially at the end of August, Amarillo's hottest month and the time when Paris and Ferndale begin their cool down going into autumn, is exceedingly rare. But today, at 9am/11am/6pm, it happened. And it pleased me. It made me feel a little giddy. And a little foolish. And I laughed at myself a bit.

But then I thought, why would I feel foolish about getting pleasure out of something silly? We get pleasure over silly things all the time! You know,

    a corny joke
            a picture of a unicorn
                    a cute puppy stumbling over his feet
                                    the feeling of bubbles in a soft drink
                                            playing with bubbles in the sun

And really, aren't those the best kind of smiles? The silly ones over things that just make us feel good?

What silly thing over which you have control makes you smile? Do it! Go out and blow some bubbles and have a grin on me!

Happily ever after....

What is "happily ever after"? It is the ending to a fairy tale.

In life, there is no "happily ever after" because life is not a fairy tale! It is reality. Full of joys and heartaches, good times and bad, easy and hard, love and...well, you get the idea. I am learning that pursuing happily ever after is foolhardy because it's not real!

So what are we to do? Are we destined to live lives of mediocrity? Loneliness? Sadness? NO! We are to pursue God and let HIM supply the peripherals!

Sometimes that means our path will be in the valley. And the climb to mountain top may be forested and dark and rocky and steep. Or it may be soft grasses and gentle slopes and streams and cool shade. Or it may be hot sun or cold blizzard. That is up to God.

This I know. The climb doesn't matter. What matters is reaching the pinnacle - Heaven! We only do that by walking the path God lays for us.

Walking with Him. It is all I want.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

What a Mighty God we serve!

 This morning, as I often do, I sat on my deck to have my time with God. One of the amazing things about the area where I live are the sunrises and sunsets. They are stunning! This morning, as I watched the sunrise and snapped some pics of God's beautiful handiwork, I thought to myself how unfortunate that my camera could not capture all the beauty.

The aqua is so much more vivid than reflected in the photos. The rich purple really doesn't show at all. The delicate pink is missing. The shining gold looks more yellow or orange. And the sparkle cannot be captured.

Add to the beauty of the sunrise, the wild beauty of the landscape. No manicured lawns here! Raw, wild beauty, just as God has created it! Mesquite with all its twisted branches. Yucca plants with their spiky leaves and pod clusters. Wild grasses and delicate flowers waving in the breeze. Baby tumbleweeds with their vivid, green hugging the ground. The slight haze that allows the world to wake slowly, gently before the sun bursts upon us in its heat and brightness. Loveliness all around.

And the sounds! No picture can capture the sound of God awakening His creatures. Birds singing. Dragon flies buzzing. A cow mooing in the distance. The horse next door nickering to his mate. Bunnies leaping and chasing in the grasses.

Then, the feel of a fresh day. The coolness of the early hour. The moistness as I breath in the morning scents. The softness of the breeze before it kicks into the fan that will keep tolerable the heat of the day.

God in all His Glory cannot be captured with a camera.

How often we try to experience God as a picture! A simple one dimensional being. But no! He is three dimensional!

Father God.
The Creator.
The Master of the universe.

Jesus the Son.
The Sacrifice.
The Price of Love.
The Intercessor on our behalf.

The Holy Spirit.
The Guide.
The Comforter.
The One whose groanings bring our needs to the Father 
when we don't even know how to pray.

How do you experience God? Is He a photo? Flat, one dimensional, a glossy image in your mind?

Or is he a living, breathing, sparkling experience?

May you experience the Three-in-One fully today!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Dating and job hunting

Is their anything more demoralizing that dating and job hunting??? Putting yourself out there screaming, "Judge me and find me worthy!"

Am I articulate enough?

Am I pretty enough?

Am I qualified enough?

Is my personality right?

Is my smile right?

Is my experience right?

Oy vay!!! What a chore both things are! I've done all I want to of both things in the last 11 months!

But I've learned a few things. 

I am what I am.
I can be nothing else.  

Sometimes I say the right thing.
Sometimes I don't.

 Sometimes I'm funny.
Sometimes I'm not.

Sometimes I make wise decisions.
Sometimes I don't.

Sometimes I'm pretty enough.
Sometimes I'm not.

Sometimes I'm smart enough.
Sometimes I'm not.

Sometimes I want what's good for me.
Sometimes I don't.

And you know what? None of it matters. Tonight, the sun will still set. Tomorrow, it will rise again. And life will go on. Even when you'd rather it didn't.

Life is full of inconsistencies. We ourselves are inconsistent. But God, He is consistent! He always knows and wants what is best for us! Even when we can't see it.

