Ain’t that America and Wanderlust

Wanderlust:  1.A very strong or irresistible impulse to travel. 2.strong longing for or impulse toward wandering.

I was born with the seed of wanderlust in my heart.

Somehow it took root and began to grow in the 1970’s.  That age of rebellion against authority and everything false that our parents stood for.

I remember as a teenager seeing all of the hitchhikers on the roads, hearing of the hippies who were all migrating to California and Woodstocklike places, looking for something that they knew was out there but just could not seem to grasp.

Songs with lyrics like “are you going to San Francisco?” or “she was standing on a corner in Windsor, Arizona”…listening to Peter, Paul and Mary and ballads about 500 miles and the man of sorrows.

Hearing of the flower children, psychedelic, bell bottoms and Easy Rider.

During that time wanderlust was fully born in my soul.  I longed to travel the country.  I longed to see America.  I longed to be free.

Somewhere along the way, I gave up the dream of ever doing it but I still longed for it.  The longing haunted me.

Then, one day, when things fell as completely apart as they could, that longing became a reality!

I, with the help of my precious Mr. Joe, started exploring America, 1 trip at a time, 1 state at a time.

My question is this?  Why would anyone ever want to fly from one place to another in the USA?  Only if I was in hurry would I want to do this.  Or…if it was to avoid a road that I had traveled many times before.

We went for a drive a week ago to look at the fall colors and here are some of the things that we saw.  Some of them things that you can only see in America, the good ole US of A!nikon pics fall colors 1 318nikon pics fall colors 1 051

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On our travels we have lost count of all of the RV’s and fifth wheel trailers that we see out on the road.

I believe that many of those people who we see, who are our age, are also fellow wanderers but some have compromised their wanderlust with the desires to live the American dream.

And now for us over the past few years, we have desires for world traveling.  And we have done some world traveling.  Our desires and plans are to do more.  We are not letting anything stop us… no, nothing.

We are choosing to run after, grasp, and take hold of those desires instead of settling for the American Dream.  Sometimes it’s hard because I believe we are judged by some of our peers, but still I believe that our calling to wander the world is God-given and we intend to answer that call…

But still there is “no place like home!”  Wherever home is…and I love the United States of America and every part of it that I have seen!

Ain’t that America!

Love and blessings to you!

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Mr. Joe’s surprise… (and I am learning to push through the pain)

new friend1Mr. Joe came home utterly elated a few weeks ago. He came in from his office and happily told me that he had ordered me a gift.  I have learned to be a little conservative with my own elation when he is acting this way.  I cautiously asked him what it was and he happily told me that he had ordered a really cool, retro looking red, Schwinn bicycle for me.

He showed me a picture.  My reaction was a simple, “Wow!” which only excited him more. Right now just stop and consider that we are very simple people.  It doesn’t take a lot to excite us.

We anticipated the arrival for 5 days and when Tuesday, the projected arrival day, rolled around I waited with bated breath.  That afternoon Mr. Joe came through the door excitedly pushing a huge box with a big smile on his face.

He tore the box open and quickly assembled it.

So, now was the big moment.   “Wow. Oh my goodness!  Thank you!” was all I could think to say.

Me, being the Southerner that I am, I just stood there looking at it, thinking, “I guess I have to ride it, now….to show my appreciation?”

Honestly, I was a little apprehensive about this.  It has been about 40 years since a rode a bike regularly.  Bike riding kept me in really good shape during my teen years.

I did try to get on a simple bike about 7 years ago (it was a “man’s” bicycle with a male cross bar).  I rode it for about 20 feet, while trying to stop it by applying the brake and trying to get my feet on the ground I lost my balance and fell off of it in the middle of the street.  I decided at the time that I would never ride anything but a stationary bike again.  Mr. Joe knew about this episode…

Well, back to the present, all I could do while Mr. Joe was smiling and watching was take it outside, get on it and good naturedly try to ride.  I was sure that I would fall but surprisingly, I did not.  I rode it to the end of the parking lot and back and by that time, was embarrassingly completely out of breath.

