Owning it

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And that about sums up where my heart is at. I’ve been praying for protection as I process through and ‘own’ my story, my hurt, my feelings, my life.

I remember having an appointment with a christian counselor in my teens, where he said to me that my healing would be easier if my Dad was dead. That my heart was full of scar tissue and every time he does something that hurts me, it re-opens up a scar and I have to grieve the loss of the Dad that I want so much and that he will never be. It hurts. It would just be easier….

Would it be easier?

Where there is life, there is hope.

And yet, I am continuing my silent treatment towards him in an effort to protect myself and to embrace this season in my life as one of healing and letting go of all the extra weights I’ve been carrying… all of the pain and bitterness that belongs to others and isn’t mine to carry anymore. I have been working through so much… it’s just a slow filtering process.

The grieving process takes the time and effort it takes. It can’t be hurried.

My mother was talking to me last week about my weight loss and referred to 10 pounds a month. I informed her that I haven’t had a 10lb/1month loss for months now. I average over 4 lbs per month but that’s it. I blame my hypothyroid. And as she has not bothered to research hypothyroidism, her solution to my not losing enough weight fast enough is to simply cut more calories. Not going to happen. My program is working, just slower than anyone other than my doctor would like. What I did say was that because my GP strongly stated 2lbs/month is the maximum, I do feel a bit rebellious and successful with my 4+lbs/month.

The process can’t be hurried. Not safely, not effectively for the long-term life-change that I am determined to implement.

All of these changes and little deaths and I have entered into one huge grieving process that few understand. (Maybe I’m not giving enough people credit here… but I have been keeping my process so tightly guarded from most because of the little deaths that are involved. Most people couldn’t handle my grieving process well when our daughter died – and as they couldn’t behave properly then, I have no confidence in their emotional intelligence required for this either. That was much more straight-forward. And while I accept and hope for people to grow and change and become better versions of themselves, I just don’t want to test that out on my heart right now. I am learning a different kind of wisdom / discernment in this.)

Owning my story is forging my path through a place I’ve never been before.

It is just a struggle to keep it my story. To remain separate. To guard my heart. To keep that boundary fence up. To keep the gate closed. To keep my scar tissue healing until there is no more danger of being torn open.

 

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I do not need fixing

I have a fixer in my life. She attends our church and sees herself as a mother figure but has not the mothering personality traits that I appreciate most. Nurturing, gentle, tenderhearted … those are traits that I identify with in spiritual mothering types. She is encouraging but in a problem-solving way; very down to earth and practical; bursting with advice, criticism, and a defensiveness of sorts. I have tried to just be myself around her, taking off the masks and letting her in a little, but I dread the fixing that has always happened after I let her in. Boundaries are an issue… or wouldn’t I feel more comfortable?

I’m not sure what will come about of my latest attempt at not wearing my mask plastered tight against my face to protect myself, but I am already experiencing her need to fix me. It’s not that she wants me to wear a mask, just that she doesn’t trust God’s process to bring about what He purposes for me, in His time and ways.

In all of my relationships with boundary issues, I have been working at pushing them away to deal with their own business while I work through mine. I want them fixed, but I don’t want to be involved in their process. They don’t seem to see the work that they need to take responsibility for, and instead, they want everyone around them to adapt to their needs. I can’t do that.

I’m tired of being given advice that disregards the physical component of anxiety and depression; that doesn’t trust the process I’m in; that expects more than I can give.

Can you see me? Can you see that God is speaking to me? The suffering, pain, anger… these are little storms in His hands.

Little Storms Lullaby

Peace, be still.

The winds will hush and the waves will calm.

The boat will glide across the water.

Peace, be still.

No need to fret, no need to cry.

We will arrive across the water.

These are little storms in His hands.

These are little storms in His hands.

Peace, be still.

Being broken-hearted isn’t something beyond God’s ability to fix. I don’t need to force anything in this. God will heal me. He is healing me. When others try to fix me, I withdraw while simultaneously trying to be honest and validating of whatever facts I can be – but the problem is that I react negatively afterward. If I could push back in the moment, it would be more stressful, but more honest.

