Straight Up Rant

This morning, I saw a rant on Facebook (and it wasn’t a political rant like I fully expected to endure the morning following a debate. I think we all secretly missed Donald and the entertainment factor he brings to the table)….but, anyway, back to rants on Facebook. We’ve all seen them, haven’t we?
I “like” several animal rescue organizations so I see a LOT of heartwarming rescue stories but also many abuse cases posted to bring awareness to a crisis situation. The abuse stories with accompanying photos always incite conversation~ from the appropriate “How can I help?” to the “I’d like to ***** strangle this ***** and then burn his body and then feed him to a big *** coyote in the middle of  the ***** desert.” Okay, cowboy. We get it~ you’re angry. We’re all angry.
trollI also like to eat good organic food when possible so I “like” some Vegan, vegetarian and organic food pages. That grants me the ability to see a lot of great recipes but there’s always a troll or two on the feed that has to bash someone’s decision to not eat a chicken. Someone not eating chicken ticks you off? REALLY? I also “like” a page created for an 18 year old young man in the hospital with cancer. He likes dogs and so someone created the page for Anthony as a means to post dog photos to simply cheer him up. Yesterday, someone posted on the page that they were sick of people posting too many pictures of their dogs.
When did we become so damn mean?
When did people just stop being polite to one another? When did basic kindness and consideration go dormant?

So the rant on Facebook that I saw this morning was about despising the site as a whole. I mean, I GET it. I, too, thought I had a love/hate relationship with Facebook once upon a time. This person vented about how Facebook sucks up valuable time, how people have “fake lives”, how people “brag” about their accomplishments and their kids that no one cares about and about how easy it is to have inappropriate relationships through private messaging.

So….. I sat down with my organic oatmeal and my dogs by my side and unfollowed them. It’s not my monkey and it’s not my circus. It’s not that I don’t understand their frustration but may I take the liberty of pointing out a thing or two that MAYBE they’re overlooking?

A. Facebook doesn’t suck up time. PEOPLE waste too much time. People forget to be present with the people right in front of them. People care more about someone else’s life than their own. Enough said.
B. Fake lives? I doubt very much you’re going to see too many photos of women sans make-up, hair mangled from going to bed straight from the shower and wearing their flannel pj’s from 1998. You’re also not going to see a lot of men post photos of their bald spots, their pudgy belly or their favorite pair of shorts that should have been taken to the curb last year. People are going to primarily show you what they want you to see. Duh.
C. Maybe someone does care that they got a promotion or that little Jimmy got an “A” after failing last semester. I’m pretty sure that you don’t own their right to be proud and get some encouragement. Do we need to see post after post about the “A”? No, not really but we have no idea what it took for their kid to get an “A” so let’s just take one for the team.
D. Inappropriate relationships existed before Facebook. They existed before Alexander Graham Bell invented the phone. Is it blog 1easier now with Facebook and text and the other multitude of instantaneous access we possess? Yep. That’s not the fault of technology, though. That’s the fault of the person using their fingers to type.

I see the irony here. I was irritated by a rant and now I’m ranting. I’m just so tired of people not encouraging each other, not respecting each other, blaming a website for their personal dysfunction and hiding in front of a computer screen while they tell parents to keep mum about their kids.

Rant over. You may return to Facebook at the conclusion of this sentence….or, better yet, take a walk, read a book, write a blog, play with the dog or take a bath.

See you tomorrow.
Amy

God Hears Our Cry. Psalm 34:17

THIS is a hard day. I went to bed crying. I woke up crying. I’m still crying.

Today marks one solid year since my dad left this earth. I watched him gasp that last desperate bit of air and he left us. He left me.     In the days since, I’ve needed him so much that the term heart broken has become literal; there are pieces of my heart scattered all over the floor. Shattered shards like glass that hurt to pick up.
I knew this day was coming. I have felt the heavy weight of it all week and had hoped it would be easier somehow than it is.