Now I have a new friend…

My new friend looks like this:

new friend

My friend and I have been spending time together every morning.  I call her a she because I think she looks very girly.  She makes exercise much more fun than walking and the workout is much more strenuous.  At different times during the ride I can hear/feel my heart beating and I become very winded.  I love the wind blowing through my hair as I ride.

Every day riding her is a little painful because I try to push myself a little harder and a little further each time.

I’ve learned some things in the past few months that I should have listened to and learned many years ago.

There is growth that comes from pain.

It has taken me a long time to learn the truth that comes with the above statement.  I have heard it all of my life, but never really paid a lot of attention to it.  I spent a large part of my life trying to avoid pain.

Even when I worked out, walked, tried to diet in the physical sense, if things got painful I would stop or pace myself to keep from feeling the intensity of the pain.

One thing that I learned early in the year during the 8 weeks of physical therapy while basically learning how to walk again was that in order to become physically stronger, coming to that painful point and pushing through the pain was part of the solution.  At first it was excruciating to just stand for any amount of time.  At first, I had to lean on the bathroom counter in order to stand on my feet while brushing my teeth.  At first, I had to push through the pain of just standing, then walking with a walker, then with a cane and now on my own 2 feet.

Learning to walk again was painful but I had 2 choices.  To walk again by pushing through the pain or to never walk again.

Riding my bike is painful but productive.  I have to increase my heart rate to the point of hearing it and feeling it beating hard in order to strengthen my heart muscle.  I have to feel those leg and butt muscles burning in order to strengthen them enough to go farther every time.

Do I stop at the pain or do I push through it in order to become stronger?  Physical therapists are relentless.  They force you to push through even though it hurts and you think you can’t do it.  And if we are honest, we are glad that they made us do it.

Recovery is painful.  Very painful.  Mental, physical and/or spiritual recovery from whatever is killing us is painful.

There are lots of things that are painful.  This simple truth can be applied to so many things in life.

Ending or pulling away from relationships with people who are pulling me down is painful.

Keeping my mouth shut when I want to gossip or spout off is painful.new friend2

Saying no to that extra greasy food, or those carbs or the sugar is painful because of the emotional dependency.

Saying no to that first sip of alcohol, if it leads to more than we can handle every time, is painful, especially if those around me are indulging.

Saying no to any drug of choice is painful.

But…through the pain comes the growth.  And through the growth comes life that is more abundant than we could ever imagine.

And it’s after we push through the pain that we realize that God is with us and was with us through it all, cheering us on and strengthening us.  We could have never have done it all alone.

Love and blessings to you!

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Venting today about “jerks” in Christian service…

jerk

I have heard it said that spouses take on their partner’s offenses.

I guess you would say that I am guilty!  And, honestly, I don’t really think it is a bad thing to be guilty of this.  After all, when we marry, we are to be one flesh, right?

Yes, I take on the offenses of my husband!  For those of you who don’t know what that means, it means that if someone purposely hurts my husband then you might as well have hurt me because I feel it just as badly as he does if not more so.

I don’t agree with all things that offend him and we discuss it if I don’t agree, sometimes his attitude changes because of my perspective but sometimes I do see things exactly the way that he does.

Just recently he talked to me about an occurrence and because I had experienced the same type of thing coming from this person I could not disagree with him.  I knew that my husband had been hurt.

This offense which I have worked through is what started my wheels turning about this post.  This particular issue is one that is avoided more so than confronted.

I have a question?  And, yes, I am thinking about one particular person right now, but…I have seen this happen in Christian circles all of my life!

Ok, so here is my question…If a person who calls himself a Christian and is even in some sort of Christian service, he may even be in full time service…and he treats the people who he works with “in the name of Jesus” like they are dirt…then why do those of us who know better turn our head and let it go?  Is that being Christian?

For some reason I don’t think so.  It is not being Christian or Christ like in 2 respects.  The one who thinks it is ok to treat people badly is definitely in the wrong and the ones who overlook his behavior are condoning his actions.

