#write31days – Day 29

imageThe past two years have been filled with opportunities / lessons for letting go.  Saying goodbye to expectations, a job/career, & my dad.  As hard as it was facing the changes in my dad’s health, today I’m thankful for the opportunity of time.  It’s a commodity so easily taken for granted.

Not that we’re all a bunch of statisticians, but whether we realize it or not we plan based on probabilities. We assume we will have the luxury of putting things off for another day – at least I did… and the thing is, we know there are no guarantees.

But look how perfectly things aligned…sure the journey had some really rough spots…in a way that makes the memory sweeter…to witness the gracious hand of God at work on such a truly personal level is incredible.  Before my dad’s stroke, he longed for the opportunity to see family one more time.  By the grace of God, he did.  I longed to be available for family without the constant work battle of feeling forced to choose otherwise.   By the grace of God, I did.  My mom & stepdad were scheduled to return to California just as hospice was called in for 24hr care.  In the past, I had a habit of pushing people away when life got really hard.  It was time to let family & friends in to help me through the days ahead, and by the grace of God, I did. I’m so thankful for that choice because it gave me the opportunity to be vulnerable & strengthen my relationship with my mom & stepdad.

imageBefore my dad moved, he loved woodworking.  He made HUNDREDS of these little wooden rooster note holders – HUNDREDS.  For his service, I wanted to have something to remind folks of his passionate hobby that helped him maintain a sense of independence.  Along with an article written by the local paper, my daughter, mom, & stepdad all worked together to make a special memory wreath – the wreath consisted of eight roosters: one for each child / stepchild and one at the top.  My daughter added the dual cross in the center with one of my favorite verses, Psalm 143:8

“Let the morning bring me word of
Your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in You.
Show me the way I should go,
for to You I lift up my soul.”

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P.S. Oh yeah…I hurt my back (again) the week before my dad passed – I thought it was from catching an elderly woman from falling 😕

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#write31days – Day 19

imageOne of my primary goals in writing for 31 consecutive days is transparency… so here I am… being transparent.  I REALLY did not want to write this evening… I did exactly what I wrote about in my last post… thinking too far ahead (or perhaps behind…) of the posts to come… and I didn’t want to go there.

Well, of course I wrote…reminding myself of baby steps…two sheets of paper at a time… the great thing is that I was able to recall some really hard decisions and have peace over them vs my usual “could I have done more” mental interrogations.

And yes, that’s where God and His gracious healing power comes into full view… because of those hard days and seemingly impossible decisions, I was learning to receive God’s glorious embrace and willingly take refuge in Him… if only for a short while… make no mistake though, He was teaching me how to lean into Him for the days too difficult to imagine.

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#write31days – Day 11


I did it again… I fell sound asleep waiting for the image to upload! I woke up around 2am…lights on… iPad and notebook in lap…a jar full of markers at my side… glasses on… as if I’d closed my eyes for a few seconds vs few hours…

Once upon a time I would’ve rushed to add a few notes, hit “publish” and call it good…check it off the list.

Sunday’s writing isn’t so much about events of 2013 as it is God’s faithfulness – how He provides peace during the storms of life… I am continually taken aback by how much God loves us… it’s so BIG!

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

Lamentations 3:22-24

Beautiful, isn’t it?????

And although this should have posted on Sunday, perhaps it’s a great way to start the work week…the often crazy, chaotic work week…every single day is a new day – a day filled with opportunities and possibilities – even a day with struggles that seem insurmountable…but God IS there…we will not be consumed by this world…wait for Him.

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It’s a WIN – WIN – WIN Situation – Part 2

Before my diagnosis, I’d already experienced one heck of a year… wait…whoa…let’s back up the horses… actually, 2012 & 2013 were monumental growth precursors…

In 2012, I learned a HUMONGOUS lesson… although I didn’t realize it at the time (do we ever?????) I was trying to fast forward  the growth process in my relationship with God.  We’ve all been there in the learning process when we’d much rather know than learn – and sadly, my relationship with God wasn’t really any different.  During 2011, I knew I wanted more in my relationship with God – I just wasn’t sure how to get there.

