Stronger

Stronger

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Beautiful Struggle


" I can impress you with my achievements, or share my struggle and pray that it leads to your transformation."

~ Kirk Franklin



Looking through some old pictures I saw found this photo of a beautiful green field and it reminded me of how the seasons transform the landscape. Earth shares it's beauty in all forms from lush green fields to hot days to colorful fall leaves to barren fields in the middle of winter. Through it all it never loses it's beauty.

When I read the quote above it got me thinking about the seasons of my own life. In this season, I am in the midst of some struggles that will require changes like the Fall changes the color of the leaves and eventually they fall on the ground and still the tree stands tall awaiting the time the changes it made with be replaced with the blessings of Springtime's green leaves.

I don't share my struggles with many people for fear of being made fun of or for other's to spread it around to whomever they some in contact with. It's not that I am embarrassed anymore about the things I find difficult to deal with or the things that I have learned about myself throughout the last few years, it's that finding people who are ready to be real and honest with me as well has not been an easy task.

If you know anything about me, you know I love to talk. I love to talk about just about anything. Discuss spiritual things, emotional things, things that make us smile and feel loved. I love playing twenty questions or more. I will ask my husband random questions as 2 am because my mind hasn't shut off and I don't want to keep talking to myself in my head. I love learning new things about my husband, our families, and those I have come to know as friends. I want to share my story in hopes that it inspires and encourages others to see that even in the midst of some of the darkest days of my life I survived and they can too.

I wonder, is this world ready for that? Raw, honest, truths that I hold inside. If I open up and share my struggles will they do the same? Will they let their raw, honest, truths inspire and encourage me? Can our stories strengthen our relationships? I know that being completely honest with my husband and he with me has made our bond so much stronger throughout the years. We never have to wonder what they other thinks or feels. We don't have to worry about the things we tell other people about each other, because the love we share is evident to those who know us.

As I read the above quote again, I want to be truthful about every struggle and trust that who I tell will be by my side. They will keep my confidence and I will keep theirs. I want my story to help them look within themselves and find their raw, honest, truths. I want my story to be the seed that helps me grow and helps others grow as well. I want my flame to ignite their flame so we can stand tall and bright in the midst of anything that comes our way.

It's a funny thing that one short quote from the book, She's Still Here by Chrystal Evans Hurst, brought all this to mind. One more reason why I love to read!

Be blessed!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Waiting




November 7th I began a study with Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies, Wait and See by Wendy Pope. I joined my dear friend and sister in Lord Diana Manley Rockwell's group (35). WOW! This study came at the perfect moment. *Godwink* He always knows what we need - when we need it.

"Waiting is hard. In the wait and see, it is imperative that we pause to consider all possibilities of God's design. From the depths of our ache, can we day say to Him, 'Show me what You have planned. I am willing to wait'?" (pg 25)

In my wait I have been impatient, anxious, worried, irritable, depressed, and just overwhelmed! Throughout my life I have had different valley's of waiting, this most recent wait started March of 2014. A few months prior I was diagnosed with a new health issue and the two I was already "dealing" with were worse. I was so stressed out and so tired all the time. Everyday I suffered from panic attacks. Most days I couldn't get out of bed to get to work. I loved working for our local newspaper. I had worked there on and off since I was 19 years old. I started out as a inserter, then delivered papers, circulation assistant, and eventually circulation manager. In the last 8 years I worked for that company I had my ups and downs with just not feeling well. I lowered my hours for about a month per doctor's orders but still no real reason for why I was feeling so bad. I got back to working full-time and once again ignored what my body was telling me, Have you ever done that? You know something is not right but you just don't have time to deal with it. Besides you have to push forward, work harder, make more money, after all that is what life is about, that is what will make a person happy.


For since the beginning of the world
Men have not heard or perceived by ear 
Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,
Who acts for the one who waits for Him. ~Isaiah 64:4

In March I put in my resignation. I just couldn't do it anymore. I could hardly leave the house and I just couldn't concentrate on anything. For to first few months after I quit my job I hardly ever left my seat on the couch. I was terrified of having a panic attack. It seemed that I was getting them so often.  So I stuck my nose in a book and after about 3 months I had read over 80 books. I was trying so hard to distract myself from what was going on. Fast forward to the present day and I am still waiting. Waiting to learn how to love myself, how to take care of myself, how to leave my house without having a panic attack, but most of all how to focus on God while I wait. Just a few weeks ago my husband hurt his back. He is unable to walk without use of a walker, he is unable to do his job, and he is having a hard time dealing with it all. I am trying not to break down. I am trying to focus on God's promises - but today I am losing the battle. 

