Taking Care of You During High Trigger Times

 

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I was turning into the last quarter of a six-mile walk when I spotted two construction trucks lining the road. They were parked in front of a house that sat a bit further than midway down a cul-de-sac. I stopped dead in my tracks as I watched the men go back and forth from their trucks to the outdoor project they were working on.

Do I dare keep walking my usual route?

I’ve walked this particular neighborhood many times, know several people who live in it and lovingly call it the ‘hood because it’s anything but with its beautiful homes on spacious, large lots. I always feel safe walking there, even when I’m alone.

Not today.

My thoughts were all over the place. From: I will not let them dictate where I will and will not walk. It’s the middle of the day for Pete’s sake. To: don’t be stupid, be safe. Turn around and walk away. Back to: you give them the power if you walk away. You can always scream you’re on your period if they try something. (side note: this was something a cop told a group of ladies to say at a defense class many years ago.) To: if something were to happen you know people will blame you. After all, why would you walk down a road by yourself knowing there are men there?

All those thoughts in a matter of seconds. I looked around at the houses on the rest of the street and there was not a neighbor or dog outside so I turned and walked away disappointed, angry, confused.

I finished the six-miles (except for that one little bit) but not without realizing we aren’t as far as we’d like to think in this world. Maybe we haven’t come a long way baby. I’d like to tell you this was many years ago instead of this past summer but I can’t.

For the rest of the walk I had flashes of things that I had put to rest long ago…

Like being disappointed in myself for letting them/him “win”.

Like berating myself for not having my phone with me at all times. Just in case. Just because. There may be a man. In the middle of the day. In a safe neighborhood. Or in my childhood home so I could swim.

Like telling myself I deserved what I got for having a bathing suit on when I was molested as a young teen. Never mind the fact that I had just come in from swimming. I was told that if I hadn’t been dressed like that…

So I exchanged the swimsuit for a cloak of shame that I wore until my early 30’s when a therapist told me it didn’t matter what I was wearing, what happened to me was wrong. He had no right to violate me. Period.

I should be able to swim in a bathing suit just like I should be able to walk down a cul-de-sac where construction workers are working without fear of being hurt. Without men justifying bad behavior or others excusing it because I’m the one who should know better.

I’m sharing this with you because this triggering, these thoughts, happened on a bright sunny day as I was doing something I love to do in a safe neighborhood. It caught me by surprise. But that’s what triggers do sometimes even after years of therapy.

I can only imagine what the news and social media outlets are doing to trigger some of you who are reading this. You can’t scroll through Facebook or watch the news lately without seeing loud opinions on both sides….I Believe Her. Confirm Kavanaugh Now. She’s a liar. He’s a rapist pig.…have brought out emotions, finger pointing and a marathon blame game of he-said, she-said played under the big top of Barnum and Bailey’s circus.

This post isn’t about that or even them.  It’s about you who may be tempted to put that cloak back on, blame or berate yourself or send yourself down a spiral of no good.

Take care of you. The counselor I see off and on now will ask at the beginning of each session how I’m doing in three areas: mind, body and spirit because all three make up the whole you and all three are important.

Here are some things I’ve been doing in each area to keep myself healthy during this high trigger time:

Mind. Turn off the news and put your phone down. I like to stay informed and want to know what’s going on too but I can watch for ten minutes and find out what I need to know. Social media was nothing but exhausting and had me so worked up mentally with all the name calling so I stopped scrolling. Watch a movie, read a book, meditate, pray, make affirmation cards, take a nap, take a class, look at recipes, have coffee/lunch/dinner with a friend…anything to engage the mind in a positive way.

Body. Get up and move. Get the positive endorphins going. Did you know you can’t be angry/depressed while you exercise? Ask a friend to take a walk in the park. Get outside. Breathe in some fresh air. Get your hands in the dirt. Take your shoes off and walk in the grass. (There is scientific evidence that this grounds you and there are microbials in the dirt that helps combat depression!) Eat healthy. It’s so easy to eat junk while mindlessly watching the news circus or scrolling through social media. Watch your alcohol intake. By watch I mean limit. Get the right amount of sleep for you and your body.

Spirit. Be still. Light a candle. Drink some tea. Read through the Psalms or Proverbs. Start a Bible study. Go to church. Connect with a small group. Serve others in some way…a nursing home, preschool, animal shelter or hospital. Volunteer somewhere. Write your favorite scriptures on a note card. Fresh sheets and new jammies are always a good thing.