Yes, Jesus said turn the other cheek and forgive.  Yes, the Bible tells us to treat others in the same ways that we would want to be treated but does that mean that we just let a jerk be a jerk and act like a jerk all the time without calling it for what it is?  Do we go on and on, day after day without confronting the jerkish person and allow him to get away with what he is doing?  In essence, when we do this we are letting the jerk know that it is ok to continue acting this way.

I have seen jerkish behavior and people in leadership over those acting this way condoning it by being silent over and over again.

Of course I have someone in mind right now and I am venting, but if I acted like this person even one time, I would not be able to look at myself in the mirror, I would sneak off with my tail between my legs in hopes that I would not be reprimanded, all the while, reprimanding myself!  I would repent because I know that it is wrong.

That’s the difference in people, I guess.

How do you handle something like this?  Honestly, to me when there is someone who blatantly acts like this and tries to belittle people or makes disparaging remarks to their face or behind their backs, it is a reflection of those who are in leadership over them. I hate to say this, but the first thought that comes to my mind is that either the leadership approves of this behavior or does not have the backbone to stand up to the person and tell them to stop or get out.

Jerks drive good people away.  They are not good leaders and the only people who can work for them or with them are fellow jerks or those who have an extremely low self-image.  Sadly, those who have the low self-image will take it to heart and believe that they deserve the belittlement that they regularly hear.

A jerk drives the good customers away, too.  If they are in leadership, their employees/students reflect their attitudes.  Their families reflect their attitudes.  Allowing a jerk to get away with acting in certain ways by turning a deaf ear to their belittling remarks is doing no one a favor.  Think about it, are you in leadership?  Do you have a jerk who is subordinate to you who you constantly allow to get away with treating people badly with their words and actions?

When I dig deeper and think about it, I believe that a large part of this is about confrontation.

There are not very many people who like the conflict that is often created by confrontation.

So, what happens?  The jerks are allowed to continue to act like the jerks whom they have become.  It gets to a point where the jerks are the only ones who confront regularly and their confrontations are based on the biased opinions of their own egos.

Correction has never come to them and so they think that they are right.  With most jerks there is a serious absence of consciousness that their behavior is wrong or hurtful because they are so seldom corrected.

So, I am finished with venting, I have gone back and changed some offensive things I had written.  The main things that I changed were that I replaced one of the words that I had continuously repeated with the word jerk.  You can use your imagination as to what word it was.

Don’t take this personally because I do have a conscience and I know that I have probably stepped on a few toes.  Believe me, if you are reading this you are not the person who set me off.  You may know him but I doubt that you are married to him.

There is not enough talk in our Christian circles about to how to confront these types of issues.  We all get really hush-hush and go off saying that we are going to pray about it.  We tend to end up sweeping it under the rug.

Christians have a foundation that they can use to confront this issue.

I would ask that you take this to heart and if you are in leadership over a group of people, correcting the jerks would probably be a good idea before they run good people off.

Love and blessings to you,

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Beauty for ashes, it’s as simple as that…

beauty for ashesI have been feeling somewhat apathetic about the things that Mr. Joe and I have been passionate about for many years!   I have still been thinking about the future but the things that I used to want are drifting away from my desires.  New desires are coming forward and this honestly makes me a little uneasy.

I was in worship yesterday and I started praying about passion.  I started asking God about my own passion and I asked Him to give me back passion for something even if it was something different.

As I was praying, I started thinking about the things that I had been passionate about in the past and all that I could see in my spirit were ashes all around me.  The dreams that I have had in my life for myself and other people were a part of these heaps of ashes all around me.   I looked up to heaven and asked God, “Why do all of the things that I have been passionate about end up becoming ashes?”

One of my daughters lost her home and most of her belongings in a fire several years ago and I remember driving out to look at the damage.  When I first saw the ashes, all I could think of was the devastation of it all.  I wondered how in the world she and her baby daughter could replace everything that had been lost.   Everything that she possessed except what was in her car and at the babysitter’s had quickly become ashes while she was at work.

Seeing every dream and passion that we have possessed burned up and all that is left is a heap of ashes can be pretty devastating, too.