Waiting is not only hard, it is scary. It has been the hardest thing for me to do. I am a fixer. I have always needed to be busy. I want to make things happen fast. I don't have patience for myself. I overthink everything. I am constantly worried about everything. I am scared of losing control. I am scared to let go. 

Am I still waiting because I am not listening to His voice? Have I let my heart become so hard I can't allow His love to enter? Waiting on myself to find a way to fix my life has left me feeling empty and lost. I don't know how long the wait will be. I don't know where this journey will take me. But, I am willing to wait. 



14 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,[c]15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. ~ Ephesians 3:14-20


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Counting My Blessings

Day #1 ♡ I am grateful for the smell of book pages. 
Day #2 ♡ I am grateful for my phone because it keeps me connected to loved ones.
Day #3 ♡ I am grateful for the color blue. It's the color of my husbands eyes.
Day 4 ♡ popcorn in a snowy cottage tin. Yum!
Day 5 ♡ I am grateful for the sound of rain on the roof, purring kitties, barking dog, and most of all my husband's voice.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Tribute To Elvira



August of 2010 brought a great loss to my life. I felt my heart tear in places that I don't think will ever mend - I am hoping today will be the needle and the memories of this amazing woman the thread that will mend those places that still bleed a little everyday.

Love - when given so unconditionally and so fully is like a hug that releases all the stress, all the pain, and all the sickness that can fill a body. It puts you back together when you break - it forces you to grow in ways you never thought possible. It is the most refreshing - pure water that quenches the thirst of the soul. Thirty -two years of my life held that kind of love - it filled every crevice - it floated all around me. One of love's thickest threads in my life's name was - Elvira, my Tia - mas que una tia - mas come una abuela. 

Enchanted Hills trailer park - that's where I spent a big part of my childhood - 12 years of it. I googled the word enchanted and here is what I found - fill (someone) with great delight. I have to admit - that place surely was enchanted - I was filled with delight every time I stepped foot through my Tia Elvira's door. The smells of her cooking - those homemade tortillas were the best! The smile that lit up her face - her immense joy at having a visitor. She loved to give - and she did it from her heart with no intention of being paid back. The nourishment that came from her home had all the elements a person needs - physical, mental, and spiritual.

Her words were like bandages to the scrapes and wounds that came from those who didn't know how to love properly. Those who chose to have use their words to break down the spirit if my young heart - that chose to put their ideas of what I should be - should look like - should live like - instead of encouraging me to - well - love me. She did just that, She loved what was there - who I was - without question, She shared her heart - her wisdom from her life experiences, I listened - I only wish I would have let her love penetrate deep enough to become self-love sooner.



Her life was filled with many joys and many hardships. Good choices that resulted in blessings. Bad choices that resulted in lessons that sometimes held consequences that hurt her deeply. She lost. She gained, Through it all - through her dark valleys - she never let Him go. Even when her focus on God faltered - even when her faith wavered slightly - she never let Him go. She never allowed herself to stray too far away. Her Bible was her lifeline - her guidebook to living a life of grace - forgiveness - kindness - mercy - and most of all - love. She told me of a time when she was so tired of life's hardships - unsure of where to turn - what to do next - if she even wanted to continue living this life. Her heart had been broken so many times - she had lost so much - she felt hopeless and betrayed. She loved children - but never was able to have any of her own. The sadness that breaks your soul when that realization hits - is almost unbearable - and no one can understand it - no one unless they also live it. That day - when the pain in her heart was most unbearable - she feel upon her open Bible and cried out to God - cried so many tears - until her eyes seemed to dry out. That day - she began to heal. Oh, she remembered the places that had been broken, scraped, torn apart, and trampled on - but now her remembrance showed her how to build strength. She took God's promises as her needle - His unconditional love as her thread - and began to mend her heart - her soul - her mind - and her body.

I saw in her - His grace. That peace that surpasses understanding - that can only come when we let go of the painful things people do to us - say to us - the painful things we do to ourselves - and say to ourselves.