The first man to ever love me ...
The first man to ever love me …

I struggle with knowing that the first man to ever love me  is gone and I don’t even have the assurance of his place in heaven. I know that in his final days of fighting cancer, I tried to talk to him about God and heaven and how I wanted us both to be in the same place when we left this earth but he was resistant to speak about it. I pray that my dad and God spoke while my father laid in that ICU room, unresponsive and without hope, waiting to die… while we all just sat and waited for him to die. I pray my dad saw the angels come for him and that one day my dad will meet me again and envelope me in a bear hug that made me feel safe from the time I was just a baby.

I miss another important man in my life today. Even harder because he’s alive and well and choosing to not be with me on this day. The spiritual fast I’ve been on has brought me to my knees daily as I ask God to heal what the enemy has stolen and to restore this relationship to a God centered commitment. He and my dad are the standards of goodness in my life. Both fallible, both funny, both kind, both generous and both were my safe place in a crazy world….I’m a sensitive woman. I was born sensitive and remain that way to this day. I feel things very deeply; tragically, sometimes. When I am loving well and loved well, I feel contentment that reaches euphoria~ such is my sensitivity to love. Such is my heart.
Love never fails. I’ve held on to that scripture since 2003 when my husband I bought new wedding rings and had it inscribed inside the band. It’s a truth I cling to because God says it is so. I choose to not be of this world where people discard people and choose self over selflessness and pride over humility…. and I pray for those who are allowing their decisions to ripple through marriages, families, and generations. Hurting people hurt people. I’m so disheartened by what I see happening around me to people I love. People hurting people and never really understanding that it all comes down to love. If we loved well…if we understood that life’s greatest satisfaction comes from loving others more than we love ourselves…if we understood that love isn’t an emotion, it’s a call to action…if we understood that feelings can often lead us down paths of destruction and that’s why we NEED boundaries….IF…. If we understood that love never fails and humility is beautiful. If we just understood all of that and loved our families well. Loved God well. Loved as if love and covenants and God were all that mattered….because they are.

Me and my love throughout the years
Me and my love throughout the years

I hurt for many today. I look around and see others hurting so unnecessarily because of their choices and/or the choices that affect them. Divorces, addictions, suicides, etc. This sensitive heart of mine is overwhelmed.
My friend, Carolyn, posted a blog today that caught my eye and it made me weep harder between my sobs for my dad this morning. If you’ve ever had a serious marital problem or know someone who is on the brink of divorce, please share Matt’s blog with them. I believe this one blog post can save someone from making the biggest mistake of their life….his language is a little colorful because it’s raw. He’s divorced and his emotions match his verbiage.  Please don’t miss it. She divorced me because I left dishes by the sink … you’ll want to read more of his stuff, believe me. He speaks from experience.

Family
Family

Families are God’s precious gift to us. The highs, the lows, the in-betweens. As I sit alone on this very sad, cloudy day, I have hope that God hears my heart and I remind myself that today has many hours left. My God can work miracles in a split second and I could really use one.

See you tomorrow.
Amy

 

So, How’s It Going?

Day 12 of the Daniel Fast. Over halfway!
So here’s a weird thing. Everyone said the first few days would be the hardest but I breezed right through those like my daughter used to breeze through toll booths in college (until she realized they send bills to her mother).  I didn’t miss coffee, I couldn’t have cared less about sugar or flour or meat or fish or dairy. I was completely satisfied for 7 days.

Then week 2 happened and I wanted what I couldn’t have. I wanted pasta~ not whole wheat pasta, either. I wanted eggplant parmesan covered in cheese with a side of Gino’s pasta. chipI fantasized about cheesecake and I never order dessert at restaurants…unless I am treated to Bern’s, that is….but I’m hanging in there. I’m not starving. I’m just denying myself little things I don’t need. First world problems. What a bunch of whiners we people can be….

So that’s the physical part of it. The REAL focus of this fast is the spiritual component. Am I spending more time with God in prayer? Am I changing my prayers from a monologue to actually hearing from God? Am I resting in the peace that surpasses all understanding because I know God answers prayers? Do I know that my prayers reflect God’s will? Am I opening that bible on my nightstand more frequently? Well, let’s take a look at that as of day 12 on this 21 day fast.