Back to what God was showing me while I prayed, I was surveying all of the ashes that were around me.  The ashes that were the dreams and people that I had invested my passions in.  I looked down and God reminded me that I had once been ashes by showing my feet to me.  My feet were still in the ashes.  He reminded me in a flash about who I once was and who I am now because of the fires that, at one time, had made me into a big pile of ashes.

I could see who I am now, standing in the midst of those ashes as if I had grown out of them and He reminded me of the scripture that I have held very near and dear to my heart.  The scripture that promised me that I would not be ashes but beautiful one day.

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of beauty for ashes 2vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,

 and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.

Isaiah 61:2-4

He has made something beautiful in me from those ashes and now it should be no surprise to me that all of the dreams and people that I have been praying for have been reduced to ashes.  It is only from the ashes that He does amazing things.

Those of us who have been students of the Bible for a long time know that God talks a lot about fire in the Bible.  We also know that the Earth (as we know it) will never be destroyed by water again but will be destroyed by fire when God deems that it is time.

After the fire that destroys the earth, we will see the promised “New heaven and earth” and my guess is that it will emerge out of the ashes of the old one.

beauty for ashes 1And now after He showed me these things I change gears and go back to this apathetic attitude I have been having.  I ask myself some questions…

Is it time for me to set all of the dreams and people who I have been passionate about aside?

Do I want to be safe? …or…

Do I want to take chances?

Is it time for me to retire and rest for the rest of my life?

Or should I just go til I wear this old body out?

Is the eternity that I have been promised enough time for me to rest?

I know that the dreams and passions that I once held dear to my heart are still there, I have just not been allowing myself to feel them, lately.

I believe that eternity is enough time…

And so, I will again take up my cross and follow the one who has given me “Beauty for Ashes”.

Love and blessings to you!

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peace and the seeking of it…

peacePeace.

Finding peace seems like a mountain but it is really a very small hill, not a mountain at all.

How many of us want peace?  How many of us dream for a life full of peace?  A peaceful heart?  How many of us never see the way to truly achieve peace?

Has anyone ever asked you what you want out of life?  What the most important thing is to you/for you to have?

I know that many people think that money is what would make them happy or Mr. Right coming into their life or being able to live in a place other than where they currently live or if they had a different job or if their spouse had a different job.  The list could be endless!

For many years when I thought of it or when someone asked me about it, the first thing that came to my mind that I wanted was peace.

Funny thing is that I thought that peace was something that had to be achieved.  I thought that all of my ducks would have to be in a row in order for me to receive peace.  I thought that certain people in my life would have to be acting in certain ways or even removed completely from my life and that my financial status would have to be at a certain level before the achievement could be possible.

We, as humans, do things that cause chaos in our own lives and because of this sometimes it seems that peace flees from us.

I have finally found that peace is from God.

Peace can also be a state of mind, a choice that we make on our own.

I struggle.

There are certain family situations that I have tried to understand.  I would analyze them and the people that they involved.  I would try to figure out what must have happened to those people to make them make the choices that they make.  I would analyze their families and try to understand why they thought it was ok to treat me in certain ways, act in certain ways and make the choices that they have made.

I have struggled with trying to understand why certain people whom I love struggle with drug addiction, alcohol addiction and mental illness.

I have spent hours trying to figure out why people whom I love dearly have struck out and purposely hurt me.

God created us with a brain.  We are the most intelligent mammal on this earth.  He gave us reasoning abilities and one of the mistakes that we make is trying to figure everything out.  Instead of achieving peace in our hearts about certain situations, the analyzing and thinking too deeply develops turmoil in our hearts.  It stirs up bad feelings.   It causes depression.

Depression, bad feelings and turmoil are not of God.

There are many things in this life that we cannot figure out and even if we are able to peace2figure some things out, in a short amount of time, there is something else in the back of our minds that comes forward and we take it up to try to figure out.

The bottom line is that we don’t really have to figure anything out.  God knows all of the answers and if we are supposed to know certain things He reveals them to us in His timing.