Her home was small. She didn't have the finest things money could buy. She didn't cook what the high class restaurants call five star meals - but they sure tasted that way. She filled everything she owned - everything she did - everything she cooked - and every word - with LOVE. That leaves and impact - one that has survived beyond her 82 years.

Memories with Love - fresh tortillas slathered with butter or fresh green chile - a bowl of puffed rice cereal - her green bowl filled with hard candy - card games she taught me sitting at her coffee table, solitaire and poker. Gluing puzzle pieces to cardboard - such beautiful landscapes. Watching my first ever telenovela - Cristal. Sleeping in the "cuartito." Every time we were sick - she was there with one of her "curas." Not all of them were pleasant - but they worked. Long conversations - filled with laughter and wisdom, Family was the most important thing to her - she taught us to respect people. These are only a few of my memories with this amazing woman. I hope you have had the opportunity to be blessed with someone like her - hopefully more than one before your journey is over on this earth - and if you are truly blessed - you are that someone in the life of someone else.


Don't be afraid to be love to someone. Share you life - share your wisdom - it may change a life for the better. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Bucket Listing




My friend Trish has been hosting Wacky Wednesday games for awhile now in a group on Facebook and recently she has been asking for - three things no one knows about us and our bucket list items. These questions really got me thinking - it forced me to look deep within and find things that I really wanted - for me. Honestly, I have never really allowed myself to dream of those types of things - afraid of failing and belief I wasn't worth succeeding. It is sad way to live - I never fully realized I was living with that belief until recently. Huge changes life really get that introspection going.

So here goes - my short term bucket list (hopefully get to these before I turn 40 - about 1 year and 4 months away - YIKES!!) 

1. Read all the fiction books in our local library (Yes - I am a book nerd!)
2. Make one new recipe a month - ( I want to use my crock-pot more often)
3. Learn to make my own clothes ( I love skirts and long shirts to wear with leggings!)
4. Finish a book ( One or the other, hahaha!)
5. Organize my own craft space 
6. Set up a sanctuary - a place of peace to sit and re-energize, pray, and ground myself.
7. Learn how to relax - this will probably be my hardest lesson to learn but one of the most important,.
8. Keep up a workout routine with my husband along with Yoga and some walking with my family, ( I have found a wonderful place to walk in town - Harris pond - it doesn't feel like you are in town anymore. This is another hard one for me because I like fast results and losing the weight I have to lose and beginning a new lifestyle that includes exercise and healthier eating is a journey that will take time. It will take small steps that will become habits - God help me!) 
9. Seek out new places in my state to visit - campgrounds, small towns, lakes, etc.
10. Hike Hermit's Peak
11. Garden every year and learn more about herbs and their medicinal properties. 
12. Sew and craft enough stuff to sell at craft fairs
13. Run a 5k with my husband
14. Make a scrapbook of all our adventures. 
15. Start using a bicycle - take rides into town.
I am sure I can come up with so much more but I think you get the idea.



Now on to the "Before I Kick The Bucket" List.

1. See the ocean! 
2. Go to the Grand Canyon
3. Take a train ride out of state  - I may add a short train ride to my short term bucket list.
4. Although I am not a sports fan I would love to take my husband to a Denver Bronco game and a  Utah Jazz game.
5. Travel through the U.S.
6. Visit France
7. Visit England - let's just say all of Europe.
8. Meet an author or two from the list of books I am reading. 
9. Buy land.
10. Have an animal sanctuary - I want to help all the lonely fur babies out there,
11. Write out our family history.
12. Open a bookstore/craft store/ coffee shop
13. Learn how to skate board - I guess I better work on my balance, hahaha!
14. Get some of my photos published 
15. Visit Canada


It is time to take that first step on this journey - the hardest step - the one that allows me to began taking care of myself. The one that allows me to learn - to believe that I am worth healing, succeeding, and living my dreams - no matter what negative words and ideas come at me from others or from within myself. 

It's time for peace - time for mending - time for healing. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I Love Reading




July 31st I set a goal for myself to read every fiction book in our local library. I have not set a  time limit as of yet and I may not. Nine of these are my own personal copies and one belonged to my sister. As far as the rest I have just randomly selected books from the shelves of our library. I have found some amazing, funny and stories that really make me want to learn even more about history. 



