Category Archives: Rambles

A Tree Grows in Adversity


This quote sounds very empowering.  It has also been said that the choices we make control our destiny.  But I wonder how much control do we really have over the circumstances of our lives based on the choices we make?  The reality is that so much of what happens is happening to us beyond our control, and it is not our fault.

I did not choose for my father to die when I was twelve years old.  I did not choose for my mother to die five days after my wedding.  I did not choose to battle infertility for seven years and then have a special needs child.  These things happened beyond my ability to choose, and none of those events was my fault.  Likewise, many people do not have a choice in their life’s circumstance, and they have very little opportunity to change their lots in life.  I mean, can I honestly go to the slums of India and tell those living there that they just need to make better choices in order to have a better life?  As if it was their fault that they are there and as if they do not live in a system that traps them in poverty.  This insight is based on the fact that I saw the movie Slumdog Millionaire.  I have zero knowledge of the history or current events of India beyond that.

Does a tree have a choice about where it is planted?  What tree would not choose to be planted in the richest soil with access to sunlight and rain?  The vast majority of the trees in the world are not even planted by human hands.  They are planted without a thought or a care.  Many trees sprout from a seed haphazardly dropped by a squirrel or a bird, or the seed was blown by the wind and landed when the wind ran out of air.  Trees have to withstand all kinds of weather and hardships—lightning storms, high winds, fires, humans who chop them down to use their wood, etc.  They do not have the opportunity or the ability to move out of harm’s way to a better spot in the forest.

What about us?  Just like trees, we continue to grow, but sometimes we get pruned.  The Biblical allusion to pruning is that a tree is pruned so that it can grow stronger and produce more fruit.  I sometimes feel that I get pruned so that I will stay small and mediocre.  It feels like every time I reach out a branch, someone is there with a chainsaw to cut it back.  No matter.  Just as a tree cannot help but continue to grow, I will continue to reach out, though perhaps in a direction away from the chainsaw.

mystical-angel-oak-tree-louis-dallaraWhat is it that determines the strength of a tree?  We can all agree that the tree’s true strength is not in its beautiful foliage or the interesting twists of its branches or even the sweetness of the fruit it produces.  The strength of a tree is determined by the depth of its root system and the quality of the soil in which it is planted.  Yet, while a tree does not have a choice about where it is planted, we do.  Most often we are able to grow our roots deeper in the soil in which our lives are planted and draw from the rich nutrients and water deep below.  Sadly, sometimes as we dig deeper into the soil beneath us we discover that it is barren.

While adversity is beyond my control, I am fortunate in that I do have a choice when faced with difficulties.  I have a choice to take a chance to uproot myself in order to find richer soil in which to plant myself so that I can change and grow and produce fruit.  Adversity unveils this choice.  Adversity causes me to consider the choices I can make to bring change to my circumstance.  I need to make a decision about whether I stay and tolerate a barren environment or whether I uproot myself and seek out richer soil.

There is much to consider when considering making a change.  I understand that I really cannot choose what I want in every situation, because my life is not my own.  My life is not about me.  I am connected to family, friends, coworkers, bosses—all of whom are affected by any choice I make for myself.  I need to consider the ramifications of my choices.  Is it worth uprooting myself, or should I just tolerate my current situation and hope that something will happen to bring the barren soil back to life?  I don’t have an answer, but I do have hope in knowing that

“…God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

To Tease or Not to Tease, That is The Question

Bullying has attracted a lot of attention, and it should.  People are much more aware of the damage that can be inflicted on a person’s psyche from any type of bullying; depression and suicide are the most imminent dangers.    The statistics about suicides related to bullying are downright scary:

Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University

Kids today are aware of the dangers of bullying, and my nine-year-old son sees it as his responsibility to protect his six-year-old sister from bullying.  This is his primary reason for taking karate, he says.  If she comes home from school with stories about someone treating her unkindly, he gets very angry and feels bad that he wasn’t there to protect her (he is home schooled due to the rigors of his therapy program to help him recover from autism).  Sweet?  I’m concerned that he may have taken this thought too far.

