Monday, November 6, 2017

Remembering

November 3, 2017

Yesterday marked one year. The day we were headed over to Montana to see The Hub’s Dad. He said we should come sooner than later because he didn’t think he had much time left. He had been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer 2 months prior, and there hadn’t been any break throughs. The Doctor had said if there was one more blockage,  there was nothing he could do.

It was cold and brisk just as a November should be here in the Pacific Northwest. We packed up the car and started the 7 hour drive over. A few hours into the trip we received a text from my step-mom-in-law saying that she had to take him to the hospital, so when we get into town, just meet them there.  

A Week Had Passed

It was just the four of us in that hospital room for a week.  Cousin Travis had flown in, but could only stay for a couple of days.  After a week in the room we had grown so familiar with, he told us he had done a lot of soul searching. He was choosing to go home on Hospice care. 

This was it. We were stunned. 

I suppose deep down I kept thinking that if I just stayed with him, somehow we'd be back at their place, fighting this thing and eventually he would be well.  But not so.  We sat close to his bedside along with his wife and proceeded to call the rest of the siblings. On speaker phone, we heard the sighs, the cries and the feelings of pure heartbreak. The question of “Why?” Swirled around in all of our minds and hearts as we just could not comprehend how this could happen to Dad. An otherwise very healthy man, a tumor decided to grow on his pancreas, block his whole system and kill him. 

Memories now striking my core a year later of how he passed November 18, 2016 at 11:51pm. I was the one who looked at the clock to mark it.  Sometimes I wish I wasn't such a detail oriented person.  But death is just as important as birth, and I wanted to notice those things. 

It was the first time he and I really ever spent time together. Which is sad to say after 14 years.  Oh we would see each other at special events and holidays, but all in all it was like passing in the hallway, a smile and a "hey" and that was about it.  But here, in the hospital I would rub his back and put cool water on his head and massage his scalp. He couldn't eat or drink anything, so was only getting nourishment from the IV connected to him.  He was losing weight rapidly and his muscles were in atrophy,  When he came home on Hospice, with all of The Hub's siblings around we would take shifts during the night to make sure someone was with him around the clock.  Rob and I would get up at 1:45a.m. to take our 2 hour shift with him.

You don’t realize what a shared moment is until you hold someone’s hand while they are dying. Sometimes laughing, sometimes crying, sometimes just breathing.  We learned a bit about each other in those two weeks. We had more in common than we thought. Direct, to the point and not kidding ourselves about our circumstances. Although his sense of humor was all his own! :) When we had to leave for a couple of days to go back home (before Hospice) and make sure things were taken care of there, he didn’t want me to go. He said “ the problem with leaving Rob, is that you can’t leave her here.” My heart just about burst. I never thought I would ever hear him utter words like that. 

When he passed away it was Rob and I saw who saw him take his last breath. We awoke the others with the news that Dad was gone.  It was kind of like moving through a dream then.  Why am I so attached to a man I knew for 14 years, but only became friends with the last two weeks of his life? Maybe its not him.  Maybe it was the event, the horrific circumstances and the time, energy and love which was the driving force that makes me remember so distinctly. 

Dreams. 

About a month later I had a dream about him. I was standing outside, it was sunny and warm. I looked up and saw him standing, looking like he was in deep thought. He was wearing old work jeans and an old white t-shirt that had words that were red on it. Suddenly I saw him fall to the ground and just lay there. The next thing I know, it appears that he is getting up, but his body was still laying there. He started walking toward me, then passed me. As he was walking by he told me that he loved me. I said that I loved him too. He kept walking until he disappeared. I looked back and his body was still laying there. I realized what happened and that I needed to tell the others and so I left and did.  Still vivid in my mind from a year ago. 

He was the first person that has ever passed away that was ‘close’ to me. The first time I have ever been that close to death before, and a dead body. All that with the emotions can really trip you up. On the anniversary of a traumatic event a person can experience symptoms of PTSD. These include:


  • Flashbacks or bad dreams
  • Emotional numbness or detachment
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Outbursts of anger or irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Hyper-vigilance
  • Intense guilt or worry
  • Feelings of helplessness or worthlessness
  • Sense of foreshortened future/impending death

These symptoms are something the body chooses to do to handle or deal with the trauma that has happened to the soul.  Unfortunately I can say that I have had all of them.  The sense of foreshortened future and/or impending death was right before we went to Europe.  I kept thinking of making a will, writing letters etc., because...'if the plane goes down...' I could at least have left someone some kind of instructions on what to do.

Apologies to The Hubs for the rest of what he's had to put up with from me. I'm new at this.  God bless you if you are reading this and have been/are going through the same thing.  You certainly are not alone.