Last but not least ask for help if you need it. Talk to someone, a friend, pastor or counselor.

You matter.

kw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Life Throws You Zingers

I had to chuck a chicken this morning. My man warned me one wasn’t doing well so I wasn’t surprised when I went out to feed them today and she was laying face first in the mud. But I hate it, nonetheless. I grabbed my shovel, scooped her up and walked out as far into the field as I could and hurled her with all my might. Sigh.

I walked back around the corner by the beehives and noticed minimal to no activity. They were just buzzing beautifully last week. I opened up the side window to see what was going on….silence…that’s what was going on…absolutely nothing.

My garden is experiencing what I call summer time sadness. Weeds have taken over, the green bean plants are half bunny eaten, the cucumbers are drying up, the zucchinis are pitiful, the corn stalks look ready for fall décor, the lima plants need pulled. Winter is coming.

My neck of the woods is feeling a little decapitated this morning. Maybe you know the feeling.

Then I noticed something as I was turning around to head towards the garden gate, a spot of hope, a ray of light…

The Zinnias are still blooming. 

I had a choice. I could focus on all the things that have gone wrong today (already). Or I could look for the zinnias. I could let a million things get me down. Or I could see the beauty before me in the midst of the million.

Interestingly, I had to look up to see it. The zinnias were standing head and shoulders above the sad surroundings of the rest of the garden.

I know, I know. I’m not trying to be a perky Pollyanna who’s blowing heart shaped happy out of her hookah pipe. Life can be hard. Way harder than a dead chicken, bees and plants.

When life zaps you with zingers, look for the zinnias. They are everywhere if we would only look up, beyond our circumstance, above the noise, shining bright and offering a hand.

As a woman of faith, sometimes my Zinnias look like…

Prayer. Because God knows I enter that closet not because I’m super spiritual and strong but because I’m just the opposite.

Scripture. His word is powerful. Don’t discount it. Read it. Do it. Memorize it. Meditate on it.

Meditation. Stilling the mind is a practice that must be perfected so when life sends a colony of stinger zingers, I can quiet the buzzing. (Don’t give this away as some Eastern voodoo kind of thing.)

Zinnias can also look like… 

Coffee with a friend who is safe for you. There is something about being heard and validated that gives you the strength to keep going.

Being a friend. Sometimes when we ourselves are struggling it helps to help someone else. It gets us out of our own funk.

A counselor or pastor. It’s okay to say you’re not okay. It’s okay to seek professional help because sometimes the venom from stings just gets in too deep.

A note given or a note received. Ever gotten a letter, text, card, shout out, word, encouragement (whatever form of communication you choose) at the exact moment you needed one? Ever sent one having no idea how badly the recipient needed to hear it?

A meal, a visit, a smile, a hug, a pat, an understanding, a reassurance, a laugh, a cry, a kindness.

These are all Zinnias.

Then there’s this little thing called gratitude. It sure sounds lame as you’re looking at that stinger pulsating its venom. But there’s something about having an attitude of gratitude.

Renowned cognitive neuroscientist and brain expert, Dr. Caroline Leaf says, when you are thankful your brain releases nerve growth factors that help change the brain (neuroplasticity.)

 Thankfulness is like plastic surgery for your attitude and it’s free!

 Research expert and author, Dr. Brene’ Brown says, There is no joy without gratitude and joy collected over time fuels resilience.

 While your circumstances may not change right away, your way of thinking can. Who doesn’t want to build resilience (that bounce back ability) to zingers? One of the ways we do this is by finding something (anything) to be grateful for in whatever our circumstance.

When life throws you zingers, look up! There’s a zinnia close by.

kw

 

 

Gifts, Rifts and Solace

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It’s hard to believe I’m six months in to this year of Solace theme. The older I get, the faster time goes. It’s been good with lessons learned…some fun, some hard, some in progress.

We celebrated my man on Father’s Day. He got the most diverse gifts from the kiddos this year…. a speedboat for the pond, two sassafras trees and a pedicure. (He kept asking all of us girls about what it was like to get one so…) He will be the fastest boat racer with the best looking feet in Warren County, standing between his sassafras trees and alongside his sassy wife.