YES, I am definitely spending more time with God. I literally wake up in the middle of the night virtually every night and feel a need to dialogue with Him. He already knows my prayer requests quite well and now I’m spending a lot of time sitting in silence so that I can make sure my prayers align with His best for me and His best for those I pray for. I have a great deal of peace in knowing that I’m aligned with what His word says and so I keep pressing in. This, I believe, is being a prayer warrior!

Am I resting in peace? In truth, most of the time I am successful in staying peaceful but I would be lying if I said I stay there 100% of the time. The flesh is a masterful reminder of how weak we are in our own strength. This piety journey is lifelong; I’m not likely to achieve even close to perfection but it’s a walk that keeps me as close to His image as I’m going to get while I’m roaming the earth.  If you knew me when, you’d say that my ability to stay in peace is about 80% better than it used to be~ thank GOD.

And am I confident I’m praying for things in God’s will? Well, I’ve let doubt creep in about 75 times in the last year or so. Doubt creeps in when I look at what I can SEE and forget to focus on the unseen things God is doing behind the scenes. Focusing on what I can see is a waste of time~ I’m not all knowing. I’m not even all close-to-knowing!

What I SEE doesn't take into account what God is doing
What I SEE doesn’t take into account what God is doing

So I’ve read what He says and I’m in complete peace that I should continue to stand firm because my prayers reflect God’s will. In short, I can’t know His will if I don’t know His word and have a relationship with Him. Yep, it really helps to know God and what He thinks and it’s all found in that amazing book we call the Bible. There’s not a question, circumstance or situation that He can’t help with if we’ll give Him the control and stop keeping the control all to ourselves.

I wrote on my hallway chalkboard the moment that 2015 was in the history books (not a minute too soon, frankly!) that 2016 is the year of restoration and blessings and IT IS.  It’s His promise to me and I take His promises SUPER seriously. I’m going to be bold and just add this little photo below because if you call yourself a Christian and you don’t take His promises at His word, I think you may have a faith issue…. and, hey, I’ve been there! But I didn’t STAY there and neither should you. Believe He will do what He says He will do.

If you feel a distance from God, it's YOU who has turned away.
If you feel a distance from God, it’s YOU who has turned away.

 

God is on OUR side! We can make it really tough or we can make it really easy but, ultimately, He’s got our back and so why would we live like what He says isn’t true?
Okay. Yes. This spiritual fast has been confirming and enlightening and it’s taken sacrifice of time and some toxic foods…..  and it’s been well worth it.
For the record, I will be eating eggplant parmesan on February 1st (at the completion of my fast) and probably washing it down with a sweet glass of Pinot Noir and God has zero problem with that.

See you tomorrow.
Amy

Happy Birthday, Kim!

Today is my sister’s birthday. Technically, she’s my “half-sister” as we share different fathers but we never refer to each other in that way. She is my mom’s first baby girl and she was quickly followed by 2 more little sisters before our mom and their father divorced nearly 6 decades ago.
In truth, Kim and I are dissimilar in a multitude of ways ~ both physically and otherwise ~ we’re not opposite, but definitely different. She is, however, a part of my very earliest memories. It was always a treat to me to have my sisters visit when I was very small because my little brother wasn’t born until I was almost 6 and without my sisters, I was an only child and had to entertain myself. When my sisters would visit, there was far more play and fun in my home. Swimming in the pool, playing in the yard, someone to play Barbie’s with, someone to play dress up with and, naturally, my mom seemed so much happier with her 4 girls; more complete.
My sisters visited us often and we visited them often, too, as my memory serves. It seemed pretty normal to me, I suppose, since we only really know what we ourselves experience.
As I became a teenager, the visits from my sisters became more individual. They each had relationships of their own by that time and didn’t flock to my house as a trio as they had before. It was then that my relationships with each sister took on more importance and began to be more clearly defined.
KimKim became a steady rock in my life. If I needed something, she was there. No questions asked. When I was in a car accident at the age of 17, she was there. She came to a few high school football games with me and I pointed out what guy I had liked the week prior and the one I was currently interested in. She was my Maid of Honor. She lent my husband and I money to get a used car when we had a little baby and needed reliable transportation. She plucked Devon out of the pool once when Devon took a nose dive and I sat paralyzed with fear. (Please note that she was dressed in business attire and I was in a bathing suit). We played on a co-ed softball team together, drank together (she was never much good at that) and did Disney a dozen times together. She came and helped me take care of newborn Nicolas when I suffered an ear infection. She’s my “go to”.  Now, we have had plenty of fights. Plenty of disagreements but also plenty of fights….I have a permanently crooked pinky finger from one such episode and we were adults!
She makes me a little crazy at times and I’m sure I reciprocate but that’s what sisters do, right? Make each other a little nuts?
Anyway, she is 60 today. So Happy Birthday, Kim…. thanks for always being there for me. You’re a great sister….in fact, all 3 of my sisters are great. They helped take care of my dad last year every bit as much, or more, than my brother and I. I am truly blessed to have 4 siblings.