Proverbs 3: 5-6 says this:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart     and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

If I believe that what the Bible says is true, what is this scripture saying to me?

It is telling me that all I have to do is trust God.  My own personal understanding will do nothing for me when it comes to getting to a place of peace or anywhere else that God has made available for me.  Letting go of all of those desires that I think will give me peace is the first step to receiving the peace that God has for me.

What is it saying to you?

Romans 5:1 tells me that:

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

This tells me that if I have faith in God that I already have peace.  Peace is not the elusive goal that I think it is.  I don’t have to search high and low for it or figure out how to get to it.  It is already a tangible possession of mine.

2 Thessalonians 3:16

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

As I look to Jesus , the Prince of Peace, I gain awareness that He is all I need in order to gain the precious Peace that I so desire.

Struggling in our minds with things, relationships, situations is fruitless.  When we are struggling, we are in turmoil and we are never at peace.

peace3The opposite of struggling with these types of things is Acceptance.

Acceptance brings me peace automatically.

The truth is that I cannot change anyone but me.

I can choose to change me.

I can choose peace and grasp it close to my heart.  If I do this enough times it will become automatic.  Peace will become a part of me, a way of life.

Peace is a gift and it is up to me as to whether or not I make the choice to grasp it for me.

I have found peace and it was always within my grasp.

Love and blessings to you!

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Sparkling Surprises after things Fall Apart

sparkling2Granddaughter #3 is visiting this month.  I am so thankful for it because there was a time when I did not know if I would ever see several of my grandchildren again.

This has been exciting, life giving and at times it is wearing me out because she is 8 years old and a bundle of energy!

She’s a chatterbox with people she knows and trusts.  If she does not know you very well, she will shrink behind me or Mr. Joe and try to become invisible.

I am so thankful that she is with us this month.  I think it is helping me push myself into getting better.

The introvert in me is getting a workout for sure.  I have to be on my toes listening and interacting at any given time.

I have to be ready to move as far as walking, cooking, doing laundry, keeping things in our small space picked up, etc.   Although Mr. Joe has scheduled some time off from his volunteer work this month, it is for special outings that we have planned, not to do the extra chores around the house.

I even started driving for the first time last week.   It was the first time in 2 months that I had driven a car on my own and I had almost developed somewhat of a phobia about it because even though the sickness is much better,  weakness has settled in my feet and ankles.  I succeeded though in driving and am walking with a cane, now, and went up and down 2 flights of stairs twice yesterday very slowly.

When I initially got sick, went into the hospital and realized that I was more seriously sick than a simple cold or flu, I got concerned about Granddaughter #3  coming to visit because the plans were already in the works.  I wasn’t sure if I would be well enough but as proof of God’s faithfulness, He got me to a place of being just well enough for her to come and He is using this time to speed up my recovery.

For a time, even after being released from the hospital, I felt like things were falling apart and that I would never be normal again.  I would try to seek God’s face and I just could not seem to connect with Him.  I felt like He had abandoned me by removing His presence from my life.  I would wonder what I had done wrong to cause the abandonment.  All I could do was hold onto His extreme faithfulness to me in the past.

People prayed.  I tried to seek Him and talk to Him.  I did not “feel” His presence but Isparkling3 knew somehow He was there and that His word is true and that He would be faithful to me as He had in the past.  I also knew that the outcome might not be the one that I wanted but the one that was in His perfect plan for me.

So, what happens when things fall apart?

What happens when we stand tremblingly face to face with the faceless, dark shroud of death?

What happens when we don’t know how we will ever be able to accomplish the things that we want to accomplish because things have fallen apart?

What about when all of these things happen and we don’t feel the presence of God or we cannot discern His voice?