(On a side note: If you read about me traveling with my man, aka Mr. Diamond, in the Speaking My Language post I must confess…he DID offer me his seat in first class when they bumped him up. My internal dialogue went straight to the not good enough. I don’t fit in with first class people because I am not a first class act. I wouldn’t even know what to do to be “proper.”  Sigh. I still have work to do on me.)

For Mother’s Day I got a kit from Ancestry.com. You can learn a lot from a little spit. I am 58% Great Britain (with a wee bit of Ireland/Scotland/Wales thrown in for good measure) and 23% Scandinavian (my love for burning things as therapy makes total sense now…Viking pyre anyone?)

My sister (who has her own dad drama to tell) asked if I doubted that Dad was really my dad (which she found out in college was not her Dad…you guys…visions of a Super Soul Sunday outside, with a backdrop of fall foliage and peaceful sky while sipping hot cider turns into a Jerry Springer beer brawl real quick with our upbringing.)

And though this wasn’t that kind of kit, I told her yes. He had often “teased” through the years that he wasn’t sure I was his. My sister and I both agreed that at this point in our existence it really wouldn’t do either of us any good to find out for sure who’s your daddy. We had step-dads but they sounded more like the beginning of a bad joke…a gambler, an old man and a drunk were sitting at a bar…

She made the comment that she has been pretty much fatherless her whole life and didn’t need one now. But then again, have we ever truly been without a Father? Earthly? Perhaps. Heavenly? Never. We just didn’t always recognize (or allow) him to be at times.

God has shown himself faithful during these six months of solace. But why am surprised? It’s who he is.

So much to learn.

I also discovered if you write enough words for people to read, you will (eventually) offend someone. I got a message from a friend who wrote As a dear friend please take this critique knowing it comes from my heart. I started to read your blog this morning but you lost me at the word “bejesus.” She goes on to tell me why and then asks this question: how do we as Christians become all things to all people in order to save some and at the same time not be conformed to this world?

I replied Thank you for caring enough to share your thoughts. I guess I don’t think of that word as offensive or a bad word. I certainly don’t mean it as such but could maybe find a different way of expressing that idea. I do try to be the real me when I write though so balancing all that is a delicate dance for sure. I do have more thoughts but am heading out for a walk…

The word bejesus is an exclamation attributed to the Irish, used to express surprise or for emphasis. It has nothing to do with Jesus, the One I love. But that’s not the point I suppose. Where is the balance of being me yet not offending? Of being a work in progress and yet not making that be an excuse? My friend admitted to being legalistic at times and asked Am I being too rigid?

All good questions that I hope to write about next month so we can have some discussions around it.

I also learned that we (my girlfriends and me) live in fear of many things. Way too many! So along with the above topic to discuss, I am writing a series titled Freedom From…

How appropriate for the month of July!!

Here’s to six more months of Solace, writing and the adventures of faith!

kw

 

 

One Letter Shy

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Meet Cohen. He’s learning how to write his letters and by stringing them together make words. He worked so hard on the “word of the day”…T-shirt…but came up one letter short, as you can see.

His teachers didn’t have the heart to tell him otherwise so he stood proud for his picture and a new “word of the day” was shared. T-shit became a much repeated word through the hallways and around dinner tables. It made people LOL and get tickled to no end.

There’s another word that we hold up proud, smiling for the camera, acting like we’ve got it all together…

thumbnailWe boast of our busyness. The vibration of our vernacular becomes this when asked the question How are you?

 Busy.

 I’ve been so busy.

 Crazy busy!

 Work is busy. Home is busy. Life is insane.

 Sigh…

We wonder why we can’t get it all done. We wonder if there’s something more to this life than this pace we’re keeping.

Don’t get me wrong, with five kids who all played sports and who, at one time, were at four different school campuses, I get a fast pace. There are seasons of busy, but when spring turns to summer, turns to fall, turns to winter, year after busy year, something’s gotta give. That something is usually you.

Keeping up an insane pace and never slowing down will eventually affect the health of our marriages, the health of our families, the health of our households and our own mental and physical well being.

We are available 24/7. We are always connected via some type of screen…smart(?)phones, iPads, computers, TV, video games….all of which keep our fear of missing out at bay. Or does it keep the fear factor at an all time high as we are able to watch the news all day and all night, if we choose?

