Glacier National Park 2010

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Positive Thinking

I've experienced my first stomach virus of this school year and it was a doozie! For some reason it triggered a pain episode which just complicated everthing! Things had been going so well at work would have been easy to just sink into the "poor pitiful me" stage.....but I didn't.

I figured it would be a good time to think on the positives. So I did.

Looking back over the past year, two years.....I realized I am in a much better place than I was a year ago, even two years ago.....and it feels great. The biggest, most important change for me has been to let God be actively part of my life.....not just the nebulous distant God  whose love I felt I could never be worthy of. It is so much better to have Him lean on feel His strength and know His comfort is there for me, for all His people.

My job has become even more enjoyable....being able to share my passion for writing with the see them embrace their own writing abilities with is an answered prayer. For me there is no doubt, being in this job at this time is where God wants me. If it weren't so, I wouldn't feel this peace.  God's will for my life...His plan for is perfect for me. As for the salary.....well, I'm resting in the knowledge that I matter as much to God as the birds who are fed daily according to God's other words, He will provide.

Although I am very often alone...I don't feel the loneliness quite as much. Preparing for the writing lessons at school helps fill the time....writing for the blog is a pleasure and takes time....reading and studying the Scriptures helps me realize how blessed I am.....and how letting God in, means I'm never really alone anymore. And more importantly, having God with me in all parts of my life helps me know He will protect me from those who would deceive me as some in my past have done.

Am I still in pain? Physically, yes, and sometimes, like today, it takes everything within me to raise myself from the bed.  Am I in pain spiritually? Not anymore....God healed that pain just as one day I will experience God's perfect healing for my physical ailments. 

Looking into the past used to cause me such pain.  Now I know, seeing how painful life was without God's presence, that I am in a much better place because He is with me. And looking back makes me see how far I've come because of God's love.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Life is Good

This morning I was reminded yet again how glad I am to have found a church to attend, a church with which to belong. I was moving a bit slowly this morning and so was a bit late arriving at church wonderful to walk in and feel the presence of God so hear voices raised in joyful know without a doubt I was where God wanted me to be!

God lead me to Crossroads at a time when I was broken inside and still trying to figure out how to put the pieces back together. Through the music God began the healing I needed....through the messages delivered by the different pastors God showed me the way to live life fully. Of course, I still struggle....who doesn't?  But God always comes through, reminding me through songs, Scripture, and yes, through the lives of people around me, that I am an important player in His plan for us. As are we all.

As God's people we have the responsibility of sharing God's love and His perfect plan for each of our lives.  In Ephesian 4:2-3 we read, "Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of our love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace." Reading those words today I couldn't help but marvel once again at God's consistency in giving us guidelines for a good and happy life.  Just think, what a wonderful place this world would be if we all were striving to be humble and gentle....patient with each other....loving our fellowmen enough to make allowances for their faults instead of condemning them......and to unite ourselves in the Spirit of God so that we might experience His perfect peace.

Every day is an adventure and sometimes a struggle.....but I wrap myself in God's love and move forward to whatever He has in store. He is my Father and I am His child and He has made my life so much better.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Counting My Blessings

Sometimes weekends are hard.....especially after several sleepless nights.....and lots of working despite the pain.  Seems harder to fight off negative thoughts.....makes being alone, well, lonelier. During the week my mind is on my job....on the children...on the people I work with.....on pushing through the day despite the pain coursing through every inch of my body.

On the weekends, its just me. I will say I am handling the negative thoughts much better than I used to.....but of course, back then I tried to deal with everything on my own. Now, I have my faith in God's ever present love to help me, to sustain me, to remind me that my life is good.

For now, I will use this time to rest and rebuild my strength. I will "count my blessings and name them one by one" as the song says.  I will thank God for being who He is and for loving me despite my insecurities. I will be thankful for good friends who listen and comfort when I need it....and who laugh with me and at me when I do silly stuff.....unintentionally. I will be proud of the adults my children are becoming and love them fiercely.

My life is good because God is in it.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Lessons Learned

Its been a few weeks since I've had the time and the energy to write! And I have missed it so. Lots of things have been going on as well. I've had several doctor's surgeon released me saying I was healing as expected. The pain and tenderness I'm still experiencing will continue until all the nerves have healed which apparently takes the longest amount of time in the healing process. My endocrinologist says he's pleased with my progress as well.....blood sugar numbers are continuing to A1C has dropped significantly and is closer to normal than its been in years.....yay! Saw my regular doctor yesterday and he's trying to help me lower the cost of my meds by trying some new generic combos.....fingers crossed 'cause finances are really tight. Which leads me to my latest adventure in faith.

As you know, I'm a certified teacher working as an instructional aide but really need to find a teaching job....teachers don't make much....and aides make even less. Teaching jobs for English teachers are few and far between so I was surprised to receive a call earlier this week from a school wanting to set up an interview. I mean we are four weeks into the school year after all. But you know me.....I've been trusting God to provide and felt that maybe He was once again giving me an opportunity.