Be blessed!
Amy

It Was A Good Day

I spent the day with one of my favorite people today! We had facials (thanks, Massage Envy), lunch (nope, didn’t break the fast!), did some Christmas gift exchanging and even shopped for little Killian (grandson on the way. Woot woot!)
I don’t want to brag or anything but I have two really funny kids. I love their hearts and just love hanging out with each of them but their personalities make me laugh and laughing is really good for this momma’s soul.
Currently, I’m really enjoying Devon developing in her upcoming role of being a mother. She has this tiny little baby bump~ it’s barely noticeable to someone who doesn’t know her, I’m sure..but watching her walk around looking at infant clothing~ already thinking of the practical things like little pants that snap versus little pants that slip on and off is almost surreal. The little baby Devonthat I birthed and raised through her precocious toddler years through her first day of kindergarten through a move across the entire country as she entered middle school. This pre-teen who blossomed into a fantastic athlete and a beauty all wrapped up in one. This teenager who made another cross country move as she entered high school and did it with ease; trying out for cheerleading and making the Varsity squad as a freshman and being the starting shortstop on the softball team each year. This young woman who brought home a young man she had known for all of 4 months and announced they were getting married. Devon…..this kid who has always known what she wants and somehow always gets it.
I hope her son is just like her~ that you-only-live-once attitude and ability to laugh through life.
It was a good day…. in fact, she said those very words when we were on our way home from doing girl stuff…. and it was. A really good day.

See you tomorrow.
Amy

Hoping and Wishing

I realized something about myself yesterday afternoon that kind of surprised me. In fact, it really disappointed me to my core.
I discovered  yesterday that for all of the praying that I do (which isn’t nearly enough), I had overlooked praying about a very, very real need in my extended family. This particular need, I realize now, involved someone who doesn’t really invite God into his daily life and so that affected my unconscious decision to not bring his need to God.
I let someone else’s walk with God affect my praying for a need they had in their life.
I didn’t pray on behalf of a person who needed someone to pray on their behalf.
I have prayed for other people struggling with their faith but not for this one person I love and care about. Why??
Ugh. That’s really ugly.

When I would talk to this person about their need, their demeanor would either be hugely obstinate or slightly welcoming, depending on their mood. Whatever the case, I’d usually say my peace and walk away…..and hope they’d do the right thing. I’ve done a lot of hoping and wishing and talking….but no praying. This has gone on for years, friends. Hoping, wishing, talking, hoping, wishing, talking, etc.

And then I started the fast on Sunday night.  The fast also coincided with an online study I facilitate that happens to be on the subject of Prayer at this time. So I’ve got my bible study guide out and I’m fasting and I’m writing down my specific petitions to God and I come across a page in the study guide that asks me to focus on praying for my family.

I wrote these down Sunday night....
I wrote these down Sunday night….

Immediately, 6 very specific things came to my mind and I jotted them down~ it was easy to write them out. So, I went about my reading and as I went to bed, I prayed aloud (I’ve learned this~ speak out LOUD) and when I got to the specific prayer that I had only hoped and wished for, I asked God to intervene. To make a way. To make a way where there seemed to be no way….to make a way that had always been refused or discarded before.

And, then, yesterday afternoon….God made a way. A very emotional decision was made that resulted in temporary personal sacrifices but will, I believe, result in a lifetime of personal peace and wellbeing.