Did you know that we are struggling more and more to read and comprehend books? We are fast becoming skimmers of articles and get bored quicker now more than ever before. We can “ok google” something and get instant answers rather than spend (waste?) time researching it. Because we’re just too darn busy to do it any other way.

Being “on” all the time isn’t good for anyone. I realize different personalities thrive off of different paces…some faster than others…but we ALL need rest.

by the seventh day God had finished his work. On the seventh day he rested from all his work. (Genesis 2:3 MSG)

Rest is a gift that was given not a burden to bear.

Our bodies need rest. Our brains need rest. Our souls need rest.

So what do we do?

How do we slow down the PACE?

Like Cohen, we are one letter shy. A simple “e” inserted between the first two letters of pace gives us the word that is most desired….

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That’s great but what does that even look like?

#1. Turn off all things screen related (once you finish reading this of course…) for a designated time each day. Or give yourselves an allotted amount of time to check emails, social media etc. If your job requires screen time for goodness sakes stay off it when you get home. Don’t allow screens in your bedroom. That’s an area designated for sleep or…well you get the picture.

And the world won’t stop turning. 😉

#2. Meditate/be still just a few minutes a day. It’s a great way to clear your mind and retrain your brain to think more clearly. There are some great apps if you need someone to guide you…I use Headspace.

#3. Walk outside, put your feet in the grass, look up at the stars, put your line in the water or your hands in the dirt, get connected with nature, which also connects you with the Creator. Breathe in deeply; enjoy the simplicity of just being.

Nature itself is the best physician. (Hippocrates)

 Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. (Lao Tzu)

#4. Read a book. A real one. According to an article in Scientific American: evidence from laboratory experiments, polls and consumer reports indicates that modern screens and e-readers fail to adequately recreate certain tactile experiences of reading on paper that many people miss and, more importantly, prevent people from navigating long texts in an intuitive and satisfying way. In turn, such navigational difficulties may subtly inhibit reading comprehension. Compared with paper, screens may also drain more of our mental resources while we are reading and make it a little harder to remember what we read when we are done.

I love my kindle but sometimes a paper and ink book is just what my senses need.

#5. Have a real conversation with a real person. We’ve lost the art of conversing “the old fashioned way”…face to face. We’ve stopped the practice of sharing and listening, watching for body language and tone of voice, of seeing emotion on a face and the touch on an arm. Get a coffee or lunch date on your calendar and enjoy some time with a friend.

T-shit and I will be waiting to hear how you string together creative ways of inserting the “e” into your pace so you can experience peace.

Fiercely for YOU!

kw

 

 

Sharing My Chocolate Cream Pie

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Stepping out in faith and back from things, allows one to see life from a different angle. Like a mountain climber who’s reached the summit the view is breathtaking and clear. Instead of looking up at the task before you, you look out at the beauty in front of you. It was worth the work, the wait and the wonder.

Here are some things I learned in my four-month hiatus (with more to come I’m sure)…

1. Pounding on a locked door keeps you from noticing the open one.

 I was so very sure I knew which door I was suppose to knock on and walk through that I stood at it for way longer than I ever should have. I feel for Celia Foote in The Help when she rang the doorbell then stood in the bushes with her chocolate pie, peeping in the windows wishing, hoping, desiring to be let in, to be a part of the group. Instead of the rattle of a latch, she heard the prattle of laughter. She learned quicker than I that that door wasn’t going to open.

Stepping out in faith and back from things allowed me to see I can’t force anyone to open a door…especially God. It allowed me to see that door had become an idol…something I desired more than what should have mattered.

Closed fists pound. Closed fists can’t receive.

 Once I opened my fist and stopped pounding, a different door opened. Had I not stepped out and back, I would still be peeping in the windows with my chocolate pie.

2. Not acknowledging our emotions doesn’t make them disappear. It makes them fester.

 I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, until it gets buried deep down in my own marrow (and yours), It’s ok to say you’re not ok.

 Can I take it one step further? It’s ok to say what you need.

Saying you’re not ok and asking for what you need does not make you weak or needy or typical for a woman. Saying you’re not ok is one of the strongest things you can do. Asking for what you need takes hutzpah and heart.

When we don’t, we fester. When we fester, we eventually pop…usually in the wrong place at the wrong time with an odiferous oozing that’s plain nasty. Anybody out there?