Lately, he is working through the concept of teasing.  Is teasing the same as bullying?  A few months ago, some boys in our church began teasing him about his aversion to sugar.  As part of his therapy he is on a special diet which eliminates sugar.  It’s not a big deal because fortunately, he loathes sugar.  Always has.  When he was a baby I gave him his first taste of ice cream and he gagged on it.  I gave him a bit of a chocolate chip cookie, and he spit it out.  For his first birthday, he looked at the cake, but was not in the least bit interested in it.  The fact that he does not like sugary foods is odd and funny to his peers, so a few of the boys taunted him about it.  I am 100% sure that none of these boys meant any harm and that their teasing fell into the realm of raillery which is good-natured ridicule and affectionate mocking.  However, my son didn’t interpret it this way.  Their taunts made him angry.  He even gets angry if one child teases another child.  It happened just this past Sunday when he was curled up and in tears over this and the fact that the child who did the teasing wouldn’t apologize to the person she teased.  She likely didn’t feel she did anything wrong.  I don’t think she did either, and the boy she teased didn’t seem phased.  My son does not recognize the affection and friendship at the foundation, and this is what I want to teach him.

Pro-social teasing is very beneficial in establishing and maintaining friendships, promoting bonding, and affectionate mocking aids in conflict resolution by teaching people to deal with interpersonal conflict in a safe manner with a person they consider a friend.  Good-natured teasing can actually even raise self esteem when it is done from a foundation of love and mutual understanding of each other’s intent.  But what happens when intent is misinterpreted and misunderstood?  There is a very good article that addresses that in Psychology Today, When Does Teasing Go Too Far?

There is a line in the sand.  Boundaries.  Each person has them, and each person’s boundary lines are different.  For those of us who are neuro-typical, who have an understanding of societal and cultural norms, it is our responsibility to recognize the signs when we cross those lines and to immediately back off and apologize when our banter violates a boundary.  We are also responsible to recognize whether there is benevolent or malevolent intent.  People like my son, who are learning to navigate our world, find this a challenge.  I need to teach my son how to interpret body language and facial expressions to know whether the teasing was okay or not.  This does not come easy or natural for him, but he’s getting much better.

This is not just about him toughening up and getting thicker skin.  It’s about him learning the rules of engagement in friendly society, and learning that not everyone is a threat.  Most people have good intentions and use teasing as a means to connect with him in friendship.  As confident as I am that those kids in our church did not intend any harm, I am confident that my son can navigate through this and learn how to be a kid in the group.

My son is a lot like Charlie Brown, often called a “block head” by Lucy who may or may not be labeled a bully.  Charlie Brown just wanted to be part of the gang, but knew he was different, as my son does.  He knew that things that were easy for some kids were difficult for him.  He was misunderstood and teased…some of the teasing good-natured; other teasing was malicious, but in the end the gang recognized that Charlie Brown is a good man and Charlie Brown knew he was accepted.  This is my hope for my son.


Ramblings about Prophecy

God is alive and well and actively involved in our lives.  One way He demonstrates His involvement is through the operation of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in and through people who have surrendered their lives to Him.  I have no intention of getting into an intellectual, theological discussion.  I do not have a seminary degree nor do I hold a leadership position in any church that would give me the authority to do so.  Please just allow me to express some of the things I’ve been thinking about…which is the purpose for my entire blog—a place for me to unload my brain.

There is a difference between the Gift of Prophecy and the Office of a Prophet.  The Gift is something that all believers in Jesus have the potential to experience and walk in; however, that does not make each person a Prophet who has a specific calling from God and a particular jurisdiction in which to operate—some locally, some globally, and yes, there are true Prophets in the earth today, and we should pay attention when they speak.  Much more to say on this subject, but I wanted to focus on the Gift of Prophecy for this writing and share some of my personal experiences.


The purpose of prophecy is to make known the secrets of God.  The apostle Paul expresses his desire that all in the church would be able to move in this gift—that means everyone.  He desired that all believers would walk in such intimacy and unity with the LORD that He would lay bare the secrets of His heart to them and that they would give expression to the things He reveals for each of them to draw closer to God and to one another…to be enabled to encourage and challenge one another toward a deeper life with God.  Most if not all believers desire to hear the voice of God, and they want everyone to know/think they’ve heard from God, when sometimes all they’ve heard is the desire of their own hearts for what they would like to see God do.