Now, the unbelievers and the skeptics will say this would have happened whether I prayed or not. The unbelievers and skeptics will say it’s just a coincidence and I’m certainly not taking any credit for this at all…..I just know God put this gigantic need on my heart and I prayed for the opportunity to be presented and for the opportunity to be received. And it happened. You’ll notice to the right of the prayer request itself is another place to list praise reports. THIS is a big one!

Physically, the fast is really easy so far. I’ve replaced coffee with hot water w/lemon (grateful I don’t have a caffeine dependency lemonlike my husband does…he had a bad headache yesterday), I’m eating plenty of fruits throughout the day and enjoying 3 good meals. I’m totally good.

Spiritually, the fast is incredible. I expected irritability and have had great peace. Things that would normally frustrate me haven’t. I’m staying focused on my intentions throughout the day and not being distracted by setbacks (or what I see as a setback). I’ve got energy and I try to use it appropriately instead of mindlessly turning on the tv or some other time waster. Now, I was invited to someone’s house for a dinner/meeting last night and couldn’t partake in her wonderful cooking (and it looked delicious) but I went and made it through just fine. This can be done…..and it can be done without the grumbling. Life is all about the attitude! If we make the fast about the food and not the prayer, we’re missing the mark. Completely.

See you tomorrow!
Amy

 

What I learned from the NFL

Was this a weird weekend for football or what?  Wait….you DO watch football, right?
If so (and you should), you know the Bengals lost last night in the last couple minutes of the game. They had the game in the bag and….well, it was a tough loss.
Then, this afternoon, the Vikings had a chance to beat the Seahawks in the last play of the game with a field goal and….well, it was a tough loss.
Sometimes, things don’t go our way. 2015 is a prime example for me~ I couldn’t catch a break at all! But, as I was watching these games and thinking about it just now, I realized there was much to learn about what happened.
As broken hearted as the losing team was (and some were crying, friends. Grown, gigantic men unable to compose themselves when the agony of defeat took over)….as broken and angry and frustrated and sad as they were, they will not quit playing football. They will likely retreat for a bit to process the setback to their dream and then, at some point, they’ll throw the ball around a little bit. They’ll be able to talk about the defeat and not cry. They’ll suit up in full pads and show up to training camp. They’ll be back on the field for the 2016/2017 season and the difference will be that they will take the experience with them. They’ll understand more clearly how sweet victory is because they’ve been on the other side. They’ll appreciate the wins a lot more than they ever would have without the loss. One thing is for sure, though; they’re not going to quit. They have resolve.

Life is kind of the same, isn’t it? We can let some relational, financial, emotional or medical setback take us out of the game entirely if we forget that quitting isn’t an option. Resolve is the key. Make up your mind to not quit and instead learn from the experience… that’s all we need to do!  I prefer the idea of suiting up and taking the experience with me so that when I WIN, I will appreciate it all the more. It will be sweeter. I won’t take it for granted. I will learn from it. I will use it.

IT WILL NOT USE ME

The fast is fine. I drank a lot of water today and spent a great deal of time dealing with a full bladder but I’m good… I’m committed. I’m absolutely, 100% confident that God is going to provide breakthroughs in the next 21 days and so I’m not freaking out about the lack of dessert and coffee~ I’m feeling pretty blessed that I can eat until I’m full and God smiles upon me for this little “sacrifice”.  Seems so little for me to do, really……this was breakfast.

breakfast

Tomorrow, I begin facilitating my 6th (I think it’s the 6th?) online bible study with “Love God Greatly” and our curriculum is PRAYER. How awesome is that timing! The fast is in full gear, the bible is open and my time spent in prayer is ramped up. This is spiritual warfare, friends, and I’m ready.

I’ll see you tomorrow.
Amy

Prep for Launch

I’m officially beginning the Daniel Fast on Sunday. If you’re not familiar (and I wasn’t until about a week ago), here’s  what I’ll be eating.