3. Out of order love doesn’t last over the long haul.

 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, ‘Of all the commandments, which is the most important?’

The most important one is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:29-31NIV)

The God of my faith is a God of order. I believe he put this verse in that order for a reason. We truly can’t love others or ourselves without first loving him with everything we have and all that we are.

We live in a self-centered society. If you don’t believe like me, look like me, act like me, think like me, dress like me I can’t possibly show you any kind of love (or mercy or kindness or grace or much of anything really).

I can’t tell whether we love ourselves too much or hate ourselves but either way, self-absorption or self-loathing creates a heart unable to love your neighbor.

Loving the Lord above all else allows us to see others (and ourselves) as made in his image. We see beyond the beliefs, looks, actions, thoughts and clothes to see people…Imago Dei…able to extend grace and mercy and truth and kindness.

Spending time with the Lord, creating space just for us, helps me keep love in the right order.

4. Life is too short to take my ball and go home.

 My very best friend since kindergarten is sick. Last fall she went to the emergency room thinking she had a bad gall bladder and left with a stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis and a poor prognosis. For her, each day is a gift, one that she gladly opens. Each day is an opportunity to use the gifts and talents she’s been given and continues to share with her fourth grade class because she hasn’t quit.

I can’t quit either. It’s ok to step out in faith and back from things because we all need time to breathe on occasion. We all need a moment to be still, gather our thoughts and get our bearings but not for forever.

Part of me wanted to take the best of what I have to offer and say forget it. If the door won’t open, then I’ll take my gifts and talents and go home.

But then I talked with my best friend. The one who shared her crayons and didn’t laugh at me when I didn’t know my grandparents had ACTUAL names. The one who taught me that cows are nice, roosters are mean and how to sneak around the fairgrounds when you are there for 4H. The one who has been dealt a hand that isn’t fair and completely sucks but gets up everyday wanting it to be her best just in case it’s her last.

No. I’m not taking my ball and going home. I’m using the gifts that have been graciously given to me, sharing my chocolate pie with those who open the door and invite me in (and even those who don’t when love is in the right order. 🙂

I am thankful for what these past 4 months of soul searching solace has taught me.  I pray I continue to uncurl my pounding fists and open my hands to receive so I can in turn give back. I pray that I don’t allow feelings to fester. I pray that I keep the Lord in the forefront so I always see those I encounter each day through his lens and not my own. I pray that I make the most of each precious day given to me.

I pray these things for you as well dear reader.

Fiercely for you,

kw

 

 

More Joy in One Ordinary Day

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Why is everyone hungry for more? “More, more,” they say. “More. More.” I have God’s more-than-enough. More joy in one ordinary day. (Psalm 4:6-7 MSG)

 That last line got me…

More JOY in one ORDINARY day.

I want to find joy in the simple satisfactions of every day rather than be always waiting, ever disappointed when the marvelous is mowed down by mere.

It takes extraordinary courage to find joy in ordinary days when the world is hungry for more.

It’s easy to do isn’t it? Chase after the massive monumentals; the bigger-than-life-itself stuff. The living with tomorrow in mind and miss the here and now. I don’t want to become so busy chasing after extraordinary that I miss the joy that comes with the ordinary.

I never want to tire of the wonder of an egg. How does a chicken make an outer shell with an egg inside? Not to mention the greens, blues and all manner of hues. And then there’s one yolk or two?

I never want to tire of the smell of sun-kissed sheets dried on the line. It makes for the outdoor to come in and my sleep so fine.

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I never want to tire of watching bees work to make honey. They take nectar from a flower and turn it in to something worth more than money.

The smell of bread baking and apple butter making.

Georgia peaches that travelled so far, line my shelf in wide-mouth Mason jars.

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Sunrises and sunsets and super moons that are blue, remind me each day to be grateful and true.

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Photo of this beautiful blue super moon is courtesy of Dianna Dickson 🙂

Old hymnals filled with songs I hold dear. They tell of grace and a cross and of Jesus who’s near.

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I want to notice the forget-me-not so tiny and small as well as those who feel like flowers on a wall.

The snow as it glistens like diamonds in the sun. The hoof prints of deer making a path as they run.

The smell of a babe as you rock her to sleep is a joy in one’s heart forever to keep.

Sitting on my front porch swing listening to the frogs as they sing.