I’ve had a number of people tell me that God was going to give me a singing ministry; however, I can’t carry a tune, and if I hear one more person declare that I am royalty and will stand before kings, I’m going to throw up.  I’ve had a number of people prophesy things that they would like to see God do in my life, but they were just that, good wishes.  How do I know the difference when a person is speaking from their own imagination or when they are truly inspired by the Holy Spirit?  I have my own relationship with God; I am a sheep who knows my Shepherd’s voice.  I also have a bit of a process I follow when someone prophesies to me…I actively forget about it.  This is not to say that I reject it, rather I put their words on a shelf, so to speak.  More often than not, I don’t give those words another thought and their memory fades away.  Sometimes I can’t shake it.  Those words keep replaying in my mind.  That’s when I pay attention and act on them, mostly by praying about it or grabbing my Bible to study deeper.  Another time I pay attention is if someone speaks something that enhances or gives further insight to what God spoke to my heart previously.

For the first seven years of our marriage, my husband and I were childless and wanted to become parents.  At the end of a church service, one of the elders of our church came up to me and whispered in my ear.  His wife was horrified when I told her what he whispered, and all I could think at the time was, “Wow!  You’re brave to say that to me.”  What did he say?  He said, “God told me that you are pregnant.”  Not “you will be,” but “you are.”  I put those words on the shelf.  A little while later, during the same service, another elder, who had no idea about what was whispered in my ear, was praying for me and my husband.  He was about to say something, but stopped.  He was hesitant to speak.  We dragged it out of him, “I just keep seeing a baby.”  A week later I took a pregnancy test and saw a faint line.  I wanted to be sure, so I requested a blood test from my doctor, and she called me a few hours later with the news, “You’re going to be a mommy!”  Wow!  It happened.  We were thrilled.  Then we went to my first OB/GYN appointment, and there was no heartbeat.  Wait, what?!  That baby was prophetically announced!  How could there be no heartbeat?  There wasn’t.  A miscarriage.  Devastating and overwhelming sadness.  How did I respond to that?  I lifted my hands before the LORD and worshiped singing, “Blessed be the Name of the LORD.  He gives and takes away.”  I still don’t understand why this happened, but it did, and God is still good.

Well-meaning people said that they knew I would conceive again soon.  I didn’t.  Each month was met with renewed disappointment and sadness which culminated when we reached the month when the miscarried baby should have been born.  We decided to pursue adoption, but then God surprised us with another positive pregnancy test.  This time there was a heartbeat!  Just after that first OB/GYN appointment when we knew everything was going to be fine, I attended a women’s retreat.  The main speaker was a woman who was known for a strong gift of prophecy.  During one of the meetings she was encouraging the mothers in the room to teach their children to spend time with the LORD and to recognize God’s voice.  Suddenly, she pointed her finger at me and declared, “You have a prophet in you.  He is called to be a prophet of God.  He was prepared in Heaven for this time, and God specifically chose you and your husband to be his parents.”  I felt like a lightning bolt shot through me.  I was only ten weeks along, so there was no way of knowing if my baby was a boy or a girl at that time, but 8 weeks later it was confirmed through ultrasound—a boy!  Months later, at my baby shower, there were several prophesies from well-meaning people about the baby in my womb, most of which I forgot, but one I didn’t…the prophesy was that there was something very remarkable about my son.

We have yet to see if my son will become a prophet.  He is 8 years old and very remarkable.  He is not like most boys his age, in fact, he is autistic.  Wait, what?  The prophetic words were that he was called to be a prophet, prepared in heaven for this time, remarkable.  We were not prepared for him to have a special need that prevents him from attending school and making friends and functioning in public normally.  Nonetheless, my son sees things from a different and insightful perspective that is truly remarkable.  Time will tell.

An example of a time when a person prophesied something the LORD previously spoke to me was when God was calling my husband and I to transition to a different church.  During prayer I saw myself standing on the banks of a river and a barge floated by heading east; however, I felt an urge to go west.  I felt the LORD say, “If you get on board you will be taken far away from where I want you to go.”  I understood that the barge represented the church we were going to at that time.  I am not at all saying that the church was heading in a wrong direction, just not the direction my husband and I were supposed to go.  We knew we were supposed to leave the church; however, we didn’t know where to go, and we didn’t want to jeopardize valuable friendships.  We held this vision in our hearts.  About two years later, a prophet came to minister at this church.  He asked me to stand, and he declared, “God is taking you out of one river and putting you into another.”  Yes!  That word brought me back to the vision of the barge.  We were released from the church.  We shared this with the pastors who were sorry to see us go, but completely understood.  We left with a blessing and in blessing them.  All friendships are still intact.