I have been wondering these things because it seems that although I have walked with God and have spent time with Him, have heard his still, small voice and experienced His faithfulness, it seems that when I am in the lowest depths of spiritual attack that I cannot hear His voice at all.  This is when I have to utilize the faith that He has built in me during the easy times.  I have to hold onto faith blindly and rely upon the truth that He has ALWAYS been faithful to me!

sparkling4He spoke to me in the devotion “Jesus Calling” (by Sarah Young) yesterday:

“Keep walking with me along the path I have chosen for you.  Your desire to live close to Me is a delight to my heart.  I could instantly grant you the spiritual riches you desire, but that is not My way for you.  Together we will forge a pathway up the high mountain.  The journey is arduous at times, and you are weak.  Someday you will dance light-footed on the high peaks; but for now your walk is often plodding and heavy.  All I require of you is to take the next step, clinging to My hand for strength and direction.  Though the path is difficult and scenery dull at the moment, there are sparkling surprises just around bend.  Stay on the path I have selected for you.  It is truly the path of Life.

Comfirmation to me about this blog as well as the direction my life is going in.  Once we give our life to Him we don’t have to worry any more.

So…He has been and will be with me while climbing this mountain no matter how hard it seems and He has been and will continue to be with you while you climb your mountain.

I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to those “sparkling surprises”.  I’m also looking forward to dancing light-footed on the high peaks.

Love and blessings to you,

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Going in a different direction…while still “Climbing the Mountains”

7914bTwo years ago, I started this blog and I have never regretted it.  Sometime in the past month, the blog achieved its 10,000th hit and counting.  I am not saying that this is epic or anything, but it is a mile stone for me being that when I started it, I did not expect anything like this!

It was very scary for me to start blogging but I have to say that it brought on a lot of needed healing to my heart and soul that was needed.

I aired almost all of my dirty laundry under a pseudonym (or pen name) and what is funny, is that most of those whom I had been hurt by ended up finding and reading the blog anyway.

My life has changed and the blog is not the only reason why, but it played a big part in the healing process for me.  It became my public journal, the place where I removed all of those bandaids that had been covering up the festering, infected wounds that had haunted me for so long.  It was the place where one could read and actually see the truth about who I was.

Things have changed over the last few months and although I want to7914a continue an “online journal”, I no longer feel that I have to air helpful hints in order to try to “save” or “rescue” people.  The information that we need and the way out of any mess is already out there in many different ways and if anyone has found my information it is because they happened to Google something that pulled up links to this blog.

I am still on a journey, but the hurt and the pain has been removed from my life and my heart.  Yes, on occasion there are still problems and I am not nor will I ever achieve perfection but that gaping hole has been filled with something that God has put there and it is called healing, healing from my past, healing for my future, healing …

I don’t know if there are a lot of people out there who would be interested in my life, but I am going to change the direction of this blog to a direction that just includes what is going on in my life.  Good things, bad things, things in between…

I have been very ill for about 2 months now, and am slowly recovering.  It has been a long, hard road and honestly I still don’t really understand why the illness happened to me in the first place.  There was and will still be a lot of questions that I have and problems that I confront because of this illness.  The illness is called SIADH.  One of the things that I am dealing with in regards to SIADH is chronic pain.

As I have mentioned before, I am an empty nester, have multiple adult children and grandchildren in varying degrees of ages.

My husband, Mr. Joe, and I have a love for traveling abroad and sharing7914 our personal experiences with God with those who want to know Him more.  There are certain countries that we have visited that have captured our hearts and that are just waiting for us to visit again.  I can’t let an illness get me down to the point where I stop doing what I love.  Right now, we live and work on  the campus of a large Mission Agency in Colorado Springs, CO.

It was so hard to uproot and move here 8 months ago but I am still sooo glad that we did!  I love living here in this mild climate as opposed to the harsh Texas heat and humidity.

The plan, although I was ill, is to continue to teach preschool for a little while longer when our preschool opens back up in September.

I mention all of this because there is a plethora of information and thoughts in my heart and soul that sometimes are “just rearing to get out”.  These are the things that I will be sharing about from now on.

Interested?  Are there enough empty nesters out there to keep me in “business”?  Not sure, but there should be.

I am allowing God to take this blog to where ever He wants to take it from now on!  Can’t wait to see where we go with this because it will be an adventure.

Love and blessings to you!

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