The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest. (Thomas Moore)

There’s nothing wrong with setting goals as long as we don’t get so busy racing towards the next thing that we miss the victory of today. There is more joy in an ordinary day when we s-l-o-w down enough to notice. Chasing after slow is a bit of all right too.

It does take practice. And determination. And courage. It takes a certain fearlessness and fortitude to say STOP in a world full of clamor and commotion.

We are so wired by technology to always be on, always be involved, always be in the know, that it takes a literal brain reboot to enjoy (in joy) silence and solitude and God’s more-than-enough.

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. (William Arthur Ward)

There is so much to be thankful for, so much to be joyful about, so much to be blessed by…in a simple ordinary day.

Fiercely for you!

kw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling Like You Can’t…

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I woke up at 2AM thinking about the previous day. I had some minor outpatient surgery to repair some varicose veins. I woke up the morning of the surgery feeling pretty anxious. That’s usually not how I roll. You do what ya gotta do. Ya know?

Cosmetics aside, I needed to have this done so the blood could flow back up my leg freely.

We arrived at 5:30AM, got registered quickly and was sitting in a very quiet surgical waiting room waiting for the staff person to arrive at 6. The longer I sat the more I felt the need to leave. Fight or flight I believe they call it.

Thankfully I was taken back and prepared for surgery before “flight” happened. I decided to “fight” by repeating this praise song by All Sons and Daughters…

It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise
We pour out our praise
It’s Your breath in our lungs
So we pour out our praise to You only

And all the earth will shout Your praise
Our hearts will cry, these bones will sing
Great are You, Lord

…over and over in my head.

Ironically, I woke up from the anesthesia with the feeling that I couldn’t breathe. I looked at one masked face after another telling them with panic in my voice I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.

All of them told me I was fine. I was talking so I was breathing.

It didn’t help.

I reached back for the nurse anesthetist who had told me in pre-op prep that if I had any problems to let her know and she would help me. She grabbed ahold of my hand, told me not to worry, put an oxygen mask on and told the rest of the team that I was having a panic attack. She then proceeded to give me some “calm down medicine” in my IV. Calm down medicine is like sitting under the poplar tree at my grandparents house sipping iced tea on a hot summers day…cool, calm and refreshing.

The irony and parallel that I thought of at 2 in the morning?

The irony…the fact that I was singing the lyrics about God’s breath in my lungs and pouring out praise and then “coming to” feeling like I couldn’t breathe!

The parallel…how many times has life punched you in the gut and taken your breath away? Like life is spinning out of control? No one is listening. No one is helping you. How often does the enemy try to convince you that God is not there nor does he care?

The enemy wants us to feel like that. He wants us to panic and hyperventilate and grasp at whoever will listen.

What do (should) we do instead?

Praise the One who can help in the middle of it. And then watch the devil be defeated!

I know. I know. That’s the last thing you want to do. It’s easier to focus on the situation at hand and not on the One who can handle the situation.

We want to march out with the white flag singing I surrender all to the very one who is taking our breath instead of the One who is Breathtaking.

King Jehoshaphat had an entire (vast) army coming at him…the Ammonites and the Moabites got together and ganged up on King J and his crew. Guess who led the army out to meet the “-ite” brothers? The praise and worship team! Check it out…

After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: Give thanks to the Lord for his love endures forever. (2Chronicles 20:21 NIV emphasis mine)

Because nothing screams victory in battle more than a bunch of choir singers.

It just doesn’t make sense does it? Shouldn’t we send out our elite soldiers with their battle ready skills and armor? There are people trained for this kind of thing. Keep reading…

As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. (2Chronicles 20:22 NIV emphasis mine)

Notice as they began to sing…not before.

Apparently we aren’t the only ones confused by this war tactic…

The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another. (2Chronicles 20:23 NIV)

So the next time the devil tries to knock the very wind out of you, leaving you to believe your Father doesn’t care, that your Dad isn’t big enough, don your choir robe, inhale a big old breath, exhale some praise and sing baby sing. It will confuse the heck out of him.

That my friends is the best “calm down medicine” this side of heaven.

Fiercely for you!

kw

PS Surgery went very well and according to my man, my legs look like I tried to shave them with a very old razor and no readers. You guys.

 

 

Comfort Food

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Why is it the kids pick a dish involving your homemade noodles whenever you ask what they’re hungry for?