The thing is the interview was at a school nearly two hours away. I had to take a half day off work which meant loss of pay plus I had to buy gas for the car. That much money was not budgeted for this point in the month....BUT.....what if this was THE job? If I got the job, it would be a big move...lots of details to work out in a short amount of time....leaving the only town I'd ever lived say I was conflicted is an understatement!

The night before the interview I tossed and turned.....praying for a feeling of peace about this opportunity. I listened to praise and worship songs and prayed as I drove hoping for clarity about my decision to pursue this job.  As I sat in my car parked in front of the school, I asked God to make His will in this situation crystal clear.....and I went into the interview.

What happened next was both surreal and miraculous in a strange sort of way.  I've been through many interviews in my life so I can say with certainty, that interview was the worst I've ever experienced.  The three women(two administrators and one department chair) who conducted the interview were rude, condescending and thoroughly unprofessional.  I had gotten up before dawn and driven 2 hours for an interview which lasted less than fifteen minutes and during which I was treated as if I were a half wit with no redeeming qualities.  For half a second I wondered if this was some elaborate hoax....if I was the victim of a "Punk'd" episode.

But as I began the two hour drive back home, I began to laugh.  And I thought, "be careful what you pray for!" God had done as I asked....He made His Will for me crystal clear.  Even if I were offered the position, which I doubt....this was not the job for me! It was a humbling experience in many ways.....and a reminder as well.  Always treat people as you wish to be treated and never doubt that God watches out for those who love and trust Him.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Work in Progress

"The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him." Nahum 1:7

Not many people know this, but I have trust issues.  I haven't always been this way but over time I've been lied to by people I cared about and whom I trusted. Those situations made me a bit leery of believing what I'm told....made me build walls around my heart.....turned me into a sort of loner. Frankly I don't know if I'm totally over that feeling.....but I'm trying.

"He cares for those who trust Him." Funny thing is....I have no trouble trusting God.  He has always been honest with me.......He doesn't hold back....He loves me unconditionally.  If there are any problems in my relationship with God, those issues have come from me.  And I am working on those daily.

I've been told that having no expectations is the way to avoid disappointment....and for a while I bought into that train of thought.  But I'm beginning to think that having expectations can lead to good things. For example, by treating my students with respect and courtesy I can "expect" them to know they are important to me. By keeping my word, I can "expect" people to know I am trustworthy.

When I pray, my expectation is that God hears me and responds. He has never disappointed me....the only time I experience disappointment is if I tell God how I think He should respond! God always listens and answers.....sometimes the answer is "wait." Or as He often has to remind me, "be still."

"The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble." I am living proof of that. Sometimes we forget that God is with us in good times as well....and yes, I'm working on living that way as well! Do you know what I've discovered about that mindset? If I am busy praising and thanking God for all the good I see around me, my attitude is becomes easier to be be be helpful. In short, it becomes easier to trust God about everything.

So trusting in God is helping me open my heart not be afraid of being live life with hope. I trusted God to heal my heart....and He did.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Mr. Sandman....Where Are You?

It's least for me. My day starts so early that by 10:00 p.m. I'm usually in bed beginning to drift off into sleep. Not so tonight. Oh I'm tired....never doubt that a week spent working with children while battling my ever present companion, fibro pain, has left me exhausted.  But sleep eludes me. My eyes grow so heavy that I just know sleepy time is on its way. Funny thing is my mind can't seem to reach that quiet place.

The thoughts tonight are as random as my ramblings! But mostly I envision my students bent over their journals writing...some hesitantly, as if unsure of which words to use in order to paint the verbal picture in their head......others writing quickly, full of purpose....and I feel a warmth steal over my heart.  I've been in that place, in a classroom with a teacher coaxing the imaginings from my mind onto a sheet of paper.....somehow validating the part of me she gave me courage to share. Who knew all those long years ago that I would be in the teacher's shoes? It is humbling to think that I have the opportunity to inspire, encourage, enable young writers to put their thoughts into words......words that are in turn humorous or poignant or illuminating.

At  the age of thirteen it became easier for me to write my feelings than to speak I began keeping a journal.  I've kept journals off and on through all these years......writing has always helped me to work through things.....a way to "talk to myself".....and always my writing was private and personal. At least until I began this blog........putting my writings "out there" for anyone and everyone to see has been one of the scariest things I've ever done. But it has also brought me so many blessings.

I think that is why I enjoy helping others find a way to release their thoughts, their imaginings, their ideas, their musings...... in some ways its my way of saying thank you to my eighth grade English teacher, Mrs. Henri Craig, for opening the creative writing door for me. Oddly enough I've never worried about whether my writing was 'good' or whether anyone else 'liked' what I wrote.  For me, writing is akin to breathing.....and we all know how important breathing is to life.

 I don't write in order to achieve accolades but there are times, I confess, when I wonder if anyone is affected by reading what I have written.  Is there someone else out there who has experienced or felt the same emotions I write about? Whether or not I am ever privy to that knowledge will not deter me from the joy I find in writing.

And now I think it is time I try, once again to sleep.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

What A Day!