                                    

Reading List as of July 31, 2016
Latest update 12/7/2016

  1.       Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult
  2. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum Series)
  3.     Two for the Dough (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  4.      Three to Get Deadly (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  5.     Four to Score (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  6.      High Five (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  7.      Hot Six (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  8.     Seven Up (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  9.       Hard Eight (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  10.    Visions of Sugar Plums (Between-the numbers holiday novella) by Janet Evanovich
  11.    To The Nines (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  12.    Ten Big Ones (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  13.    Eleven On Top (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  14.    Twelve Sharp (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  15.    Plum Lovin’ (Between-the numbers holiday novella) by Janet Evanovich
  16.    Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  17.   Plum Lucky (Between-the numbers holiday novella) by Janet Evanovich
  18.    Fearless Fourteen (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  19.    Plum Spooky  (Between-the numbers holiday novella) by Janet Evanovich
  20. )Finger Lickin’ Fifteen (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  21.    Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  22.    Smokin’ Seventeen (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  23.    Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  24.    Notorious Nineteen (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  25. Takedown Twenty (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  26. Top Secret Twetny-One (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  27.  Tricky Twenty-Two (Stephanie Plum Series) by Janet Evanovich
  28.  Back in the Bedroom by Janet Evanovich
  29. A Soft Place to Land by Susan Rebecca White
  30.    Craving By Helen Hardt
  31.    Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel Series) by Janet Evanovich
  32.    Wicked Business (Lizzy & Diesel Series) by Janet Evanovich
  33.   The Four Agreements by Don Miquel Ruiz
  34. The Discovery of Witches by  Deborah Harkness (All Souls Trilogy)
  35.  The Witch With Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose
  36. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
  37. Hope Prevails by Michelle Bengston
  38. Uninvited by Lysa Terkuerst
  39. You Are Forgiven By Love God Greatly Bible Studies
  40. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
  41. Shadow of the Night By Deborah Harkness (All Souls Trilogy) (9/21)
  42. The Book of Life By Deborah Harkness (All Souls Trilogy)
  43.  Obsession by Helen Hardt (9/30)
  44.  Seduction by M.J. Rose
  45. The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose
  46. The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose
  47.  Beyond Codependency By Melody Beattie  
  48. The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose
  49. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  50. Wait and See by Wendy Pope (study in progress)
  51. Sarah's Song by Karen Kinsbury
  52. The Apple Orchard by Susan Wiggs










Do you have any suggestions for me? 


Monday, September 12, 2016

Luna's Story Part 4

Gasping for air and for something to hang on to. All around her darkness and the evil was so thick she could almost taste it. "Where am I," she thought to herself. "I don't remember how I got here." She was panicking and she just knew something bad was going to happen. Someone was after her, maybe to kill her or worse. Maybe she would be stuck here forever in this dark abyss of evil stench. She tried to calm her breathing to focus on something solid. She searched with her hands but could feel nothing. "Help!" she yelled. "Would someone hear here, would they even find her if they did?" With a gasp she opened her eyes and found herself thrashing around in her bed. She froze. "Am I home?" "Was that a dream or was it real?"

Luna looked over at her husband and he was sleeping peacefully. She didn't want to wake him so instead she got up hoping he wouldn't hear here and went into the kitchen. With a glass of water in her trembling hands she sat on the chair hoping this would pass quickly. This wasn't the first time she had these dreams and these panicky feelings upon waking up. She just didn't know what to do about it. She prayed and waited for answers. But maybe she couldn't hear God anymore or maybe she was beyond His help. She knew in her mind He would always be there but maybe this was a battle she had to fight on her own. She had read and heard so many testimonies of people who had gone through terrible things and illnesses and were healed. They were set free from whatever was terrorizing them. Why was she pulled back into this darkness over and over again. Was she just a bad person? Was she fighting God and not realizing it.

Luna always felt guilt and shame for as long as she could remember. As a child she was afraid of just about everything. She didn't want to play the games the other children were paying for fear of embarrassing herself. She wanted to be strong so nothing would hurt her. She wasn't sure how to do that but she sure was going to try. "Did I hear it somewhere or did I make it all up in my head?" Luna asked herself. "Being strong meant no emotion. Absolutely NO crying! Absolutely NO angry outbursts! Just be nice." Luna began to associate being nice with pleasing everyone. Keeping others from getting mad. Just saying, "yes," to what ever was asked of her. At first it seemed okay. Then when she wanted and sometimes needed to speak up for herself she couldn't. This need for people pleasing had her by the throat. It began chocking the life out of before she even stepped foot into junior high school.