 My man asked me this as I was rolling out noodles for Johnny Marzetti, a family favorite for decades.

There is something comforting about combining eggs with flour and a dash of salt. Rolling them out then up, slicing them thin and spreading them out to dry on a cookie sheet.

But it’s more than that.

I get the recipe out every time. Oh, I don’t need it. I’ve made the dish so many times through the years that it’s been put to memory long ago. It’s more than directions on a card. It’s memories of the heart.

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Seeing that familiar handwriting reminds me of sitting around the old oak table at my in-laws. A table where we ate together, played games together, did homework (yes, I married my high school sweetheart) together.

I remember the pan she used, the apron she wore and the Saturday morning conversations we had as she whisked, mixed and rolled. My mother-in-law, Evelyn was solace for my soul.

As I’m whisking the eggs and getting ready to add the flour, I’m reminded of all the times I watched my Granny mix noodles together. When asked why she never measured out the flour she used, she told me you just feel of it and know when the dough is ready for kneading. I can’t tell you a measure because when it’s storming the damp air causes you to need more flour. You’ll get familiar with the feel the more you spend time making them.

 My Granny was a woman of simple means. A country girl from the hills of Tennessee who could make do with very little. There is something comforting about simple, isn’t there?

There is solace in that recipe card with stains from use, those handwritten words of direction and the memories from long ago. It provides comfort food for the body.

But these words on a page are like food for the soul….

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not be in want.

(He is my soul Provider.)

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

(He is my rest Giver.)

He leads me beside quiet waters,

(He is my silence Sustainer.)

He restores my soul.

(He is my soul Rescuer.)

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his names sake.

(He is my steps Director.)

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

(He is my Peace.)

(Psalm 23:1-5 NIV)

Like familiar writing on a stained recipe card this familiar passage doesn’t have to be looked up. Most of us have it memorized. But when you need to feed your soul it does one good to see and read the writ of old.

It provides, quiets, sustains and restores.

Like. Nothing. Else. Can.

I can’t explain it. I just feel of it and know.

Here’s to simple solace.

Fiercely for you!

kw

 

My Year to Swing Easy

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There has been a misconception about my word for the year. Although solo and solace sound similar, their definitions are not. While solace means comfort it doesn’t mean quitting. It doesn’t mean stepping away from everything and everyone and go it alone.

That’s pretty much what I had in mind for the New Year. As I was explaining my word thoughts to my man, he said something about that being my go to…going into hermit mode.

Kind of made me mad.

But there is some truth to it.

I DO find great comfort in being at home. It IS an easy go to when the world is nuts or you’ve had a time with an off-the-wall person. I CAN talk myself into believing that I don’t need relationships with people “out there.” People suck sometimes. I suck sometimes.

This month I’ve read six books, put together two puzzles, watched two Netflix series of multiple seasons, written a little, napped some, lit candles a lot, went to church, cleaned out my pantry and felt like I was settling in to this solo solace thing quite nicely. People? Who needs them? And then I found this…

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It may not look like much to you but it’s my favorite ball marker given to me by one of my favorite golf partners and people ever. We don’t just golf; we do free therapy for each other, laugh, cry, cut up and act a fool. I had looked everywhere for this marker but couldn’t find it until it showed up in a spot I had already looked a hundred times before. Coincidence? Nah.

God teaches me in simple ways mostly because I can be pretty dense sometimes (or some may say mule headed.)

I love to golf. Not that I’m good at it but even on my worst day, it’s great to be outside enjoying the scenery, the company, and the fun. My aforementioned buddy and I decided to join a league where we bring down the median age to about 70.

I was a little nervous as I tee’d up my first ball and sure enough duffed my drive about 10 yards in front of the box. Next one was the same. What the heck?? So I asked my girlfriend what she thought was going on since she sees me golf all the time and we are fairly equal in skill (though she almost always outdrives me and beats me by a couple strokes…sigh…)

Her response: You’re trying too hard. Just get up there and swing easy like you do. Stop trying to kill it.

So I did. While I can’t say that every drive was straight and beautiful, once I started swinging easy it was way better. I was trying to impress these women, some of who have golfed longer than I’ve been alive. I was trying too hard and got caught up in playing someone else’s game.

This is the message God is trying to tell me. Stay in your lane. Be who you are. Stop trying so hard and play the game I’ve given you to play. But don’t quit. Show up. Bring your clubs. Tee up your ball. Swing easy. Watch Me work.

