Self Portrait


Whether I like it or not my life is changing.  Things I thought were sure are in question.  And as the pieces come together I see a different image than I’d anticipated.  Perhaps anticipating was my unfortunate choice.

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Wish Upon A Memory


Longing


I close my eyes and center myself. When I awaken, opening my inner eyes, I am lying on a warm beach, gazing up at a star filled night, feeling the tide wash over my body like a lover’s caress. Where is the one with whom I could share the silent touches and sparkling gazes…insights at a glance, comforted and aroused by the wholeness of our beings…experiencing the silent synergy…

My Thoughts on Christians Proclaiming “Truth”


In recent days I have been enjoying a new social site based on the Christian faith.  I am a Christian, which is why I categorize certain ideas under the heading The Jesus Journals…no brainer, right?   The label of “Christian” was one I wrestled with for awhile.  There has been so much damage done through hypocrisy and just plain harsh critical conversation.  I want people to experience my heart and not be put off by my label.   At this stage of the journey the burden of trying to stay unlabeled is just as great as being labeled so…as the doctor in the television series  Becker remarks (something to the effect of),” it is alright for you to choose not to like me.  Just do it for the right reasons” —not predisposed because of a label.

That ranting behind me, I’ll get to the core of my thought process.  I’ve read a few things about various  “New Age” stuff put out on instructional forums, and while the historical information given can sometimes even be admirably respectful  and unbiased….when it comes time to present the answer of whether something is permissible for the follower of Christ things start to get dicey because judgment and divisive bias enter stage right.

Since this is a very personal thing, I’m not always sure that we can give people the limits of our understanding of truth…becoming judgmental towards those who don’t live inside the box.  We’re really not supposed to squabble over doctrines.  We are to encourage one another with love by the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self control) and live according to the love chapter of 1 Corinthians 12.

Even without these instructions…we are to love our neighbors (those we like and those we don’t) as we love ourselves and do unto others as we’d have them do unto us (not as they actually do unto us).   That along with loving the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, strength, etc. fulfills the intent of the law.  All the do’s and don’ts of law are summed up and remedied by these concise exhortations.  Yet I, like every human being, fall short of this goal frequently.  That’s why it’s important to be humble and repent.

So why do those who preach the good news and try to share this love keep ranting about how everyone besides their flavor of Christian system is doing it wrong?  I think it’s pretty straight forward…are we following the example of Jesus…all other documents filtered through His life’s example and teaching, or are we adding our own control mechanisms and agendas to the mix?  Of course we want to bring the healing and heart rebirth that results from giving our lives to Jesus in an act of faith.  That’s like delicate surgery though.  It’s open heart surgery.  Yet we treat it as though it’s a deconstruction and reconstruction process.

In everything it is important to find our common ground and work toward understanding one another, and then to begin the dialogue.  Laying out criticism and schism produces negative results.  Even those who may follow out of fear often wind up following after other things eventually because they’ve been hurt so badly when they expected to be loved.

We can’t throw out the baby with the bath water.  (The bath water being those habits that harm ourselves and others) When it comes to this New Age title that I hear tossed about like it was a hot potato that no one wants to be stuck with in the Christian conversation,  lets remember that God is communicating through every way possible, especially in these times.  Quantum science is discovering things about God’s creation that was boundless mystery before.  We share things in common with people, whether they believe as we do to the letter or not.   Hello Christians…we share with every religious system the reality of being loved by our Creator.   Experience (and please avoid jumping to the phrase “relativity”) is part of the relationship process.  Everyone’s journey is relative to their proximity to whatever intimacy (or lack thereof)  they have in relationship with God.   Being in meaningful relationship with Jesus (he’s not dead)is possible relative to the heart’s disposition.  Let’s use language to help us make progress rather than slaughter that which we might not understand or have had narrowly focused training in.  The fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is already in us.  I think that may be one reason the Bible encourages us to come and reason together rather than come and condemn others together.  We’re saved to share love by the power of the blood of Christ…blood shed as a sacrifice for our sin.  We are saved to share mercy, compassion, respect and genuine love with everyone, that we might be a light in darkeness which envelopes the human condition.