The Daniel Fast Food List

  • All fruit – fresh, frozen, dried, juiced, or canned.
  • All vegetables – fresh, frozen, dried, juiced, or canned.
  • All whole grains – amaranth, barley, brown rice, oats, quinoa, millet, and whole wheat.
  • All nuts & seeds – almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds; unsweetened almond milk. Nut butters are also included.
  • All legumes – canned or dried; black beans, black eyed peas, cannellini beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), great northern beans, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans, and split peas.
  • All quality oils – avocado, coconut, grapeseed, olive, peanut, sesame, and walnut.
  • Beverages – distilled water, filtered water, and spring water.

Other – unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, or soy milk; herbs, spices, salt, pepper, unsweetened coconut flakes, seasonings, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, soy products, and tofu.

Now that we’ve all gasped and asked ourselves “Where’s the coffee?” “Not even 1 glass of wine?” “What about Grandma’s casserole on Sunday?” “What about that event I’m going to with an open bar and limitless food?”, let’s put on our big girl panties or our big boy boxers and look at the bigger picture.  We’re going to live. No one has ever died from eating fruits, veggies, nuts, grains, beans and drinking water.   In fact, that processed garbage we’re normally eating? THAT kills us.

Anyway, I have to prep for it. No, not just by eating what’s left of the ice cream in the freezer so it isn’t a temptation for me. I have to really, really enter into this thing with a clean heart.  Before I write another word, I want to say that my doing a fast doesn’t make me any better or more spiritual than you. I just really, really want to allow God-intended order into my life and want to share this journey with you. Here are some great tidbits that I’ll share with you in case you’re feeling mildly curious or even wildly enthusiastic about fasting with me!

lifelifter05

1. I have to examine my heart for any sin~ confessed or not. When I take this stuff to God, before the fast begins, and ask for forgiveness, He wants to know if I’m suffering from worldly-mindedness, self-centeredness, spiritual indifference, unwillingness to share my faith in Christ with others, not spending sufficient time in God’s Word and in prayer, a poor relationship with my spouse, my children, my pastor, or other members of your church. In other words, He kind of wants us to own our part.

2. There are going to be some highs and lows on the fast. The lows aren’t because we’re hungry; it’s because we’re being deprived of what we think we deserve. (ouch!) The lows are also because our bodies are getting rid of those nasty 1toxins…. we’ve put plenty in so it takes some time for them to escape. Okay, so knowing there WILL be lows, how are we going to handle those? Quit and eat a steak? Nooooo…….. we’re going in to the fast prepared and committed.  Before we start fasting, we MUST go to a quiet room, shut the door, sit down, and take some time to think about why we’re doing this. Healing? Better health? Clearer thinking? Fine. But is that enough to sustain you during The Downs? No, go deeper. What is the purpose of your life? What does God want you to be doing that you’re just refusing to do? What addictions does he want you to be over and done with for real? Your fast is as good as its purpose.  My purpose is very clear and concise and I’m not wavering. 

3. Write your purposes down and tape them to your wall where you can see them every day. Before we can exercise outward authority, we must first effectively exercise it inwardly. This is why first fasts tend to lead inward, I’ve read.  Be specific with God~ if you want His direction in Your life, ask for it. If you want to be a better husband or father or mom or friend, ask Him to direct your steps. If you want to establish a closer bond to God himself, ask for it…..but expect to surrender some of what you’re holding on to that’s preventing you for being all of those things. Those things are toxic, too. We’re purging, people! By faith we can expect a reward. God will reward us in fasting if we seek Him in the right way and with the right motives. (is it okay to remind you that God isn’t going to bless something that isn’t in His word or will for you? So don’t ask God to break a covenant you’ve made. Don’t ask God to give you permission to rob a bank. However, DO ask God to strengthen your covenant or provide for your financial needs.)

4. A fasting partner is also incredibly helpful in those moments when you’re having a SNACK ATTACK! Having someone to share fears, doubts and struggles with is also beneficial. But the most advantageous part of fasting with friends is the shared celebration! Victory is even sweeter when we have someone to share it with. I’m sharing this experience with most of my church and (prayerfully) a few of you.

I’m getting the stare down from my pit bull who believes it is now Frisbee time. Looking at the clock, I see she’s right! I told you she was gifted…….

With that said, I’ll see you tomorrow. With my water.
Amy

 

 

Even If They Don’t “Deserve” it?