He says it better than I can in Psalm 46:10: Cease striving and know that I am God. (NASB)

Be still. Swing easy.

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In a world that screams “hustle harder” so you’ll go farther, it’s frowned upon to be still. Hustle (push or force one’s way; jostle or shove, be aggressive, beg; solicit) for your worth. It takes courage to realize that that is exhausting and do something about it. To be brave enough to step back, stay in your own story and stop trying to kill it.

On a side note and I’m sure just in case the ball marker wasn’t enough to get the point across, the first puzzle I put together had several missing pieces. When we don’t show up or try to walk in someone else’s story, there are holes that can’t be filled and the world misses out on seeing the complete picture.

So while I need solo time for solace because I’m wired that way, I’m not quitting. But I am swinging easy this year. No more hustling. Because I’m already worth it.

Fiercely for you,

kw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Solace for My Soul

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Solace. It’s a lonely sounding word. So when it kept coming to mind as my word for this year, I balked. How boring. How lame. How unadventurous and ordinary. That won’t get you where you need to go to succeed. Sigh.

I looked it up in Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary (a gift from my kids for Mother’s Day) and it says: (v.) to take comfort; to be cheered or relieved in grief. (n.) comfort in grief; alleviation of grief or anxiety; also, that which relieves in distress; recreation

The past few years have been a whirlwind of adventure with high school and college graduations, two weddings, births (grandbabies), deaths (Granny and Mom), loss of friendships, job changes, political discourse, successes and failures…bringing with it highs and lows, tears of joy and sorrow, worry and angst, confusion and concern, highlights and darkness.

If I were to be honest, I’m tired. Bone tired. Down in my soul tired.

Maybe solace, comfort is exactly what I need.

I began to notice something back in December when I knew this word was supposed to be mine in the New Year. On a handful of occasions during a six week period I had different people ask me the same thing but from different angles. What are you doing now that you have one kid at home? You don’t work? Don’t you get bored?? What are you up to these days? Oh my gosh! What I wouldn’t give to be unbusy like you.

 It made me doubt what I do…write a blog, farm a few chickens, grow a garden and take care of my family. It made me think I should be working, doing something big. I fail and succeed a thousand times if only in my own mind. Anybody else out there an over analyzer? I drive my own self crazy.  That’s the way of things today, isn’t it?

The world roars “MORE” while my soul searches for simple.

One of my goals for this year is to read through the Psalms and Proverbs each month. David is awesome! A badass king of the warriors, slaying thousands of men one minute and an emotional crying-myself-to-sleep-heap the next. I get that. But David knew who to go to for solace…

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. (Psalm 62:1)

That’s what I want. A soul at rest. That doesn’t come from doing more, being more, running more, working more, serving more. Solace doesn’t come from the world or food or shopping. No. It comes from God alone.

When my now five-year-old grandson was just a baby, we took him to see my Granny, his great, great grandmother. Arteritis had long since taken her vision. Dark shadows were all she could make out and those only on the sunniest of days. She kept her eyes closed mostly and relied on her other senses to “see” for her.

Oh I wish I could see him. Bring him over and let me feel of him.

So we did. We watched as she used her gnarled, arthritic hands to see him.

She felt of his chubby little feet first. Squeezed his legs, his arms. Felt of his torso and his frog belly. Then she moved to his face, taking special care to be gentle. She explored the shape of his head, the curve of his neck, his tiny chin and button nose. She felt his eyes, his soft baby cheeks, his tiny ears with the gentleness and intimacy of Grandmotherly love.

As she rested her hand on his leg she said, He sure is somethin’ isn’t he? I’m so glad I got to see him.

 She saw him by being close enough to touch him, smell him, feel of him.

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Time had slowed down, the baby was still (as if he sensed this old woman needed him to be) and we got to witness a beautiful few minutes between baby and great, great grandmother.

The world runs crazy after much of the wrong things. I’m guilty of it too. Chasing after people, positions and purpose wearies the soul. Sometimes we lose sight of God don’t we? When that happens, I want to get close enough to feel of him. I want to climb up in my Father’s lap, close my eyes, feel of His face and see that’s He’s something else. All else will fall into place.

Here’s to a year of Solace.

Fiercely for you!

kw