Of course there are many more stories I could tell about how God has involved Himself, intervened, interacted, and initiated things in my life.  It humbles me to know how interested He is in my life…who am I that the Creator of the Universe would take such notice of me?  I am His workmanship.  I was created for His purposes in the earth, even my small part.  In the same way, He is interested and takes notice of you.  Cool, huh?

For the Common vs. Individual Good

It never fails.  When trying to decide on an activity with my children, I’ll give them a choice, “Would you like to go here or there?”  Child A chooses “Here!”  Child B chooses “There!”  Neither is willing to compromise and do the kind thing and allow their sibling to get their choice.  So, the responsibility lands on my shoulders to make the choice that will usually leave one or both of them disappointed and protesting, “That’s not fair!”


Recently, a psychology professor, Dylan Selterman, PhD, at the University of Maryland included this extra-credit question on a psychology final exam:

Here you have the opportunity to earn some extra credit on your final paper grade.  Select whether you want 2 points or 6 points added onto your final paper grade.  But there’s a small catch:  if more than 10% of the class selects 6 points then no one gets any points.

Professor Selterman pointed to a concept called the tragedy of the commons as his reason for including this question on the exam.

“The tragedy of the commons is basically a dilemma between doing what is good for you as an individual versus doing what is best for the group,” the professor said.  “Now it stands to reason that people behave selfishly.  But if too many people behave selfishly, the group will suffer…and then everyone in the group individually will suffer.”

It’s an interesting concept to consider, and one that has been studied and analyzed for more than 100 years in the field of economics.  However, I just want my children to learn how to think of others before themselves, and what would be best for everyone rather than being selfish.  My desire for them is that they would know the pleasure of doing something for another without any regard to reward…just the pleasure of being a blessing rather than assuming they are entitled to whatever they want.  Selfishness is natural for someone who is young and immature, that’s why many stipulate people must reach a certain age before they can handle responsibility.

Think of it this way. If a father dies and leaves an inheritance for his young children, those children are not much better off than slaves until they grow up, even though they actually own everything their father had. They have to obey their guardians until they reach whatever age their father set. (Galatians 4:1-2)

Why would a father set an age when his children could receive the inheritance he left ?  Obviously, he wants them to be of an age when they can handle the responsibility of the inheritance and not squander it.  Those who are immature feel entitled and excited about what they’re going to get; whereas, those who are mature feel the weight of the responsibility to honor their father who gave the inheritance, and they pray for wisdom to be good stewards of what they receive, and the latter often seek for ways to be generous.  Those with a generous heart are stirred with compassion when they see a need.

A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed.  “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said.
Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him, “I am willing,” He said.  “Be healed!”  
Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. (Mark 1:40-42)

Jesus was not afraid of this man’s need when most would be repulsed.  He touched someone many would find grotesque, and I’m sure there was healing of heart, mind, as well as the body of this man.  My hope is that when my children see a problem or a person in need their first impulse would be to ask, “How can I help?”  I also hope that they will look for ways to be a blessing to others.

My hope is not in vain for I have seen glimmers.  A few weeks ago my daughter had a dental appointment, and she was rewarded with getting to choose a small toy because of her good behavior.  Of all the things she could have chosen for herself, she decided on a little plastic duck to give to her brother because she knew he would like it.  That’s what I want to see more of.


Idle Chatter from a 5 year old

Last week I picked up my five year old daughter from school, strapped her in her car seat, and, as she usually does, she started chattering about whatever was on her mind.


On this particular day, she was chattering about some of the different people she encountered at school, and she described them by saying their name, telling me about the color of their skin, and then based on the color of their skin whether or not she felt comfortable talking to them.  The word, “NO!” exploded out of my mouth.  We then had a conversation about how people have different skin color depending on where they are from, and it has nothing to do with whether or not we should be friends with them.  We need to decide who we want to be friends with based on how they behave and how they treat you.  She hung her head in shame, and I knew she was thinking about what I said, and I know we will need to have many more conversations like this.

Where did this come from?  Up until a couple of months ago, she never noticed people’s skin color.  When she would tell me about her day and the other children she played with, she always described them in terms of their behavior and how they treated her.  When did she start sorting people based on their race?  I know exactly where it started…when she learned about Martin Luther King, Jr. at school.  It was impossible to teach her why Martin Luther King, Jr. is so important without explaining racism.