I couldn’t wait to get back to you all today. Words and ideas are making their way back around the dark corners in my brain, becoming familiar with their long lost surrounding once again. Like old friends meeting in an unexpected venue and chatting like they just saw each other. 🙂
Writer’s block was not my issue; I had a zillion things I wanted to say but no English words to convey them~ at least no English words that this girl associates with. Today, as I was going through my normal routine of working, dog playing, cleaning, laundry sorting, studying and watching 25 minutes (including commercials) of horrific plot lines on the Bold and the Beautiful, I kept wondering what you might want me to write about. After all, not everyone likes Jesus talk. Not everyone cares that my rescue dog is more gifted than most children. Not everyone thinks my first grandchild coming in June is epic. (Well, those of you who think that are just wrong.) The point is….it’s my blog. So, you’re kind of stuck reading about whatever is processing through my often confused logic and point of view. If I write about something that doesn’t interest you, you have a choice to leave and never return but I’m kind of like the Florida weather. If you’ll just wait a minute, I’ll change direction and you’ll probably find something to like.

So, today, I heard on the radio that we should examine the 3 people we honor most. Nope, you don’t get to gloss over that sentence…really consider who you honor the MOST. blog 2
Who do you esteem, respect and admire?
Do you honor them with your time and respect or do you just honor them with no action or intention? We’ll get back to that but if you claim to honor someone and there’s no evidence, you don’t honor them. You might need to grab another 3 people…. and you might need a refresher on what honor is. This was really fascinating to me….

Honor is about placing other people’s needs before our own. It’s about choosing to lower ourselves to elevate others. 

Doormat, you say? NO. We choose to honor because we want someone else to reach their next level and we’re willing to bow down a little (ok, yeah, maybe even a lot) to help them get there. So here’s an example…. my mom. I love this woman but she can be a tad incorrigible. She doesn’t accept suggestions with a welcome mat; she usually meets suggestions with an about face and a healthy dose of attitude. Even so, I honor her (or at least I sure try!). So honoring isn’t always a holiday at the beach; it tells us who we are…what we’re made of. 

honorSo, if honoring is elevating, dishonoring is placing people beneath you. Choosing to focus on your needs before theirs.
Has your list of 3 people you honor most been rocked by this news? You thought you honored people well and now maybe you’re thinking “not so much”.
Don’t be so hard on yourself; we can all change. If we’ve gotten in the habit of DIShonoring, surely we can get in the habit of honoring, right? We absolutely can! I used to be the Queen of Dishonor.

I like to take a peek at what the bible says about honoring because it’s a lot smarter than me….

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you” (Exodus 20:12). God states no qualifier. He does not tell us to honor them only if they are honorable. Simply because they are our parents, we must treat them with respect. Boom! Doesn’t matter what they did or how they behave….place them above ourselves.

Wives should be honored. Peter admonishes, “Likewise you husbands, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).  Doesn’t matter if she nags or is emotional or suffers from PMS 30 days of the month. Men are often experts at finding fault, at discovering what was not done just right or what didn’t quite meet his expectations. Try to find ways to praise, honor, encourage, and promote growth and joy in the hearts of your wives. Honor her and God will honor you.

All older people should be honored as well. Leviticus 19:32 commands, “You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD.” Again, God includes no reservations or qualifiers. There is such overlooked wisdom in the elderly here in our country; it makes me angry and sad at the same time. Until recently, I spent one day each week taking my husbands grandmother, a 94 year old sweetheart, to lunch. She shared her stories (often repeated) and I honored her with my time and attention.

We should honor our children, our husbands, our pastors, our leaders……We are to honor one another, but do we? If we are not, maybe it is a sign that we think too highly of ourselves and not highly enough of others. This is God’s way: The more we give, the more we receive. The more honor we give, the more honor we will also receive.

So I learned a lot about honor today. I am happy to say that the 3 people I honor most remained intact. I don’t always do it perfectly (that’s an understatement), but I get back up and never throw in the towel. I will honor God and I will do my best to honor you all the days of my life.

See you tomorrow.
Amy

 

Almost a Year….