Clueless at the time, my biggest obstacle was receiving love – in turn, I was trying to give something I didn’t fully understand.  Although my love for others was genuine, there was a blind component – at times, I inadvertently attached a sense of self-worth to love.  In hindsight, I can see I was a tangled mess that only God could and would take the time to unravel and weave into a beautiful tapestry.

StepsToPeace_03My first realization of short-changing my relationship with God was a broken engagement – on Valentine’s Day no less (God does have a sense of humor, doesn’t He?) – a sense of betrayal that cut deep through years of personally applied duct tape to my fragile heart.  You see, I put a man on a pedestal in between myself and God – a good enough go-between of sorts.  I knew I wasn’t good enough (sinless) to approach God – my mistake? My actions completely trumped Jesus for another man – and yeah…that’s hard to admit.  It’s no surprise now how much of a mess I was – I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing… the good news? I am thankful EVERY DAY God shut the door on that relationship to help me  finally understand and believe what the Bridge of Faith really means (click HERE to read the original post). Three years later and God is still providing greater revelation!

Of course, God uses every situation to teach us something – whether we realize it or not!  You see, during my engagement there were plans for me to move out of Texas… yeah…this homegrown 50+ deeply rooted Texas gal… away from family – away from my precious daughter – away from siblings and my aging widowed father.  Pretty bold, right??? PRAISE GOD that did not come to fruition – I was willing – but again, for all the wrong reasons.  Never doubt it folks, God may call you to leave where you are today, but He will ALWAYS meet and use you exactly where you are!

Indeed He did!  Not two weeks after the engagement was called off my dad fell ill – the beginning awareness of a much bigger health issue: dementia / Alzheimer’s – we never had a clear diagnosis, but in my mind they were equally debilitating.  During 2012 my dad, who lived about three hours away, was hospitalized several times.  And each time I was there for him – and each time it was emotionally painful.  You see, I still wanted that non-existent fairytale father-daughter relationship.  But just as God meets us exactly where we are – He was teaching me to meet my father where he was: aging – fragile – frightened.  Let me tell you, IT WAS HARD.  The good news? God is faithful!  He didn’t send me out on that battlefield alone – my dad’s neighbors were absolutely wonderful – as my dad said time and again “I got two good neighbors” – actually, he had a great community of caring individuals!  I remember on one visit in particular, standing on the front lawn crying my eyes out…and here were the neighbors, coming to lift us up in prayer – providing words of encouragement and assurance to watch over my dad when I wasn’t there.

2012 wrapped up on a high note.  In late October I attended a Walk to Emmaus hosted in northwest Houston.  To read more about this extraordinary experience, click here.  During this weekend, I finally began to understand what it meant to receive God’s love and how critical it is to every facet of my life (that’s a post in and of itself!).  The following week I was scheduled to visit family in California – my mom, stepdad, and sister.  I’m gonna be super transparent here – my relationship had been pretty superficial to this point and I was on such a ‘believer’s high’ following the Emmaus weekend, the last thing I wanted was to spend a week with distant family who couldn’t begin to grasp the extent of my recent experience.  Of course I was clueless God would use this time to firmly root the newfound understanding of His love.

In a heart-to-heart with God, I voiced my hesitancy and said, “Lord, you’re just gonna have to love them through me!”  I’m sure God was cheering, aren’t you?  To think…Miss ‘I Can Do it Myself’ willingly turning a situation over to God before I was knee deep in the muck of a mess I’d created!  And let me tell you…it was the BEST six days I’d ever spent with each and every one of them!!!!  The biggest blessing was walking through the door to a new relationship with my stepdad – the sweetest guy you’d ever want to meet – a guy I hadn’t really given the time of day to for over 30 years.  Yes – another not so proud transparent moment.  My quiet childish attitude of “he took my mama away” faded into oblivion as he welcomed me with open arms.  Imagine that – God using this new relationship to show me fatherly love – no strings attached.

Yes, I’m gonna say it again… stay tuned! Til then…

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