Friday, January 27, 2017

That Stamp of Approval

VALIDATION.  It has reared it's head a few times in the past few months, so of course I should give it the AFFIRMATION it is demanding.  DEMANDING.  Validation does that.  It demands;  with love, guilt, anger, passion and even lust.  It's glared at me, and others around me.  It can and does start out as a 'love language', but can take over and throw a person spiraling into Victim Mentality if one does not keep that stinkin' thing in check.

DEFINITION

Validation: to make valid; substantiate, confirm.

That seems so cold.  Mix it up with the heart and soul of a person who has emotion and BAM! You've got a concoction that is living, breathing...and needing....

Some synonyms are: acceptance, affirmation, recognition, stamp of approval, blessing

Validation can be given through Parental relationships, friendships, love relationships, and now especially more than ever, through social media.  I mean, who doesn't check their Facebook status to see how many people liked what their post was?  I can tell myself, (and you can too) that we post because we have something we want to say...give our opinion...share something we think is funny. I can admit that it is quite gratifying sometimes to get a few likes, and positive comments.  Children who grow up with their parents (or even just one parent) validating who, what and why they are, grow up more well-rounded than children who don't.  How many times have we reached out to a friend--and if there is no answer, our heart hurts a bit?

'Words of Affirmation' is one of the 'Five Love Languages'.  If you haven't read the book by Gary Chapman, I would definitely put it on the list as a 'must-read'.  Doesn't matter if you are married or single...it is jaw-droppingly eye opening about how to love someone according to their make-up/personality.  IT IS NOT A WAY TO PROFILE SOMEONE'S PERSONALITY!  It just simply gives you a new perspective.  Most people love others the way they liked to be loved. For instance a person who's love language is Words of Affirmation is more than likely to speak words of affirmation to others...a lot.  Acts of Services is another love language, I know how this sounds... but this really speaks to the servant at heart.  This person will do things, positive and out of love for others...a lot.  This just happens to be one of my love languages.  I love serving/helping. The other day, while I was volunteering, my husband was home on a holiday and decided to clean all of the demolition on the house renovation we have been doing, and clean my whole kitchen.  There must have been 1,000 dishes piled in the sink. When I got home the surprise was overwhelming, and tears came to my eyes. The first thing I thought was 'he loves me'.  Quality Time is another one...this person is willing to not only spend time with you, they turn toward you and pay absolute attention to you. They interact with you, and listen to what you have to say.  This is also how they would like to be loved.  Get the Picture?

Validation.  That Stamp of Approval.  No matter how great or insiginificant, the need and desire for it is ingrained into each of us...into our souls.  But why?

The Beginning

It's gonna get Biblical.  Just warning you upfront.  Candidly speaking, the reason why I went so far back with this, and have put so much thought into it is because that stupid need for approval started throwing darts into my heart--ba@#$%d!

Naturally (for me) I started skimming the Bible for answers.  No joke, it took me straight back to the beginning...literally.  Genesis. After man and woman were created, they disobeyed God.  At THAT instance they were ashamed and felt guilty...because for the first time they were AWARE that they wanted God's stamp of approval and thought they would be rejected. Before sin, before the fall of man, there was no need for validation. We are fractured individuals who live in a fractured world.

There is HOPE.  Things will change, and our need for validation will turn into a continual state of pure gratefulness.  But until then, each of us seek it.  On a large scale or a small scale.

Love Tanks

Gary Chapman, in his book, 'The Five Love Languages' makes an analogy with a cars gasoline tank...and the love gauge of our hearts.  If the car doesn't have any gasoline, it doesn't run well, if at all (haha, most of the time not at all...) kind of the same with humans, except when our 'love tank' is empty it affects our hearts and minds and how we react to people and circumstances around us.  Something to think about.

This is getting long...sorry.  So many thoughts running around in this brain of mine! Just want to say that the act of validating others can help us to be others-centered, which is GOOD! It is when we try to over-compensate that it can turn against us, and then it all becomes about us, which is BAD.

Thanks for listening :) Wait! Is this considered Quality-Time?  hee, hee.

~Until next time~

Reb.

pic found on google images...no name given for credit. ?

Friday, December 16, 2016

Two-Fold

pic by Tonya Stinson



I live in a small town surrounded by mountains.  (green with envy? you should be :))) It is beautiful.  Like so many towns, this little town is marked with the first letter of it's name on the hillside, but also a cross. 

You might think this is difficult to see, but as one is entering our town off the highway, it is very visible.  We are located about an hour and a half away from a large city which we commute to on a regular basis to visit family, go to our hockey games, etc. There are 5 or so towns we go through to get from point A to point B.