I don’t need fixing by others. I just need to be given the time and space to work through things with God at my own pace. The miles will pass by, but we’re only taking one step at a time.

Pounding Fence Posts

Metaphorically Speaking: It takes more time and effort to put in fence posts, than to pull them out. However, we musn’t forget that the one putting them in holds the hammer. My mantra today is: “I hold the hammer!” Healthy boundaries are hard work to put and keep in place, especially when you have to keep pounding the same posts in, again and again. I’m not sure that I’m getting any better at this, but I am determined to put that fence up and keep it standing. Thankfully, I have the encouragement and support of others to cheer me on. ‘Love and prayers’… that might seem like a platitude, meaningless drivel, but for me, in this, they are the nails and barbed wire that keep my land inside the fence, strong, free, and protected. And perhaps they will keep my post-puller from being able to pull out any more of my posts.

Such was my social media post yesterday.

After my Dad’s open heart surgery, he is back to his old ways and I am back to trying to figure out if I want to continue having any relationship with him. Deep inside, of course I do. There are some things about my Dad that I really do appreciate. I’m just not sure that I have the strength to strain out all of the garbage that gets mixed in. It reminds me of panning for gold. We learned how a couple summers ago. We had to fill a bucket up with dirt and gravel; then take it to the water and pan through it, the majority of the bucket was nothing, but then, at the bottom of our pans, we would find a few gold flakes. (And we got to keep whatever we found – within reason of course – if a huge nugget had been found – I’m not sure what our awesome host would have done! 😀 ) I loved the washing and swirling and mystery and anticipation of finding those gold pieces. It was hard for me to leave! But this? This wading through my Dad’s authoritative, manipulative, bitter, attempts to control through emotional appeals… I just can’t stomach it right now.

So, I’m back to the silent treatment as it is the safest tool I have to use with him. Passive-aggressive, yes, but safe.

My dear RPW (retired pastor’s wife) friend’s funeral was on Saturday. It was good and hard and I hope to go visit the husband and sons next week with my pastor-husband.

I’ve been working on the Bible Study and it has been such a good way to refocus my resources – instead of just staying angry with my Dad. Yesterday, when everything had blown up, I sensed God telling me to just focus on my purpose. This was a distraction and I needed to carry on with what He had called me to do. I felt such strength in that and writing that now, feel the strength returning. If God is calling me to focus and not get distracted by all of this extra stress… that is exactly what I need to do. I don’t know how to love  my Dad right now except from a distance.

If I had to write a letter to myself, I would say: You are strong. I see that you love your Dad but this is so complicated and it’s okay to step back and take care of the people and purposes that God has given you. God will take care of your Dad. God will also take care of you. It’s okay to ask God to protect you from your Dad. He isn’t to be trusted. He can’t be. You can’t be expected to trust him fully as he has failed so many times in this area. It’s also okay to not want to correct him. I get that you don’t want to treat him like he’s a child. I understand how complicated it is to set boundaries when you are trying to be sensitive to your parents. It takes so much energy out of you to have to keep pounding those boundary posts in. It takes so much energy to explain how you think or feel about anything to your parents who don’t take the time to know you. You feel dismissed and disrespected, unloved and treated with less sensitivity than you show to them and the inbalance of what you give them by listening and what they do by not listening, it gets to be too much. You have to fight so hard for your voice. For your feelings. For your separateness. What does it look like to love your children in healthy ways? To let them live their lives without smothering them or pushing them away? Where is that healthy balance? It feels complicated with how you were raised in an abusive environment where you felt mostly invisible and not valued for the amazing, beautiful, talented, and precious child of God that you are. Love, Yourself.