It was 3:30 am and she didn't want to go back to sleep. She didn't want to have that dream again. "I better make some coffee and get comfy on the couch to read another book." Luna hoped she wouldn't wake Jon up. She tried concentrating on the book in front of her but she couldn't stop thinking about that disturbing dream. She wondered, "Am I drowning myself in worry, stress and the need to be "nice?" Something told her this was definitely part of her problem. She pulled out her journal and wrote out a prayer, this always made her feel better. Before she even drank her first cup of coffee or even finish writing she fell asleep on the couch.

Something was tickling her face. She tried swatting it away but it just kept coming back. She opened her eyes and laughed. He cat's face was right in hers. He was purring and tickling Luna with his long whiskers. Jon was standing at the other end of the couch with a guilty smile on his face. "What is that all about?" Luna asked him. "Oh, nothing. You just looked so comfy there on the couch and Salem was content tickling your face. I couldn't deprive him of that." Jon said with a laugh. Luna laughed along with him It was so good to laugh.

"Are you ready?" Jon asked her. "For what?" Luna asked as if she didn't already know. "Our amazing bike ride!" Jon said as he smiled. "Oh, yeah." Luna said reluctantly. "Don't think about all the bad things that could happen. Just think about all your photo opportunities. Besides how can you resist going with me." Jon said with a wink. He was right about that. Even after all these years their love had only gotten stronger. Most days Luna couldn't believe that so much time had passed. It seemed like only yesterday that they met and three months later they were married. People thought they were crazy. Here they were seventeen years later and still even more in love as they were that first day.

"Okay. I am ready." Luna said as she walked out the front door. Jon shook his head and smiled. She was carrying her "small" backpack and no doubt it was filled with books, pens, her camera and who knows what else.  "Did you pack water in there too?" He asked knowing full well she probably didn't. "Oh! No, I forgot." Luna said as she blushed. She knew he thought she was crazy to take her backpack will all her essentials as she called them. She ran inside and grabbed their waters. "Do you want me to pack a lunch too?" Luna shouted so Jon would hear her from outside. "Sure, if you want to." he answered. Luna search for her lunch bag and made a couple of sandwiches. Threw in a couple of apples, a bag of chips and their waters. Now she was ready. At least she hoped she was ready for this.

"We are going to take our time and take breaks. Don't keep going just because you think I don't want to stop," Jon told her. "If you need to stop please say something." "Okay," Luna said. Even though she probably wouldn't say anything. Jon already knew that and he had stops planned out in spots where she could take photos and they could rest in the shade. All packed and on their bikes they headed out to the river.

"This is great," Luna told Jon at their first stop as they sat underneath and apple tree that hung over from someones property. "I didn't think I would make it this far."Jon was just as excited as Luna was. He knew if he could just get her to come out one time on a bike ride she would love it and want to do it again. He knew that she panicked when she was away from home but he also knew that she was usually okay when he was with her. He wanted to help her overcome her fears. He saw in here all those things she wanted for herself. He knew she could accomplish her dreams, she just needed a little push. He just had to be careful not to push to hard because she would resist him then. He wanted her to want it for herself and to believe she was able to do it. Whatever "it" was for her. She was finally letting him into her world of secrets. It was hard for him to take it all in at first. He wanted to fix it for her immediately and hurt those who had hurt her. He also knew that would never work it would just make things harder. So he waited for her to ask for help. He waited a long time but he knew when she was ready it would all be worth it. For both of them. As he helped her heal she would do the same for him.

They were off again to their picnic spot by the river. They made with only a few rest stops for Luna. "My legs are jelly," she said as she tried to get off her bike. "I have no clue how I will make it home." "Don't worry, we will rest her as long as you need to. We have nowhere else to be but here together." Jon reassured her. She smiled and hugged him. "I sure am a lucky lady to have you in my corner. I have no clue where I would be without you." Luna told Jon. "Well you know I am one lucky man to have you in mine!" He hugged her again and whispered, "I will never let you go."



Author's Note: Tune in next time for more. I hope you are enjoying this story. I have always wanted to write a book and this is my practice. Have a great day!