THE DRIVE

Since we've been here (a couple of years now) the commute as gotten 'shorter'...meaning we have gotten used to the length.  But there is one 'trek' that never gets shorter...NEVER.  It is the one going home...the time it takes to get from the last town we go through to get to our house.  It is only 26 miles.  So if I'm actually obeying the speed limit..(haha)  it should take 20-25 minutes.  It is the LONGEST 20-25 minutes known to man.  Sheesh!  When I am driving home late at night and it's dark out and I'm T.I.R.E.D. it is worse.

MY POINT

The cross next to the 'C' on the hill at night, lights up.  When I am driving and it is dark and all I want to do is get home...I cannot tell you how beautiful it is to see that cross lit up on that hill to let me know I am almost home!

TWO FOLD

The next words that come out of my mouth are "Thank God for the Cross!".  And in that moment I am reminded of Jesus.  How he gave His Son, and His life so that we could be forgiven and free.  So that we could know what love really is, and we could live with Him forever.
"I'm almost home!"  Yes, I am almost home.  I'm here temporarily.  There will come a day when my 'address' will change permanently, and I will get to be with Him forever.  With Him.  That is my true home.  Until then, I am reminded of where I am headed....Do you know where  you are headed?

~Blessings friends~


Monday, November 21, 2016

Hang-Up's

Sometimes I wonder what the hang up is. I wonder how I could know and experience the raw over-the-top grace of Jesus~ flowing all over me ~and still feel like I am in a "barren" place and unfruitful at times.  Every Christian goes through a time of being in the "desert".  The route there is different for each of us, because we are individuals, but alas, the place is the same.


pic by Silvia Ganora/Dreamstime Stock Photo
THE DESERT

It's a dry, "barren" time of feeling far away from the Lord. Out of touch. No flowing relationship. A stale time. I know God is still here because, "If you feel far from God, He is not the the One who moved",  and no matter how far I stray, He will never lose track of me. There are times that I get busy or distracted and go for days without praying, or weeks without getting into His word.  Which seems ludicrous since scripture, His word, is my happy place. But it happens. I find myself trying to survive my hectic, chaotic days on praise and worship music which last only for a short while because, how can I praise my Savior if I am out of relationship with Him? The 'love' tank is empty.  Yes, I struggle.

THE ANSWER

So, I have come to the conclusion (and you have probably seen this before on my blog) that the answer to EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERY. THING. is: Run to Jesus. Oh I know sometimes it can be daunting...or even confusing. In the desert my mind grows stale, my vision grows dim and my perspective shrinks. I wonder sometimes, 'Where do I even start?'  But I have learned that even if the only thing I can say is "Jesus help me", it is enough.  In fact, He loves it. That little sentence gives Him the permission to swoop down and wrap His arms around us. (Permission I say because Jesus is a gentlemen.  He absolutely will not force Himself, His help or His word on any of us.)

I found this scripture in my daily reading plan that might also help with where to start... a step by step of what to do:

2 Peter 1:5-9 and 10-11

"Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is short sighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. ...if you do these things you will  never stumble."

What that means to me:

With all diligence add to what you believe (without seeing)-goodness and uprightness of conduct.  To this add/have an acquaintance with facts and Truth of God's word~be familiar with it! To this be able to manage your emotions and actions~ in these things continue in a state of grace to the end in spite of difficulties or discouragement.  Not only believe~ but act in agreement to the wishes of God. Be kind to your brothers and sisters and love your fellow man.  If these things abound, you will neither be barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

THE KEY

Verse 9 completes the thought~the reason why verses 5-8 are so important~ "For he who lacks these things is short sighted-even to blindness."

Something (or someone) that consumes our thoughts and makes it difficult to manage our emotions outside of God, causes us to be blind to God. We can't see Him if we see other things instead.

2 Peter 2:19b says 'For by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage."
Those thoughts and feelings can trap us, even if they seem good, or so strong we can't overcome them.  So strong we get lost in them, ~consumed~, then blinded.

2 Peter 1:9b:  "...and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins."
It is difficult to remember just what kind of over-the-top extravagant grace and love God is and has given us, when we are consumed by our circumstances, thoughts and feelings.  It is also easy to live in guilt and shame when we know that those thoughts and feelings are not pleasing to God, they can go against Him and His word ~yet we can't seem to shake them.

*Run To Jesus: flood yourself with Him. Spend time in His word and prayer. No matter how you feel. If you don't know what to do~ just open your Bible! (Ps. 119 is my go-to).

*Concentrate on who He is (not what your circumstances say) ~and praise Him through scripture.

*Get your gratitude on! Be thankful not only for His Saving us from the pit of hell, look around you...even the simple things.  Family, friends, loved ones.  Did you get to take a shower in HOT water today? Do you have food on your plate? Clothes on your back? Are there blue skies outside? Being grateful gets your eyes off of yourself and on to Our Beautiful Father.

*2 Peter 2:28~ "it is good for me to draw near to God."