I’ve decided to embrace my preciousness. To speak life to myself. It feels slightly crazy to do this on my blog – but after the insanity of emails and feeling stifled on social media due to my family members that have access to me there, this is the fastest way for me to process. (and when I’m upset, I can type much faster than I can write in my journals)

I can rise above the distractions. I can keep writing the Bible study. I can teach my children and  love my husband and care for my family. I can find comfort and understanding from some in my church family.

A long time ago, I talked with God about developing self-control — the fruit of the Spirit that I feel I lack the most in – and here we are. I have been exercising some self-control with regards to my weightloss; and now in committing myself to continue writing what God has led me to write. I don’t know how authors who are mothers with children living at home, manage to find the time and remain disciplined to start and finish a book. I am finding that because I knew God had called me to start working on this last year, and I started but then took time away to get other projects done and allowed myself to be distracted (which still accomplished things in my mind and heart as I worked through related thoughts), that in returning whole-heartedly, I am determined and trying to work on it as daily as I can. I do take days off, but am working on it as much I can. Somedays, I need to step back just to think about it and read for research. I am always ready to return to the project. It has been coming together much easier than I expected it to.  I think that I’m finally learning some self-control, but it isn’t about deprivation, it is about committing to do what God has called me to do and being filled with the Spirit to accomplish it. I love that God is teaching me in this way.

Pounding fence posts… a necessary work in order to be all and do all that God has planned.

Hard Days: We Meet Others in the Middle of the Story

My Dad survived his open-heart surgery, with a few complications during and after, earlier this week.  I’ve been processing through much emotion and just letting the stress flow through me – like a saturated sponge in the ocean that can’t absorb anything more, but still is permeable, and ends up filtering whatever is flowing through the currents. I’ve been filtering and too full to say or do anything more.

And then yesterday I received the news that my dear RPW (Retired Pastor’s Wife sister-friend) had passed away in the morning. (You can read about our friendship here.)

We meet others in the middle of the story.

Our stories are begun long before we are born. The genetics needed for our specific stories are gathered up centuries before and will be carried along by our descendants – time immemorial in either direction.

No one remembers the former generations,
    and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
    by those who follow them.

Ecclesiastes 1:11

We’re somewhere there in the middle of it all. In the middle of the stories of births and deaths, we enter into this world and are like the spark of a new star lighting the heavens: we change those nearest us and are sometimes noticed by those looking from afar. Our entrance into the story is planned, purposed, and so will our exit be.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

 a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

And somewhere, in the middle of those times, we begin and end.

 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.  He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 

Ecclesiastes 3:10,11

I’ve received all of the gifts that my dear RPW could give me while she lived and consider them all gifts for the present and future. She challenged me to carve out time each day to spend with God; to think and struggle with challenges; to pray and pray and pray some more; to give generously; to love openly – choosing to see others in desperate need of God’s love and having a warm heart to those who are on the fringes; to make time to go on dates and enjoy your spouse completely; to build others up; to endearingly love your children; to hug others often; to see the potential in others and mentor them into maturity or at least to mentor them with what life lessons you have received, trusting that God will do the polishing; to listen; to memorize scripture; that being passionate is acceptable; to know Jesus as a life-long friend; to trust God to provide; to give hugs; to be honest; to rest; to prioritize; to support your husband in his calling; to do battle on behalf of others and yourself; that during times of prayer – one can be at peace with God in His presence and be carried, kept, consoled, comforted, strengthened, encouraged, emboldened to continue on with Him into the demands of the day, as He leads.

And so, though her ability to directly impact my day with a phone call or taking me out for lunch or coming over for a visit with her husband, is no longer possible, her influence on my story shapes what follows. Her story is continued through my story and all of the other stories of those whose lives she touched. The light and love from her life well-lived will continue on through the dark nights, as the starlight from stars long burnt out still shines. Love is not swallowed up in the darkness of death. Love shines on and on and on…

Psalm 112: 1-9

Praise the Lord.

Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
    who find great delight in his commands.

Their children will be mighty in the land;
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in their houses,
    and their righteousness endures forever.                                                                                     Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
    for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
    who conduct their affairs with justice.

Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
    they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
    in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,
    their righteousness endures forever;
    their horn will be lifted high in honor.

 

We meet in the middle of our stories, written into our places within the pages of the Story of the Ages.

We will see each other again in the end.

Because He Lives.

 

Afraid to Break

Gracefully Broken

 

Gracefully Broken

This is the beautiful heart-cry song that I started writing with this afternoon. The thought of being ‘gracefully broken’ is one of those bitter-sweet musings… how God can use the hard circumstances in life that break us to bring about good.

I’ve been thinking on where my church leadership journey has been and where I am now. I’m not even talking about being a pastor’s wife. That is separate and certainly a part, but God isn’t boxing me in with that role. Being a pastor’s wife gives a type of influence, but is also restrictive. I’m thinking about being a 12 year old girl who started playing piano for church services. I’m remembering being a 14 year old teenager who not only played piano, but worked in the nursery with the babies and toddlers; jr. church with the preschoolers; and still played piano – giving me 1 Sunday a month where I didn’t have to do anything extra to serve and could just sit. I remember being a Vacation  Bible School helper and then teacher. I remember being mentored by strong, Christian women in my church over the years. Bible studies, worship teams, conferences, seminars, services, meetings, lessons, all contributed to my education and faith in God.

It wasn’t enough to keep me from rebelling and choosing my own path as a young adult. It doesn’t keep me in some perfect state of christianity now.

I have to choose it.

And through my years of being a pastor’s wife (coming up 17 years), I have had a lot of breaking experiences. Breakings that I didn’t choose. Breakings that tested my faith, caused me to doubt my husband’s calling as a pastor, and tore apart a lot of relationships.

My reconstruction of broken pieces is taking a long time. It’s a lifetime really. God, piecing me together, has smoothed rough edges, thinned out bitter thicknesses, layered up the too-easily hurt openings, shaved off the ugly bits, replacing everything that isn’t reflecting His image. I will continue to be perfected through His gentle, loving, strong, hands.

I love God as my Father.

I struggle with my earthly father.

Are we allowed to struggle to love others as Christians? Our friends, neighbors, parents, siblings, the horrible driver, the irritating co-worker, …? To say anything other than ‘yes’ would be disingenuous.

I’ve been reading through L.M. Montgomery’s, ‘Anne’ series of books. We are currently in, ‘Anne of the Island’ and Gilbert has proposed for the first time and Anne has turned him down. She isn’t ready, even though it’s clear to everyone that they are meant for each other. She has an ideal in her head of how things are supposed to be and some foggy image of what perfection in a mate looks like and her ideal and her reality are just not on the same page.

My fathers are not on the same page.

These are the cards I’ve been dealt. I don’t have to understand them but I do have to come to some sort of acceptance of the reality of them. I don’t have to blow up my wall of healthy, defensive, boundaries that protect me from my dad’s mental illness. I can accept that this is what I need in order to be safe.

Perhaps my biggest struggle is that if my Dad passes away, there will be no more chances to redeem the painful memories of the past. I’ll just be left with what has been and is.

When my Dad was sending me a quick email while waiting for the ambulance to come get him, he listed the most important memories to him of our times together. They were few and brief, all from my childhood, and included some bitterness he still holds against my mother, but they were the words that he wanted to say to me, ‘just in case…’

My Dad loves me so imperfectly.

Mirror: I love him imperfectly too.

I wish that it was different, but mental illness and bad choices and bad memories and sin all separate, divide, disintegrate.

This is a perfect moment to be ‘gracefully broken’.

But I’m afraid to break.

Again.