Interesting, huh?  In learning about the man who declared, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” she learned to judge people by the color of their skin.

Now, is she racist? Does she think that because she has white skin that she’s better?  Not at all.  I know she didn’t mean any harm, and she is very loving and welcoming.  And, you know the studies that were done years ago when an African-American child was asked to choose between a black or a white baby doll, and they chose the white one?  Well, my daughter’s favorite Disney Fairy is Odessa, and she loves the Disney Princess, Tiana…but she also loves all the other fairies of Pixie Hollow, as well as all the other princesses.

Disney-Fairies-Redesign-disney-fairies-34698208-747-748Tiana, the Princess and the Frog

Oh, I long for the innocence of when she didn’t see color, but now she does, and I pray that she will see the varied colors of people’s skin as beautiful.

This puts me in mind of another incidence of Idle Chatter in the car.  I was giving my friend a ride, who happens to be African-American.  I found it so funny when she blurted out, “I’m so tired of being around white people all the time!”  I laughed out loud, and she said, “Oh, Rebecca, I didn’t mean you.”  I consider that one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.  She didn’t consider me white.  She considered me Rebecca.

Idle chatter from my daughter.  Rambling thoughts from me.  Dreading the conversations when she learns about the holocaust and she realizes it could have been her, just because she has one Jewish grandparent.  Sigh…  God, give me wisdom, and fill my mouth with the right words.

The Impossible Dream: coping with impossible people

Anytime people work or live in close proximity with one another there is bound to be conflict.  It would be nice if we could have a symbiotic connection, knowing that each of us needs what the others have to contribute; however, the reality is that we often find ourselves in situations that are cacophonous rather than harmonious.  Most of the time people can work through conflicts.  Sometimes, sadly, people find themselves at an impasse because at least one person refuses to compromise and find a solution that benefits all.


I am cognizant of the fact that at one time or another that impossible person is me.  In those times I’m not open to suggestions or advice because as far as I’m concerned, I’m not at fault. I didn’t do anything wrong. I was falsely accused, and no one understands me. It usually happens when I go into a situation with a preconceived idea of how I want the interaction to go and the solution I want to arrive at, only to be unprepared for differing opinions and feeling like no one is listening to me…rejected.  There was also a time when I was confronted with something I did wrong, and instead of taking responsibility and asking for guidance in how I should improve, I became defensive and denied my wrongdoing while knowing full well that I was at fault.  Anyone else done that?  Sure you have.

I found this article on entitled How To Deal With Impossible Peopleand I can’t improve on what was said.  So, click the link and read their advice for handling conflict and long-term management of impossible people.  I also found a wonderful article on, The Mirror Theory.  The Baal Shem Tov (the founder of Hasidic Judiasm) theorized that when confronted by difficult people, the negative emotions we experience are due to the fact that we recognize those unfavorable behaviors in ourselves, and these are opportune times for self reflection and examination.

Some basic characteristics of impossible people are arrogance, fault-finding, and being antagonistic.  Therefore, I need to cultivate the opposite attributes of humility, being complementary, and kind.

Humility is having and demonstrating a modest estimate of ones own importance.  It’s not about putting oneself down; it’s simply being honest and recognizing ones own strengths and weaknesses.  This works wonderfully with being complementary and recognizing where another’s strength can supply my lack.  Finally, to be kind and act in ways that are good and beneficial to others.

I find it interesting that C.S. Lewis, in his book The Great Divorce, described hell as people living as far away from each other as possible with no interaction with one another.  God’s intention is that we should live together in families and communities.  Interestingly, in Israel there was a study that proved that people who lived on kibbutzim (communal settlements) had longer and healthier lives than those who lived in cities.  On a kibbutz, everyone owns everything and no one owns anything, and these communities were the backbone to Israel’s early survival and economic productivity.

So the age old question:


Who Will Stand With Me?

When I was in 8th grade, my English class read the play The Diary of Ann Frank.  The teacher assigned parts, and we read it out loud in class.  I was honored to read the part of Ann.  This was the first time I learned about the Holocaust.  The story gripped my heart.  Within the next year I read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.  Throughout my teens and early adulthood I devoured everything I could to learn about what happened in Europe from 1933 through 1945.  I was particularly struck by the accounts of non-Jews who opened their hearts and homes and hid Jewish people at the peril of their own lives.  These heroes, the rescuers, are awarded the honor of being named as The Righteous Among The Nations, and it does my heart good to know that there were many who had the courage to stand in the face of evil and do the right thing.