BTW, a note on living in the light…I was reading yesterday in Ephesians about the Armour of God and found passages exhorting me to turn from works of darkness and be in the light.  Having heard that used in sermons as an ax to slaughter the “pagans”, I went to the original Greek for better understanding, listening for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  I found, quite notably, that it is speaking of us living with integrity…personal integrity…being the love of Christ inwardly and in relation to the world and people around us without displaying  hypocrisy.  (Obviously that’s my own way of wording it).  So before we preach to remove the splinter from the other guy’s eye, we need to make sure that the log in our own is gone…that we see and believe and respond with integrity…after the example of Jesus.

Many men very connected to this world’s system have had their hands all over the translations and distributions of the scriptures.  That’s one good reason to weigh and consider as we read scripture.  It’s also important to remember, as we read our translations, that Jesus didn’t speak English and languages translate strangely at times.  Sometimes it’s man’s best guess as to what the ancient bits and pieces of recovered documents were written to mean.  Even the red letter version of the gospels (although I like that style) can’t convince me that we can, without doubt, know that Jesus said every word verbatim in English.  Let’s reason together.  Let’s let the Holy Spirit do what the Holy Spirit does best…guide us into all truth.

YoYo Mom


My first statement should be that I love being a mother. It’s my first and favorite thing about my life.
My second statement is, that along with the joy, there is pain.
My teenage daughter doesn’t hand in her makeup work (after being reminded three times by a patient teacher), and suddenly I am not even acknowledged as a living presence in the house because I had to bring it to her attention.
The fact is, I wasn’t the only one talking to her about it. My husband actually received the email and together he and I spoke with her about it. Together, we arrived at a reasonable response…so to whom did she speak for the duration of that morning?  Her father, of course.
My older daughters weren’t living with me during their high school years. One stayed in Texas to finish high school with her friends while we had to move back home. The other is my step daughter who lived with her mother. So this is my first full immersion.

The labor pains of birth are very difficult. I gave birth five time, only twice with anesthesia. So, I know a bit about this. Guiding one’s child through high school and into their life beyond is like a long arduous labor. It’s giving birth all over again.

In conclusion, I will state firmly that it is in every way a worthwhile and valuable experience. And even if my emotions are treated like someone’s personal yoyo from time to time…motherhood is still the favorite thing I love about life.

Where is forgiveness in the world? (a personal rant)


Has it ever occurred to anyone that we all make mistakes? Errors in judgment caused by fear, ignorance, or just plain stubbornness, or even hurt feelings…

Owning up to one’s lapses in integrity is certainly a step in the right direction for anyone. And can’t we all find compassion to help us forgive, based on recollections of our own weakness and human frailty?

Humility is key to reconciliation and love is a choice we make. Listening to (or reading about) people criticizing and nitpicking one another’s posts and comments makes me wonder, at times, if there’s hope of getting through to anyone.

Then, from time to time, one runs across someone who seems to get it. Who seems to understand the whole “love your neighbor as yourself” idea…even when that means one has to remember that one’s neighbor isn’t as perfect as we might think we are. Because we’re not really perfect…any of us.

If we love those who love us and show mercy to those who show mercy to us than we’re like everyone else. The one of true virtue will extend such consideration to strangers and enemies and those who, in their humanity, goofed it up.

A Little Taste of Normal


Having a child home from school, either due to illness or weather, has become the norm since Christmas. Today there’s a little bit of “normal” seeping back into life in the form of Haileigh. She’s the baby I watch while her mom is finishing high school. There is such peace in holding a baby in one’s arms.

Unfortunately she’s in need of breathing treatments, so I’ve learned how to do that this morning. She was very cooperative!
Also, unfortunately, my son is home with a slight fever and cold symptoms. Our daughter is recovering from mono so, I’m praying that he doesn’t have that. Even though it is primarily passed along via saliva, I read on Web MD that mucus also carries the virus to others.  I’ve become a germaphobe! (sp?…not sure that one is in the dictionary yet!)

Anyway, it reminds me of the days of raising these little people and how thankful I am to have done that while I was younger.

Not much to say today. Just sending my thoughts out into the cosmos. Life can turn on a dime, reveal all sorts of inconsistencies, but as long as we persevere with one another in love, forgiving because we remember when we’ve needed forgiveness…life grows and blossoms like the flowers in spring.

Today I see sunshine in the midst of caring for those in need around me. I feel the sunshine coming from the hope within me as I emerge from my cocoon. The challenge of metamorphosis has been relentless…but it’s good in the end. I’m learning to fly.

