I am a wife to a very handsome man, this Summer we will have our 10 year anniversary. I would like to be the Mama of his children and I plan to have one child for every year I have to wait. We're up to ten!
In the Missouri Ozarks and in my heart, the warm sunshine is melting away the long winter. Springtime means fresh hope to me, the promise of life returning after a season of isolation or dormancy. It's been more than 2 years since our (foster) babies moved out. Such a hard and bitterly cold winter for us, and our family.
Last year I was buried deep in the snow of sorrow and couldn't see beyond it. That snow has melted and little springtime sprouts are budding all around. It's more than hope, it's a promise. A promise being fulfilled. New lives, new loves, new joys, and new sunshine all around.
It was a long and hard winter. I won't say it's okay. It has forever changed the world , as winter does, and I'm glad to be through it. It will be a landmark in time, like the flood of '93 was for those affected by it, or like Katrina for New Orleans and many others. The winter of my heart will not fade in my memory but, it will mark the loss, grief, and the healing of my heart that winter brings to prepare for spring.
If you know us, this might scare you. We feel compelled to continue at the risk of further heartache. We have taken steps to open our hearts and our home another child. This time a teen. We've been connected with someone and in the way that we do, we've found ourselves falling, no, jumping madly into love.
To celebrate, I want to have a giveaway. Since I he no idea how to do that, I'll look into it! So keep checking back!
This week has been my first glimpse of winter weather so far this season! We've had snow in our area before this week but I wasn't home to enjoy the fun. So I find myself thrilled to be "snowed in" with my hubby and keeping toasty warm.
From June 2014 until October 2015 I worked as a manager for a local coffee shop. There I learned much about coffee, espresso, steaming milk, and keeping shop for a small business. I also learned that there is so much I DON'T know. I think that is the most enlightening part of any real education; coming to the edge of the vast and endless world of things unlearned. What I know about coffee could fill a small book in the two story library of all that is coffee. I feel pleasantly humbled. I believe they have a word for this; awe.
Beyond the world of coffee and small business operations, the last year and a half has given me a much needed rest and reprieve from the hard work of heartaches. My husband has been my greatest human source of strength and support. He has given so much and carried my burdens so very far. He is a gift from God and I find myself speechless and incapable of describing all that he is and what he has done for me, and for my heart. I thank God for him. There are a multitude of others who have helped me walk my path. Some friends have become family, shouldering the weight of grief, crying my tears with me, others have cheered me on when I felt no confidence to go. I've been given gentle instruction regarding healthy habits of grief, and I've made new friends who have treated me as an I
nvaluable treasure. Some faces have faded into the background, although from what I have seen in my life so far, I believe some those relationships will circle back around, others are most likely in the past for good. My family, as always, are a source of endless lI've and joy for me.
I'm growing in clarity of mind and my enthusiasm for housekeeping is amazing even to myself. There have been days that I understood the fog of grief as a passing phase and gave myself a pass on laundry and dishes. There have been other days that humiliation flushed my face when I recalled my lack of shame at the filth and disarray surrounding me. Today I can say there is progress and I am proud of it. Even if I am the only one who knows the depths of it.
Time is moving forward and I am swept along in the current. This wintertime is preparing to melt away into a bright and beautiful spring.
Oh. And we have a puppy.
So, as mentioned in the title of this post, Spring has sprung and the new year has long begun. I cannot yet say if it will be a happy one and yet the joy of the Lord is my constant comfort and His peace is my friend.
It has been a year since we've held our precious children and basked in their beautiful presence. What heartache it has brought; missing them, clearing out clothes from their closets, boxing up toys, taking down small beds and baby cribs, sorting through all the days that are now memories. Folding tiny pants and little dresses took my breath away. Each has had a birthday pass and the baby will soon have another. Those are especially hard for me because I believe in grand and glittering birthday celebrations and I do not see my treasures being treasured. Well loved, yes, but not treasured. Not as we treasured their preciousness. I ache at missing the milestones that fly by in those fast growing toddles years.
We pray for their lives and we long for their return and yet we know the chances are that we won't hold them again. We won't be rocking them to sleep or waking during the night. Its funny to say that we enjoyed those midnight wake ups but they were warm and sweet and precious to us. Sometimes I wake up wondering if someone needs checking on and a moment later when reality hits it is cold. Still. Peace is here in our hearts and it gives us hope for a future. We know who designes our life and we trust God with our world. We don't invite anger or bitterness inside and when it starts to barge in we uproot it. There are many people who would advise us to sue, or go to the media, or push our adgenda in other ways but we know the only right way is by trusting the Lord and we know we can do that. So that is what we do. Moment by moment sometimes and day by day, always.
Spring is bringing buds of new life and we are expecting a year of comfort and peace, maybe a little hope too.
I have a family history of this sort of behavior, I've known that I have a predisposition for this type of thing but I never thought it would affect me.