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Thoughts on Escapism

The Island of Green

Yes this island so plush, so fresh and serene,
makes all that you know seem like hell in between.
It makes you wish and to dream what life would be like
if you didn't have ends that don't meet
or someone to share your bed with at night.

All alone you feel, until you step on the sand
wiggle your toes, feel the breeze, hear the "always green band"
play the tune that is calling your name and so much more.
Who needs real life, when you can tan on this shore? 

But what you don't see in the background
is not a huge giant mountain or a rock without sound.
No, it's a ginormous sponge! Ready to tackle and deceive
you into thinking you're there
innocently in dream!

"What's wrong with daydreaming?
What's wrong with finding my peace?
Why can't I go play on this island of feasts?"
Dreaming is good, being creative is fun
but what you've found is as destructive as Attila the Hun!

That big giant sponge is called Escapism, you see
it absorbs, and destroys your reality.
You've daydreamed and imagined so much
that those that are around you feel that you are way out of touch!
You've developed relationships that don't really exist,
as entertainment, as 'true love', where you are always missed.

This makes you feel good, and coming back for more
until that sponge does the rest of it's most evil chore...
It sticks you into a frame of mind
closing the door, until you finally find
your reality not good enough, yes the battle is won!
not by you or your heart,
but by that big giant sponge!

The relationships, and the love that you once knew
are but memories in the distance as they finally grew
far, far away from that island so lush
they are no longer real, you no longer blush
for the One who held your hand oh so tight,
His touch to you now is a sting and a plight.

Your home is not enough for you now,
your car and your things...you could care less somehow.
The charm of your life is gone
but your past has appeared
you can't stop the blame so much as you feared
Your green grass and the sand on that island
has left you alone
with so much more to demand
and confusion and scorn.

So hats off to what was once known as reality
say hello to your new 'friend' Victim Mentality.
It isolates you, pitifies you, makes you once more
feel alone, even when you set toes on that shore.

The island is dim now, and not green enough...
the air is stifling and you begin to cough
"oh look over there! a new place to be!"
friendless and weak are your wobbling knees
as the cycle starts all over again
and you wince, and you cry as you lose and not gain. 

RL 6/8/16


You will keep him in PERFECT PEACE whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. ~Isaiah 26:3~

For God has not given us the spirit of fear but of love, power and a SOUND MIND. 
~2 Timothy 1:7~

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your MIND, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
~Romans 12:2~

Be renewed by the One who loves YOU.  Let Him love on you with the over-the-top extravagant grace that He can't wait to shower you with!  Don't be afraid.  Enjoy the perfect Peace that is waiting for you...seek Jesus out.  Learn to trust Him.  You will find yourself at peace, when all else is chaos. As always...the answer to every.thing. is Run to Jesus. :)






















Wednesday, October 26, 2016

You

You are the Path that guides this soul
You are the Light that gives hope
You are the Presence that brings joy in the midst of trial
You save me from my thoughts
Please save me from my feelings

Lay low the obstacles
Fill the valleys
Bring me back home again



You are the Sword that fights for me
You are the Shield that protects me
Your breath washes over me
Your Spirit dwells within me

As the world turns to stone
Those that are known by You will have hearts of flesh
We will seek You and we will find You
Hallelujah!

We call on Your name and You will answer
Praise to the King of kings!
You are the Forgiveness that brings redemption
Hallelujah!

Yours was the blood that set us free
You are the Key that unlocks shackles
You will bind the enemy
Glory to the Most High!

You will stop him
You will make all things right 
Please come quickly my King
Show me the way, in the morning
Open my mouth when I should speak
Close my mouth in wisdom.

Amen, in Jesus name, Amen

RL





Thursday, October 6, 2016

Lilac Whispers

Recently I was reminded of how much I absolutely love lilacs.  In my new little town that I have been in for a year and a half now, two springs have gone by and I have seen them on nearly every corner...in all of their different beautiful dreamy pinks, whites and purples.  They are delicate and lacy. They  come and go with what seems like a blink of an eye, and spring just wouldn't be spring if I couldn't see and smell those wonderful flowers :)

I was listening to a song called "Whisper Softly", and I instantly saw a slideshow in my head...which of course includes lilacs and romance :)  So I made the slideshow come to life and thought I would share it with you along with the song. It's dreamy :)



'Whisper Softly'
by Chasing Furies

Silver shining around your eyes
You thought that you'd lie and wait
For me to walk beside you

Lilacs filling our senses blooming
You thought you'd lie and wait
For me to whisper softly

You are mine
You are mine
And I'm at rest here
You are mine

Moonlight indigo swoons around us
You thought you'd lie and wait
For me to walk beside you

Lyres ebbing their serenade
You thought you'd lie and wait
For me to whisper softly...