Saturday, December 08, 2012
She's 10 and some, and started taking clarinet this school year. So, it's been 3 months since she started, and she practiced and practiced, and now she can play Twinkle Twinkle Little Star! So, of course, I have to share....
Friday, December 07, 2012
I was doing my Sparking, which included checking out a couple of daily Spark blogs, and found this one on grieving. It made me consider my own times of grief.
I had my first child in 1975. The pregnancy was normal and happy. But during labor, something went wrong and thye didn't discover it to do the emergency C-section until it was too late. So it was on Christmas Eve that Gloria Noel entered Life Eternal.
Loss of a child at any age is painful. And ON a holiday? How do you think YOU would react?
I was a young believer at the time - I'd only received Christ as my Lord and Savior as a Senior in high school, a few months before my 18th birthday. Now I was 22. It was my first crisis of faith. When i arrived home from the hospital, arms empty and heart broken, I had it out with the Lord. "I don't know if I want to trust You for other children - look what happened with THIS one." Anger. But it didn't take too long for me to conclude that if I couldn't trust HIM, whom COULD I trust - and that I really did - and do - believe that God is wise, and good, and loving. My conclusion was that I would trust God, even if I did not understand the WHY of a situation.
And because I found my comfort in Him, I grew in the ministry of comfort and encouragement - as it says in 2 Cor. 1:3 - 4 " Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." During my first mission trip to Peru, while the American missionary was showing me the new building, I saw a funeral going on at the cemetary across the street. It was the grandchild of a woman who later became my friend, and the native pastor took me to visit her. And I was able to comfort her with the same comfort I had received. During another missionary trip, I was also able to comfort a young Peruvian woman whose child recently was stillborn.
Then there was the violent loss of my dad and stepmother - and my step-brother, who had stabbed them to death in a psychotic episode before taking his own life. I ran straight to the arms of the Lord to carry me through the storm of emotions that assailed me, and felt myself lifted up on the prayers of my church family. I could weep freely. I had occasional bouts of book-throwing anger from the pain of loss, but He carried me through. And so I could also relate to the students at the city high school where I work, who also face loss of friends or family through violence. I was able to have peace while my son was serving in the National Guard in Iraq. (I thank God he came home safely, because there had been some close calls).
Then there was my mom's passing. I wasn't here when it happened, but I had stopped to visit her before going on a mission trip, and she and I both knew she was getting near the end. She told me not to cut my trip short if she went Home before I got back. She was a Christian too - so we had the assurance of being reunited eventually. And i was able to express to her how much she meant to me - how her acceptance of my friends, taking them in in times of trouble, was an example to me to be a spiritual mother to so many young people in Peru. It's a blessing to give a person a eulogy BEFORE they leave you. And when she passed while I was still in Peru, i was among people who could comfort me, who let me cry on their shoulders, who took me for walks and outings so I could find peace in God's creation.
My husband's passing was also very peaceful. His heart failed in his sleep. He'd been going downhill a long time, and I was concerned that he'd have a rush to the hospital, be all hooked up to tubes and things. But no...It even took a while to realize he'd gone. We let the grandkids give him a hug and a kiss good-bye because he looked like he was sleeping.I cried - but I'd been under the shadow of sudden widowhood for so long, and was able to give God thanks that He took him SO peacefully. Yes, we miss him at the holidays. But we know where he is. And we know he and my mom get along now!
I realize there are plenty of psychiatric and humanistic approaches to grief. But there is nothing like the peace that comes from the Prince of Peace.
Thursday, December 06, 2012
It's been a long time since I've been at 210 and stayed there. While I've had a lot of fluctuation, it seems that the tendency is once again downward. I have picked up the pace on my stationary bike, and added strength exercises with weights 2-3 times per week - following Spark recommendations - and it's starting to show up on the scale.
Of course it's more challenging this time of year. But I actually made it past Thanksgiving without gaining! I dare to hope I may even get to 205 by Christmas!
There is some weight I know I will never lose because it is SKIN. I just don't have the elasticity any more. ANd I haven't the resources for cosmetic surgery. But that's okay. I'll continue to make healthy choices, with occasional goodies, but definitely more activity. And that can only improve once I take care of hip and/or knees.
I probably WILL outlast the second husband as I have the first!
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
I joined the adult choir at the school where I work, and our concert is scheduled for Dec. 11th. We're to wear black, red, white, or any combination thereof...but NO PANTS. I thought, great, I know I have a black skirt. But when I went looking for it (I usually wear pants to school, especiallywhen the colder weather sets in) I couldn't find it. I knew I had bought a new one and left it in Peru on purpose, building up a wardrobe in Pucallpa so I would have to pack less personal stuff and could bring more blessings to distribute during mission trips. But I had another one, one with a wee little hole in it, full enough that the hole was not noticeable, and this is the one I expected to find. But I didn't. Drat. Have a white one, but don't ask me where the half-slip is. (I bought the white one to wear for if Levi and I get married up HERE, since I left the wedding DRESS in Pucallpa to, having anticipated being able to marry there THIS year - then the paperwork fiasco...) So...But I hate going to malls...and there are all these protests over "Wally World"...so I decided to go to one of my favorite stores, Goodwill, which has the added advantage of being a "good cause." And I found a nice long black skirt, soft, comfy - I could zip it up! And a very nice BRIGHT holiday red top. My tummy is still baggy, but my daughter assured me that if I also wear my long white sweater vest, it'll help to hide the paunchiness.
She also found my yearly Christmasy shirt, blue with a KITTY, and some little stuffed animals for my grandkids' stockings, notably another MANATEE. My DGS had begun to take an interest in sea creatures, and a couple years ago I found a cute little blue-eyed manatee at one of the dollar stores, which he LOVES (and favored while i was away in Peru this summer, missing me). Abi later found another one, to his delight - and now this. And they're all slightly different, but small and soft.
And to top it off we got my daughter and granddaughter each a Christmasy shirt too. Oh, and earrings for Abi. Total? Forty five and some change. She'd paid me back 20, and I had 25 from a sale 0f a ceramic dog order - Ta-da! Love it.
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
I usually read more than one chapter at a time, but this one made me pause and think. God asked - no, TOLD Jonah to do something, and he purposefully disobeyed, heading in the opposite direction. His disobedience not only brought consequences to himself, but to innocent bystanders, his shipmates, who faced the possibility of shipwreck and drowning.
In his favor, he DID confess to them that he was the reason the storm had risen up. But he still preferred himself to be thrown overboard and drowned rather than obey God.
But God had other plans.
And recall how Jesus said that Jonah was a sign - the three days and three nights in the belly of the fish.
Jonah was there because of his own sin and disobedience. Jesus was in the belly of the earth for OUR sin and disobedience.
But it made me think how our actions affect not only ourselves, but those around us. Sometimes we argue that we're not hurting anyone else, but it just ain't so. We are connected. Even in the matter of overeating - if I put on so much weight that I can't perform my normal activities - someone has to take up the slack. And if it affects my health - someone pays for it.
"If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it" (I Cor. 12:26) This is true in the sense of the body, and the Body of Christ; but also in a much broader sense. We need to rise up out of our self-centered selfishness. We need to be more like Christ.
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