As a child, I heard stories about my aunt, whispers around the table, I saw my sister inclined in the same way, and I was repulsed. But I NEVER thought that it would affect me,I never thought that I would be one of them but, it started slowly. It was fun to fake it, to pretend for awhile, there are things you can do, stuff you can buy to make yourself think you don't want it, I pretended that I was normal but I knew something was different. I knew I WANTED it. Then one day I found it for a really good price and I thought that I could buy a larger amount and use it slowly, now and then. I went through what could be a year's supply for some people, and it only took me a few months. My husband was appalled. I could see the confusion, the apprehension, even sometimes this look of disgust, on his face but by then I was hooked and it didn't matter. I hid it for awhile, but my friends started noticing. They were shocked and disgusted. I tried to entice them to join me but it was not to be. I didn't care. I didn't even think it was a problem. But my habit was getting expensive and the price was going up, all over the US people we paying top dollar for the stuff, and double that when it was considered designer. The good stuff.
Anyway. My husband started a few months ago but he only does it when he's with me. Never on his own. I have to do it for him and sometimes he'll ask for it. I have a secret thrill when this happens because I know he's hooked. Money has been tight lately and luxuries are few, this is now a splurge that I make every couple of weeks and I try to make it last. If I don't have any waiting for me, all I can think about is finding more. If I do have a stash, then it calls to me. I keep it in the kitchen. This morning I woke up thinking it was just a regular day but after my shower I walked out to the kitchen and like a big, bright, light it was there, right on the countertop, calling my name. My name is Amy, and I don't have a problem but this morning I ate a half a stick of butter.
Real butter is good for you. But real Addiction is a serious problem and I'm not making light of that. If you have an addiction or know someone who does, please seek help.
In the summer heat, we need water to quench our thirst. Maybe you have a friend with a well of icy cold spring water. What a good friend to have in the summer!
In the wintertime, when your feet are cold and fingers icy you could use a friend who has a nice warm fire to snuggle up next to.
Come springtime the need for a fire isn't so pressing but an umbrella would sure come in handy. When the sky is raining bucket loads, you look around and see your good buddy with an umbrella big enough that you both could share a picnic beneath it. That's the friend for you! You wave and call her name and she welcomes you into your her world.
Friends are wonderful. Good for loving and laughing with, great when you're moving houses, and each friend has unique abilities and strengths in specific areas. Some friends have wells of thirst quenching water, others a warm fire to thaw the frozen chill, yet another friend can bring a bit if shelter in a stormy downpour. Each friend is valuable but sometimes we place more value on the friend we need in the moment. When it's raining we can forget about our friend with the well she shares so generously. In the winter we're not looking for a buddy with an umbrella. I'm sure you see where this is going. Of course I intend to say that we should value our friends for who they are and not for what they can offer us but there's more. Sometimes our friends ARE what they offer us! When we are bitter and feeling used, a friend with a warm heart can thaw us. When life is drowning us in sorrow a sheltering hug can make all the difference. When we're in a desert, spiritually, emotionally, or even just lonely, the right friend can refresh our life. Thank God for friends! We should all have them - and we should all be them. When your season of thirst is over, and maybe it a season of rain, share your well! Water your thirsty friends! When you're no longer huddled by the fire, warm someone else! Share your heat! When you're coming out of the rain, hold the umbrella for someone who is desperate! Share your shelter!
Seasons change. They change daily and often they change before we sense it. Be careful to continue valuing the people who value you. If you're loved, chose to be lovable and love back.
Sometimes we have to step out of the rain and regroup before we can hold an umbrella for another, and that's okay. But when you have something to offer then don't hold back. Be the friend that you needed. Be available, be real, have hard and uncomfortable conversations, listen, choose to listen when you don't understand or even agree. Sometimes we must help our friends by saying hard stuff, in love, but often being a friend isn't about doing something, but just listening.
All this to say, the ebb and flow of life will naturally pull you this way and that. Sometimes our lives go in different directions. But if your life flows right past your friend's door, make a stop now and then. Bring coffee. Or bring tissues. Don't be afraid of the hard stuff. When you're a friend in the inconvenient times, you'll have friends when you need them. If you're so busy having fun with new friends that you have no time to play with your old friends, then you'll find you have no friends at all.
People on their deathbeds often have regrets that fit into a
few main categories. I like to read articles about this particular subject. I feel like I can avoid having certain retgret by learning from other people's mistakes. Sometimes they wish they’d had more adventure in their
lives, traveled the world, or maybe created something. Some people wish they
had developed a talent or earned a degree. Most often though the most bitter of
all regrets has to do with love, family, and relationships.
In our lives there are usually a few key people in the day
to day living. Those people consist of our live in family members, close
friends and coworkers we may see frequently, and the people we search out. The loved
ones we choose to connect with who add to our lives, and hopefully, we to
But there are others. People who we know and love but we don’t
see as regularly due to schedule conflicts or even distance barriers. We still
connect, through the telephone, social networking, weekend visits or even
vacations. These people know we love them and they love us back.