In times of conflict, people find themselves cast in one of three roles:  the perpetrator, the victim, or the bystander.  Most of us like to think of ourselves as innocent bystanders; however, there really is no such part to play.  Really, there are only two roles–perpetrator or victim.  If you stay silent you empower the perpetrator.

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Edmund Burke

If I lived during the time of the Holocaust, what would I have done?  I had a profound experience when I first asked myself that question.  It was in the form of a prayer, “Lord, if the Holocaust were to happen now, do I have the courage and the strength of character…would I have hidden the Jews?”  God spoke to me, and what He said shook me to the core.  He said, “You’re Jewish.  You would have to be hidden.”  That never occurred to me.  While I knew my father was Jewish, it was never part of my identity.  In fact, per Nuremberg Code, all it took was for one grandparent to be Jewish for a person to be condemned.  It did not matter whether that person worshiped in a synagogue, a church, or anywhere.  If one grandparent was Jewish, that person is Jewish.

The fact of the matter is that this type of evil is operating in the world today.  Many people groups are suffering.  There are many accounts of heinous crimes against humanity all over the world.  Right now attention is on France and the terror siege that gripped Paris and the surrounding area.  How should I respond?  What should I do?

I am not anyone important.  I am a middle-aged working mother who lives in the heartland of the United States.  Nonetheless, there are organizations I can align myself with.  I can participate in social media.  I can write a blog (thank you for reading this, by the way!).  What I thought I should do is link to the various organizations I am aligned with, and tell their stories.  In this small way I am standing with those who are suffering, and hope that someone will stand with me.  Who will stand with me?

Vision for Israel (humanitarian aid)

Dry Bones campaign to Help Fight Antisemitism

International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (humanitarian aid)

Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation (scholarly activities)

Knesset Christian Allies Caucus (government)

Eagles Wings

The Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem

Caroline Glick (journalist)

Bridges for Peace

Hebrew for Christians

Hope Positive Africa (empowering women)

World Vision

…and there are many more organizations and individuals who are doing remarkable things to stand and ease the pain of those who are suffering.  The needs are enormous, but any little bit we can do helps.

My New Year’s Resolution–To Be Content

Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good.

These are the words of Israel’s wisest king, King Solomon.  The Book of Ecclesiastes is his reflections about all he learned in life.  At least it is my understanding that King Solomon is the author.  There are different thoughts about who penned these words, but I like to think it was King Solomon as he, when he was given the opportunity from God to ask for anything, asked for wisdom.  I like to think that he experienced everything people typically want to experience, and within this book of wisdom, he reveals the greatest lessons he learned.  In many of his observations about human life he declares that the efforts of mankind are ultimately vain, empty, meaningless–a mere chasing after the wind.  So, of all the things that he observed and experienced, what was the one thing he saw that was truly good?

It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life.

The ultimate good that man can experience is to be content with who he is, what he has, and what he does.  To recognize that his lot in life was sovereignly planned, and that God has a reason and a purpose for all life.

Usually at this time of year, I think about what I want to accomplish in the upcoming New Year, and I write down some goals.  I start planning how I will accomplish those goals and imagining what it will feel like when those goals are realized.  Last year my goal was to finish a half marathon in under three hours.  Didn’t happen.  I did finish a half marathon, but due to cramping and spasms in my right calf muscle, I had to walk the final four miles, and I finished in 3 hours and 15 minutes.  So, do I beat myself up about not reaching my goal?  No.  Did I fail.  NO!  I’m not going to quibble about 15 minutes.  And, yes, I have some running goals in mind for 2015, but I decided that there is something much more important for me focus on this year–contentment.

I, more than anything, want to find a way to remain in a state of happiness and satisfaction with who I am, what I’m doing, and to recognize all that God is doing in the present and to realize that my life and everything and everyone in it are a gift from Him.  I want to be aware of all the wonderful things God is doing in and through my life, right now.  I don’t want to miss living in the present.