I’m afraid of anger taking over – resentment against God, against my Dad, against anyone that is connected with making my Dad who he is…. I’m afraid of bitterness building up into a raging fire of uncontrollable proportions.

and just saying all of that is such a release

poison that turns into a truth serum and becomes a harmless, salty tear

Take all I have in these hands
And multiply, God, all that I am
And find my heart on the altar again
Set me on fire, set me on fire
Oh, take all I have in these hands
And multiply, God, all that I am
And find my heart on the altar again
Set me on fire, set me on fire
Here I am, God
Arms wide open
Pouring out my life
Gracefully broken
My heart stands in awe of Your name
Your mighty love stands strong to the end
You will fulfill Your purpose for me
You won’t forsake me, You will be with me
Here I am, God
Arms wide open
Pouring out my life
Gracefully broken
Pouring out my life again
Here I am, God
Arms wide open
Pouring out my life
Gracefully broken
Oh, gracefully
All to Jesus now
All to Jesus now
Holding nothing back
Holding nothing back
I surrender
I surrender
I surrender
I surrender
Here I am, God
Arms wide open (here I am, here I am)
Pouring out my life
Gracefully broken
Here I am, God
With my arms wide open (with my arms wide open)
Pouring out my life 
Gracefully broken, oh
Your power and work in me
I’m broken gracefully
I’m strong when I am weak
I will be free
Your power and work in me
I’m broken gracefully
I’m strong when I am weak
I will be free, yeah
Your power and work in me (work in me)
I’m broken gracefully (broken gracefully)
(I’m strong when I am weak)
I will be free (I will be free)
Your power and work in me
Are gonna work in me (I’m broken gracefully)
I’m strong, I’m strong
I will be free
Your power and work in me (your work in me)
I’m broken gracefully (I’m so broken)
I’m strong when I am weak (I’m strong)
I will be free
Your power and work in me
I’m broken gracefully (I’m broken gracefully)
I’m strong when I am weak
I will be free
Here I am, God
Arms wide open
Pouring out my life
Gracefully broken
Songwriters: Natasha Tameika Cobbs Leonard / Jonas Carl Gustaf Myrin / Matthew James Redman / Bryan James Torwalt / Katelin Michelle Torwalt
Gracefully Broken lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group

Open Heart Surgery

I found out that my Dad is going to be having open heart surgery this week sometime. I have no idea if I will get a phone call after it is done to let me know that he is okay, or if I will just need to wait to find out. Maybe my brother, the ‘murse’ (male nurse) will be the one on the ‘to-call’ list and maybe he will let me know. One thing I do know, my Dad will be in a special care facility for the 5-6 weeks post-op recovery. I am so, so, SO very relieved about that. I had been having visions of trying to overcome my anxiety to fly by myself to the city where he is and then transport him and myself to his home and then figure out how to take care of everything there for weeks or months. It was a nightmare in the making. My chest tightenings were back in full force yesterday over it all.

What a relief that I don’t have to worry anymore.

I had told my pastor-husband last night that if I had more heart constrictions today, I would increase my anxiety medication up a bit again. (I’ve been titrating down the amount, but am thinking that I may need to go from my current 50% of the original dose up to 75%.)  I may still need to do that as my ruminating has been increased since moving down to 50%. And my cravings for carbs has increased. Sigh. Yucky side effects vs. less anxiety and easier weight loss journey. I don’t know yet. But moving up to 75% for this week might be the smart way to handle the extra stress with my Dad’s health situation.

I’ve been trying to push away the urge to think about why I’ve been so worked up over my Dad’s health. I’m afraid to investigate my feelings too much. I’m too afraid of losing emotional control. Maybe I’ll talk about it more next time.

Starting a Fire with Wet Wood

It isn’t that our wood is completely wet or snow covered … just that not all of it is completely cured.

I had my 15 year old son starting the fire in our fireplace this morning. It just wouldn’t keep going. I took over and rebuilt and restarted it several times. The sizzling told me that likely all 3 pieces of birch weren’t cured completely.

Several pieces of newsprint and matches later, along with some kindling, and my fire has been holding strong and steady for the last 15 minutes. I hope that it lasts this time.

My life lesson from this applies to my difficult relationships.

Sometimes, I just need to let them cure a bit longer before I try again.