I don't usually do this....but my thoughts today are kind of tied to my last post. It's like I've mentioned before I struggle with fibromyalgia......was diagnosed years ago when there were still doctors  telling people their particular symptoms were "all in their head."  There isn't a day that goes by I don't have pain.....some days its easily managed because I'm so used to it being there.  Other days...not so much.  Some days it rears up like an angry fire breathing dragon refusing to be conquered or ignored. Such has been the case over the past couple of weeks.

Today the pain was a dragon. And I didn't know how I was going to make it through the day....not going to work isn't really an option anymore because I have NO sick days left....if I don't work I don't get paid. It would have been so easy to throw myself a good old fashioned "pity party".....and I almost did.  Then I remembered the song.

I had pulled into my parking place at was raining, of course....and I sat huddled in my seat trying to gather the strength to walk into the building.  I kind of muttered a prayer under my breath....something to the effect of , "help me God 'cause I just don't have it in me to do this." And then I thought of the song.

"This is the day the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it."

This rain soaked, pain filled day was made by God.....and I needed to "rejoice and be glad in it?" Have I mentioned that I sometimes have problems with this part?  As I made my way across the parking lot and into the school I did some thinking about how I was going to "rejoice" in this day. The first thought which popped into my frazzled brain was....."I am alive so thank you God for that."

I can rejoice because I have a job I love.....I can rejoice because the people I work with make our school a great place to be.....I can rejoice because I get to interact with children every day.....I can rejoice because I know what I do can make a difference in someone's life.....and the list went on.  Every time the pain threatened to overwhelm me I would "rejoice" about someone or something. It didn't matter.  The bottom line became, I am where I am because God has a plan......and His plan for me IS perfect.  Before I realized it, my day at work was done....I had made it through.

The pain is still with me.....but now I know I can "rejoice and be glad" through the pain!  The dragon hasn't been conquered...yet....but I have learned I can be joyful regardless of my physical state. Now, I think I will curl up in my chair and enjoy some "quiet time" with God.....I want to tell Him about my day....and say thank you once again.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

This is the Day

As a child, when I went to Sunday School and Bible School my favorite part of each was the time we spent learning songs. Often those tunes will pop into my head bringing with them happy memories. All day today I kept thinking of one in particular.  Although I can't sing it for you, I can share the words.

"This is the day, this the day,  that the Lord hath made, that the Lord hath made,
We will rejoice, we will rejoice,  and be glad in it, and be glad in it
This is the day that the Lord hath made, We will rejoice and be glad in it."

This morning I got up, had my coffee and my quiet time, and began to prepare to go to church. Every move was slow and deliberate because of the pain I was experiencing. Some of the pain was a result of my recurring bouts with fibromyalgia but it was compounded by the fact I've been on the wrong dose of my thyroid medication for 5 weeks.....but that's another story.

  It would have been so easy to take a pain pill and crawl back into bed......but that little song kept going through my head.....and as I showered and dressed I had one thought.  God made this day and I'm getting to live it!  That is cause for rejoicing if nothing else is. My only responsibility is to be glad about whatever the day brings. Some days it is difficult and I don't do a very good job with the whole being glad part.

God is good to put people in my life to help with that......and He lets me experience things which remind me how blessed I am......and that just makes me want to share His love with anyone who has yet to experience that love for themselves.

As I write I am still in pain but that's okay too. I look at it as another opportunity to "be still" and let God do His stuff.  It gives me a chance to pray......for myself....for others....and to be thankful that everyday is a day "that the Lord hath made."  I will rejoice and be glad.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Calming the Storm

What a week! Dealing with the possibility of a hurricane, tornado warnings, anxious students and mood swings I couldn't explain made for an irritable me!  I even had difficulty allowing God to take care of me...the old habit of trying to take care of everything myself crept in and took hold before I was even aware. It seemed that every time I tried to pray my mind would wander into areas of anxiety and instead of immediately turning them over to God, I focused on the "what ifs."

From experience I know the what-ifs can cause chaos in my spiritual life.  And they did.  For the first time in months, I felt lost, adrift in a growing darkness in my soul. I found myself revisiting decisions I'd made in the past....questioning myself...wondering "what if" I'd chosen differently?  In the midst of all this my best friend called to share something she'd read on Facebook.....I wish I could remember exactly what it was because the words spoke to my heart and led me to Scripture, to searching for God's peace in His Word.

This verse reverberated within me, "Be still and know I am God." Psalm 46:10. Be still.  Stop aimlessly wandering through your fears and anxiety.  BE STILL. I realized that in my nervousness and agitation I was allowing my fears to drown out what God was trying to say to my heart, what He was trying to do for me.  So I stopped.  I curled up in my chair, took some deep breaths, and listened with my heart. I focused on what I knew to be true and unchanging.  God is with me. He loves me. He cares what happens in my life. I am His child. I do not have to "fix" anything because God is in control.

Gradually I felt peace sliding into the chaos, gently pushing the worries, the fears, the doubts out of my mind and my heart, replacing them with the knowledge, the certainty that God is with me and I will never have to face life on my own.  Do you know how comforting that is?  Especially in a world filled with chaos of ever sort and magnitude? I hope you do.  And if you don't, my prayer is that you will, because His peace can calm the storm in anyone.