To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life–this is indeed a gift from God.  God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past [or worry about the future].–Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 (italics mine)

What a concept!  To be busy just enjoying life.  That’s what I want most.

life is good co

Bittersweet: Thoughts and Reflections on 2014

Bittersweet.  That’s how I would describe this past year.  The year started out with some very stressful and challenging situations, but we are ending on a much sweeter note, and we are hopeful for better things in 2015.

We faced some very challenging events this year.  In February I went the ER with a pounding heart and extreme dizziness.  At this same time, we were beginning therapy with our son for his behavior issues.  As we explored his behavior issues deeper, we made the painful discovery that he is on the autism spectrum.

In ensuing months, my health improved, and, through God’s leading, we found the right people to help our son.  I transitioned from working half-days to a new full-time job so that my husband can focus his full attention on our son’s therapy and homeschooling.  Our daughter started full day pre-Kindergarten.  Lots of good changes.

As I think about the concept of bittersweet, I remember the traditions of the Passover Seder involving maror and the charoset.  The maror is the bitter herbs, usually horseradish, that is scooped onto a piece of matzah and eaten.  It’s supposed to be a painful experience that brings tears and coughing and gagging.  Later in the meal, the sweet charoset (a mixture of apples, nuts, and wine) is scooped onto matzah.  Everyone likes this part of the meal as it is a reminder of the hope for good things ahead.  I always heard that the charoset represents the mortar used by the Hebrew slaves to make bricks for Pharaoh; however, in the article I linked (click on the word charoset above), the author points out that in the Talmud, the charoset actually represents the blood of the paschal lamb, thus the addition of wine into the mixture.  One of the most meaningful parts of the Seder meal is when you take a piece of matzah and scoop some maror and then top it with charoset…a mixture of the bitter and the sweet…to remember two things:

  1. Even in the most joyous ocassions, we should remember those who are suffering, and
  2. When we suffer, there is hope!

Right now my family is celebrating Hanukkah.  Tonight is the 7th night.  7 represents completion, and tomorrow’s 8th night represents a new beginning.  What a wonderful way to enter into our Christmas celebration!  Commemorating the birth of our Savior, our Paschal Lamb, who shed His blood to take away the bitterness of death, sin, and shame, and to give us abundant life, righteousness, and confidence in the presence of God.

As we enter into 2015, I am determined to lay down the bitterness and pain so that I can embrace the sweetness of hope for a bright and glorious future.


Why Do I Blog?

While scrolling through the site, I discovered they were offering a free two-week course on the basics of blogging.  I thought it would be fun, and I’m looking forward to what I can learn so I can figure out a direction for my current blog.  This is the first assignment–to consider what it is that I want to accomplish with my blog and to develop goals.


My first blog, Next Year: A Marathon was for a specific purpose.  I needed a tool to keep me accountable to fulfill my goal of completing a marathon.  That blog chronicled my journey from running my first mile to crossing the marathon finish line.  Now that goal is complete, so I started a new blog, this blog, with the lofty purpose of having a place to unload my brain.  I don’t really have a specific goal in mind.  It is on my bucket list to someday write a book, but now is not the time.  Blogging gives me a place to unleash my thoughts and ease my mind.  I don’t really have a need for an audience, I’m not trying to impress anyone, but I sincerely appreciate when someone reads what I write, and it’s even nicer when someone puts in that extra effort to click “Like.”  There is tremendous power in the “Like,” and comments are worth their weight in gold.

For years I scribbled in spiral notebooks, and those notebooks are in boxes or up on shelves collecting dust.  Awhile ago I pulled down some of those notebooks and skimmed through them.  There were things I wrote years ago that were powerful.  It was hard to believe that I was the person who wrote them…it was as if the words of my past were teaching me a lesson for my present situation.  I really wanted a place to store the things I wrote and an easy method to retrieve them.  Blogging helps me organize my thoughts.  Blogging gives me an outlet to speak.  It gives me a voice whether anybody is listening or not.  It’s a place I can let my thoughts be known, because you will likely not find me engaging in verbal debate.

My dream blog would have a size-able audience of people who enjoy my writing, are inspired by what I have to say, and who can relate to me.  I would love to see the comments section filled with encouraging words from my readers who allow me the honor of encouraging them reciprocally.

My goals for this blog:

  • To post weekly.
  • To write to express my thoughts rather than impress potential readers.
  • To subscribe to and participate by commenting on five other blogs.

So, pretty basic, these goals of mine.