I recently had a positive experience with a difficult relationship person, but only time will tell if we have moved past the difficulty or not. She is not cured but I hope that enough time and distance has been between us that perhaps a healthy boundary has formed. As much as I dislike shallow relationships, there are times when keeping conversation on the surface keeps you both afloat. If we delve into the depths of reality, someone is going to drown – and I’m doing everything I can to ensure that it isn’t me. How to love someone who is difficult to love, without crossing healthy boundaries…. this is the million dollar question I have no answer for.

My emails with my Dad, who is currently in hospital and may now need a bypass, are short stents, keeping our communication open as we wait and see. I am wondering if I should be flying to where he is or just staying put. This may require connecting with my brother (a nurse) to discuss. I just don’t know and am fine with taking my time to figure it out. For now, he is being looked after well and I’m not sure what I could do for him at this point. This relationship is still ‘curing’.

I am reminded of a story in the Bible of Elijah and the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18). The wet wood in this case was only started by an act of God. My difficult relationships require Divine Intervention as well.

Feet in the Water

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. … For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…” Isaiah 43:2,3

God often speaks to me through pictures when I pray. At last night’s prayer meeting, I was given a series of pictures that I’m still learning the meanings of, but one personal interpretation given to me last night by another, was that I am on a progressive (positive) journey.

Lovely thought and definitely in keeping with all that I am currently focusing on – especially my current spiritual-heart journey.

After pushing aside the Bible Study that God called me to begin over a year ago, I knew that I had to get back to working on it again in earnest. It was nice to have the perculating time of the past year, but honestly, with all the messages bombarding me to get going on what God has purposed and called me to do throughout the year-plus, it was a tremendous relief to get to work. I hope to be able to start facilitating the study either mid-March or the beginning of April with a small group. I am waiting on my husband to know if it will be just ladies or open to men as well. God must lead this completely and (as much as submission does not come naturally for me AT ALL, lol) I have to submit to my pastor-husband in this matter. 🙂

Other changes in my journey have to do with my relationships with my divorced parents. To sum up that quickly, I have internet searches such as, “boundaries with parents”; “Toxic parents”; “mentally ill parents”; “narcissistic parents”; “daughters of psychopaths” … and other related topics.

I had been giving my Dad The Silent Treatment (TST) after a summer of incidents that were difficult. I decided to reply to him after his very nice email to me on my birthday at the end of December. We had been patching things up quite well this month, but then he wanted to discuss the summer ickyness and though I was able to be honest, he didn’t like my honesty. I was all prepared to go TST with him again (internet searches: “divorcing your parents” and the repercussions of that option were considered briefly); but after my weekend away from the computer, I had a series of emails piling up from him, informing me that his heart had been acting up and he had been taken by ambulance to an area hospital, then taken to a larger area hospital, and that he is going to be transported to an even larger hospital out of his area today.

It’s rather difficult to continue to be silent in this particular circumstance.

So, we are still on speaking terms, though I am much more guarded.

I won’t be going to see him in hospital anytime soon as 1. I would have to fly out of province to get there; and 2. I don’t think that his health is at a deathly serious place.

So, I am just waiting and wondering what God is going to do with my Dad. And me.

I don’t think that softening up my boundaries with him, just because his health is a bit precarious, is healthy for me. I must continue on my path of health for myself and that means, letting go of the toxic and keeping this relationship in as healthy of a place as I can manage.

I won’t even begin to discuss the complicated relationship I have with my mother except to say that healthy boundaries are necessary there as well.

I am definitely on a path of cleansing, healing, refreshing, freedom – from all that has been weighing me down, literally and figuratively. (-39lbs and counting!!! Praise God!) And with every shrinking pound and giving away of too-big clothes, I can feel myself becoming “more me”. It isn’t that my larger self isn’t me – but just that I am becoming unhidden. My most honest-true self is being revealed, stepping out of the layers and layers of all that binds, hinders, ties, imprisions, tethers, drags, weighs, suffocates, slows, burdens, sickens, destroys, injures, disfigures, cloaks, hides, darkens … a visible, invisible cocoon of weakness of body, soul, and spirit that must be shed for the metamorphic transformation into greater freedom, life, health, joy, light, healing, movement, of my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wholeness and beauty.