There’s an old saying I learned as a teenager in youth group…
“Please be patient with me. God is not finished with me yet.” We all need that grace.

Cyberdating My Husband


Yesterday morning my husband and I did something new and interesting…and filled with laughter! We “cyber” dated.

He took me to our local wifi restaurant, along with his laptop computer and our new family laptop computer and we “connected” over coffee and breakfast. I’d never done anything like that and he was kind enough to show me the ropes. (as a homemaker of 29 years I’m a little shy to try these things on my own the first time out)

Our teenage son even got in on the action by IMing me. I responded by saying, “Well hi son! I didn’t see you sitting there!” (groans from the audience…)

I love the play on word game, and I really enjoyed trying to juggle IMing and talking over the computer (literally) to my husband while attempting to consume coffee and grits (still have to eat soft food after the tooth extraction).

I sincerely hope everyone, reading this or not, had a chance to laugh as much as we did yesterday and to fall in love all over again over the computer (or wherever else one was playing)!

Recovery


Not only am I recovering quite well from having two teeth pulled (ref. yesterday’s blog “Second Opinion”), but I also recovered my courage as the events of yesterday unfolded..thanks be to Jesus.

I’ve always been bothered by the notion that when people are saved from harm or spared pain, etc. that it’s an example of God’s faithfulness, which implies that when one must endure pain and hardship something is askew in the God/Human relationship.  I know the Old Testament seems to read that way, but when one examines the subtext a different story unfolds.

As it happened to me in this situation, I was spared pain and given courage for anxiety.  That was indeed a blessing.  But had I endured pain and continued to wrestle with anxiety through the experience, I would still have found God faithful to me because I trust that all things work together for good when one’s heart is devoted to the Lord. (I have had more experience with the latter)

Sometimes praises arise from our hearts because we are elated by  personal victory or just a good mood.  Other times, like David so frequently writes in the Psalms, we bring the sacrifice of praise. This time, I am happy to say that I get to celebrate being delivered from something.  Yea!

Second Opinions


I have found that I am in favor of second opinions.

Last week I visited an oral surgeon who gave me very grave news…many teeth needed to come out.  His office would get a health clearance from my doctor (I’m not in perfect health, unfortunately) and we’d make a treatment plan.

When my husband was advised by a co-worker to get a second opinion, I was a little put out.  I hate going to the dentist and my mouth/face hurts so that I just want to get the stuff over with and feel better!  But, something in me decided not to argue. (I can be quite stubborn….NO!  right?)

As it turned out, the second oral surgeon gave us an entirely different perspective.  It was quite a bit more conservative and sent us back to a dentist, which is where I should have started in the first place.  (the insurance company had advised going straight to the surgeon because of the symptoms)

Now I am scheduled to endure facing down my deep fear, with my high blood pressure in tow, today.  I took my two teenage boys to them for check ups yesterday and the people there are very kind and compassionate in the face of my irrational fear.  They can help my anxiety with chemicals  (i like chemicals…) and we’ll get through this, one visit at a time until my mouth is healed.  You know though, I’d rather give birth without pain meds (and I’ve done that three times!)  than do what I must do today.  Even the exam the other day had my blood pressure up very very high.  It was a bit scary.   Anyone inclined to offer a prayer for me, I offer my thanks in advance.

I need to be cleaning house and doing laundry, but I’ve been glued to my on line distractions all morning.  I used to have so much courage.  I’ll keep the song by Rebecca St. James with me this afternoon…”Hold me Jesus …

1.5 hours later….

I’m not kidding.  I was typing the last line when the phone rang.  It was the dentist’s office wondering why I was not at my appointment.  I had 2pm on my calendar but they had me at 11am.  Long story short, I jumped up and drove just up the hill to their office, getting settled into my appointment before I even had time to worry, still holding the words of that song in my head and heart.

The exam went amazingly well (the grace of God is amazing and I believe that Jesus was holding me, just as I’d asked).  I’m going back this afternoon at 4 to have 2 extractions done with nitrous and Valium to aid the process.  I feel an assurance…blessed assurance…as I go about some chores.

The complete line from that song goes like this:

“Hold me Jesus, cause I’m shaking like a leaf.  You have been my King of Glory.  Won’t you be my Prince of Peace.”

And so it goes.

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