When my girls were little, sometimes I allowed, even caused, things to happen to them that they didn't like. One bit. Because I knew it was the way it had to be for them to learn. Or what they needed. Like a shot when they were sick. Or falling when they were learning to walk. Or letting them spend their birthday money on something they insisted they absolutely, positively wanted the MOST of anything in the entire world - knowing that they would get it home and be disappointed.

God is the same with His children. Except our learning seems to come more as adults than as children. Or it has for me. 

As my girls grew, they began to see and accept that I was smarter than they thought. That I was very, very often right when I warned them of impending disappointment or pain. They learned that if they listened to me, they could sometimes avoid bad things. And sometimes, when the bad thing couldn't be avoided for their own sakes, if they would listen, the pain was lessened, shortened.

I pray I will remember that when my Heavenly Father allows or causes hurt in my life. May I listen. May I learn. May I trust in Him to know what is best for me.

"...and he has showered down upon us the richness of his grace—for how well he understands us and knows what is best for us at all times." Ephesians 1:8 TLB

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Son-shine in the rain

Today has been a hard day.
I'm not sure why some days are harder than others.
They just are.
Today was one of those days.

My day started very early.
Before daybreak.
Long before the alarm.

It has been a weepy day.
Tears several times.

And productive.
A successful interview.
Another interview scheduled for tomorrow.

Now it is evening.
Nearly time for my walk.
And it has looked like rain.
A large, dark cloud hanging over the area.

A few minutes ago it came, the rain.
Pounding on the roof.
Tinging against the windows.

And the sun was shining.

Diamonds falling from the sky!
Sparkling and shining!
A stunning sight!

And it dawned on me.
Rain falls on all of us.
And in the midst of the rain is the Son!
Shining on our lives.
Making something beautiful.

Thank You, Holy Spirit, for the reminder!
Thank You for the comfort!

This hasn't turned out like it was supposed to....

I started this blog intending it to be light-hearted and fun. But to be honest, I haven't had a lot of "light-hearted and fun" things to say and so, I haven't said anything. And yet, I feel compelled to write. More than in a long time. So, I will let the Lord lead the tone of my blog and blog whether the words are light-hearted or heavy; fun, funny, or sad; on-top-of-the-world or in the depths of despair. For that is life - for everyone - and certainly for those of us on a grief journey of any kind!

Today, I want to talk about the sunflowers in the gully behind my house.

We purchased this house just a couple months after Al's diagnosis. We sold our home of nearly 20 years and moved out here where we would be near our girls and where I would not have a house payment after his death. It was a good move, miraculously facilitated by God. Al and I lived here together for almost exactly six months. Then he was gone.

It was never really "our" home. It was the place where I brought him to die. In the early days after he was gone, I hated it here! I couldn't feel him or picture him except ill, fading away, dying. I wanted to go back to our home, where we had lived! At the very least, I wanted out of this horrible place of sorrow! I did a lot of running, trying to escape it, but the sorrow always followed me wherever I went. It still does.

I am making peace with my house though. I have changed some things. I rearranged the bedroom so that it was convenient for me rather than for my invalid husband. I got new furniture for my living area and office. I redid my kitchen. I am preparing to dismantle "his" room (painted the color he chose and set up with all the hobby things he loved, created for his enjoyment) and make it mine. Changes. They are part of the process. Some good, some not, but part of it.

One of the things that we enjoyed together though, in this house of death, was the sunflowers in the gully behind the house. In the early days, before the hospital bed took over the dining room, we would sit at the dining room table, looking out the wall of windows at the beautiful view of God's creation behind us. Most of the area where I live is flat. You can see for miles! But there are canyons and mesas dotted around and I live in one of those areas, on top of a hill with a fairly deep gully behind my house. There are lots of grasses and wild flowers, yucca plants, rocks, etc. and, at the bottom of the gully, sunflowers. Hundreds of sunflowers! At a time of pain, sadness, impending death, the happy, dancing sunflowers brought us joy. We used to sit and watch them bouncing happily in the breeze, their bright yellow heads dancing and swaying to the music of the wind. They were a happy sight! And we watched them for hours at a time. While eating. Or holding hands. Or talking. Or just sitting together.

Last year, the sunflowers didn't bloom. I waited for them. I wanted to see happy. It wasn't there. Anywhere. June. July. August. September. No happy sunflower dance. Somehow it was fitting.

This year, the sunflowers are back! I didn't think they were coming! I saw them growing, getting taller, but no evidence of blooms. Then, about two weeks ago, buds began to open. Just one or two at first. I wasn't really sure they were actually flowers. But, yes, they were. Then a few more. Then more. Now, long before they are done, for there are many, many more buds, there are hundreds of happy, dancing sunflowers in the gully behind my house.


"So I pray that God, who gives you hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in Him. May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13 NLT