Part of this journey involves trusting myself. Trusting myself and what God is saying to me over the well-meaning but grating, ‘nails-on-chalkboard’ voices of others who I interpret as controlling, hurting, beating down, yelling over, disregarding, minimizing, invalidating, as they quietly scream lies into my soul. “I know better. I know what is best for you, your family. I know you better than you know yourself. You should….”

But God, who created and formed me, says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, (Cherished One, Beloved); you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

God uses the imperfect, stone-hard, womb of life-circumstances, as a mortar and pestle, grinding and crushing down the outer shells to reveal the sweetness within.

In new ways, I am choosing to yield to the revelation.

Liebster (beloved) Blog Award

Thank you to Gail at gaillovesgod for the lovely Leibster blog award nomination!

I can manage the question-answer bit today and will try to fulfill the other obligations as time permits. 🙂

1. How did you hear about WordPress?

I had a blog for a number of years on Blogger. After taking a break from that, and after having made it private and not really feeling like opening it up again to the public, I decided to try out WordPress. I had heard positive reviews about using it and although I am taking my time in making it my own space (I can’t seem to figure out the best format for my style yet), I do enjoy being here.
2. How old were you when you used the computer for the first time?

Does the big washing-machine-sized math computer in elementary school count? If so, I was about 7 or 8. The next time I used a computer was in typing class in junior high school – they had just switched from electric typewriters to computers the year or two before. I was back to an electric typewriter in high school for typing class. Finally, in college, I began to use computers on a regular basis.
3. Is this your first Liebster Award?

Yes!
4. Do you know how to cook? What’s your best recipe,

I love to cook. Picking a favorite recipe is really difficult… I’ll just choose my favorite salad dressing recipe. (Created & Called’s Creamy Orange Dressing: 1 orange, zest the orange peel; put into the measuring cup that you want to mix up the dressing in. Juice the orange, adding the orange juice to the measuring cup. (I just juice directly into a 2 cup measuring cup as that size works well with my lemon juicer strainer thingy.) Add 4 Tbsp sugar; Add 2 Tbsp vinegar. Add Mayo – whatever thickness you prefer. I use about 1/2 c but never measure it out precisely. I just like it creamy (so I use Hellman’s) and if the dressing is too runny, I add a bit more. Mix well. Pour over any salad greens or broccoli salad or coleslaw… I always get rave reviews when I serve a salad with this dressing. Let me know what you think if you make it!)
5. What season is it where you live?

It is currently very much Winter. (my favorite season.)
6. Do you like Candy Canes?

Only the ones that are flavored something interesting like orange. Or strawberry. Or cinnamon. I am not a mint candy cane kind of gal, despite growing up with that as the option. I remember when Spearmint candy canes came out – what a novelty! I much prefer spearmint to peppermint.
7. What’s the first car you’ve ever had?

My first car was a 1989 Chevorlet Corsica. Red. I loved it.
8. DO you have a pet?

Not currently. OH! other than I do consider the birds that come to my feeder to be “mine”. I love watching them and photographing them. Easiest “pets” ever!
9. What’s your favorite hymn?

I have too many favorites to name so am going to just go with the one that I’ve been singing the most in the shower for the past 2 weeks: “Be Thou My Vision”.
10. What year did you get your first cellphone?

My husband had one for years before I did. I didn’t really need one until we were moving out to the countryside from the city… circa 2007.
11. What’s one of your favorite things about God’s love?

That reminds me of the old Hymn, “The Love of God”…. One of my favorite things about God’s love is how faithful He is. Despite my inabilities, limitations, imperfections, failures … He calls me His Beloved.

Thank you for reading these bits and pieces of trivia about me! 🙂

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