What about the people we know, and maybe even love, who we
aren’t including in our regular lives. They’re the more distant relatives or acquaintances
that we’re content to see a few times a year at a family function or a mutual friend’s
gathering, or more infrequently even, if life prevents these occasional connections
from taking place. These are the people we know and we say hello if our paths
cross. We enjoy their company and we move on.
There are people we may see every day without noticing. The cashier
and the department store, the mailperson, the gas station attendant, the
barista at Starbucks, the janitor at work. People whose names we may or may not
know. These are the people whose lives often bump into ours, but who we have
little or no relationship with.
Now think of the people you know and how they fit into each
of these categories. Our family and close friends, our parents, our grown
children, our extended families, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, , our coworkers,
our fellow church goers, our car repair person, the trash man. These people are
all in our lives with us. We see them, they see us. How do you greet them? Warmly?
Affectionately? Distantly? Of course we apply our emotion on a case by case
basis. But what if we forget to care for someone? What if we are so intent on
ordering our macchiato that when we have a chance to connect we miss it, or
ignore it? What if we’ve place such high value on posting our current events on
Facebook that we are MISSING out on our current relationships? What if we’re so
caught up in finding out what Kim Freaking Kardashian is wearing today that we
miss an opportunity to catch up with grandma?What if we care more about having the latest model cell phone that we
carelessly race away from our real life? What if you’re missing out on your
real life because your too busy comparing it to your neighbors life and you
find it lacking so you’re discontent and pouting and wishing for more more
more, bigger bigger bigger, better better better!What have we become that we crop grandma out
of the baby pictures for a more polished look? What have we done? Have we
traded our family for a picture perfect lifestyle? Are there any pictures of
grandpa on your family photo wall?
That’s a regret to prevent. Choose to open your
life up to the un-pretty, the not cool, the people behind the scenes, people
who spend their free time investing into your life. Look around you; somebody
is standing off to the side, wishing for a moment of your time. Embrace the
people who actually like you and stop trying to impress the rest of the world.
You can start living your real life today
We ought to be rallying behind our church leaders not talking behind their backs about how imperfect they are, not discussing some instance that you felt slighted, and certainly not speculating as to what their problem are could be. We don't have a right to trash talk any church, even if we've chosen to leave it in favor of another.
I've said many times that I disliked the preaching style of one church or another, I might comment on the style of music I prefer or don't prefer, but to dig in deep with personal insults directed at church leadership and structure is plain mean spirited and wrong.
If you find yourself offended that someone didn't notice you, make an effort to forgive them and pray that God will help them see more of the people around them who desire personal moments with them.
If you believe someone said something offensive, ask God for help to forgive them, don't walk around talking about how so and so said such and such so you left the church.
We are intended to help one another when we stumble. In effort to keep your footing, don't stir up stumbling blocks for your fellows, but be a positive example of love and life giving words.
Two of the most critical and most often offended people I've ever met have been the source of the most negative speech against the church and both of these people take the Lord's name in vain in an over abundant manner, during every conversation I have with them. These people may not even realize what they're saying, but they've been very clear to point out how many Christians have offended them. It causes me to believe that if I asked why they use Gods name in vain, then I might offend them right out of the church. Or, should I be offended out by their language? Which offense is greater, their frequent OMG or my distaste of it?
Why are we so quick to hop churches when somebody says something that we don't like? Do not we realize there will be a negative Nancy, Debbie downer, doubting Thomas, sons of thunder, tax collecting Matthew, Mary of the serving nurturer, Martha the relationship nurturer, James the Just, even Judas the traitor in every congregation? Jesus has asked us to love one another, not in our perfection and righteousness but in his grace and forgiveness. You don't have to pretend you don't notice sin, but pray and seek God's will with and a heart towards forgiveness, remembering that God has forgiven them, and me, and you. It's my honor to chose not to be offended by my brothers and sisters. It's my joy to love my neighbors who have hurt me. It's for His glory that I chose to forgive those who cause me pain.
Let's have a prayer.
Loving, forgiving, gracious, God.
Please help me remember that when I was filthy with sin and disgrace, you loved me. You love me because your righteousness has covered my sin. You washed me of my filth and made me yours when I could never be worthy of your love or your mercy.
Thank you God for your ever flowing, never ending mercy, your fountain of forgiveness, your unending love. Thank you for showing me what it means to forgive, help me to keep forgiving because it's always so hard.
Thank you for teaching me to love. Not just for the sake of loving someone who needs love, bit because loving people is the sweetest pleasure I know. Thank you for giving me the strength to love, when I am too weak. Thank you for giving me the courage to love when I'm afraid it will hurt too much. Thank you for loving me and letting Your love shine into my broken heart.
Oh God. Thank you for teaching me that forgiveness is better for me than even the person I'm forgiving.
Is it possible that you find such sweet pleasure in forgiving and loving me, as I find when I forgive and love? How can it even be? Thank you for the rain that causes the sun shine to seems warmer and brighter in its absence. Lord, please promise me that the sun will shine again in my world. That the pain will fade and your love will fill me up and overflow from me.
Thank you for your will and your plan and your purpose for my life. Help me to see it and to trust in you.