I love writing. It’s my creative outlet. Simply put, it’s about the closest thing I possess that mimics creativity.
I haven’t written here in nearly a year…and what a year it has been. Putting my thoughts down was an overwhelming task over the last 11 months~ things I had counted as concrete and unwavering in my life were suddenly missing. I felt a little like Dorothy when the house slammed down in The Land of Munchkins somewhere in Oz; disoriented, afraid and plain ole lost. It was as new to me as climbing Mount Everest or taking a rocket to the moon.
It’s my belief that when one suffers the loss of someone they love, a true and viable part of our heart literally feels as though it may break… the fragility of that brokenness is something that requires time. As far as time healing all wounds, I don’t know if I believe that’s true. Rather, I think the wound bears the scar and though the pain lessens, the scar is a reminder of what was lost.
Such was the loss of my dad. It rocked me. And right behind the loss of him, another loss followed. 2015 was unkind.

But I’m writing today so you know I didn’t give up (though there were days when I really, really wanted to). In the spring of 2015, I came scarily close to doing what the great avoiders do when life gets tough~ I looked for ways to cope that could take me away from the pain and make me forget. Sound familiar? Yep. That lasted about a week and when I realized there wasn’t enough wine in all of Florida to keep me sufficiently numb, I laughed at my stupidity and got real with myself.
Become a middle aged woman stuck in a bottle? No thanks. I’ve seen those girls and it ain’t pretty.
Or…. Go to God and let Him know I’m pretty much a mess (and He already knew), ask Him for some help (and He provided friends out of the sheer mist. Old friends who showed up in gigantic ways and new friends who walked out my pain with me, sacrificial Pastors and 2 adult kids who slam-dunked the funk out of me), and ask Him for direction (and He put me in all of the places I needed to be). I chose to live well. I chose to treat myself kinder and actually become better. blog 3
Anyway, that was 2015. Good riddance, you ugly monster of a year that only served to kick me when I was down. I only thank you for the opportunity to rise up and create beauty from ashes. Yep, there are still some ashes on the floor and everything isn’t quite beautiful yet but it will be. Faith says so.

 

2016 is here. It has ushered in the promise of my first grandchild~ due on June 1st and who will bear the same middle name as my father. Who knew it was possible to love someone else’s unborn baby this much? I have to resist the urge to follow my daughter around with a protective barrier to keep her from any unnecessary harm, germs or chaos. I’m closer to God than I have ever been (which is a little scary considering I used to work at a church). I don’t hate anyone anymore and I realized through this process I had hated a sufficient number of offenders for decades. I’m a better version of myself than I was a year ago. I love more completely (myself included!), I forgive with little effort, I cherish every moment spent with those I love and I know what a gift they are. I never, ever forget what a gift my family is. I no longer take time for granted.

So, yeah…..let’s talk about time. We all know it’s precious- sort of. We know but we don’t. We get it but we don’t. We think we have enough of it but there’s not. We squander it away like its replaceable and it sure isn’t.
 I’ve decided to take 21 days (that’s like a drop in the bucket, people!) to dedicate myself to fasting. I’m fasting to deepen my relationship   with God and to hear from Him in the truest sense of the word. Is water the only beverage I’ll be consuming? Yep. Will that be tough? I’m sure it will. Will I be purging any processed foods from my daily routine and focusing only on fruits and veggies? Yep. But here’s the THING. Here’s the big THING. It isn’t about what I’ll be eating or what I won’t be. During the Daniel Fast (the fast my church and I will begin on Jan. 10th), we’ll spend time examining our hearts and working to align our ways with the way of the Lord. God tells us to fast and pray and tithe, did you know that? I’ve never fasted a day for God in 51+ years of life so this is the TIME. I need to clear out the cobwebs and spend time some time allowing God to eliminate strongholds and things that keep me (and those I love) in bondage and I’m convinced this is the way. Hey, I’m not judging you if you don’t quite get what I’m saying. I never got it either until the scriptures were explained to me and people that I know well told me what it did for them.

I will not be deterred or discouraged in this process. Every day during the fast, I’m going to type out what’s going on in my life spiritually and when the fast is complete, I’m believing for big things. Things only God himself can do.  2016 is the year when I step into major blessings~ I’ve known it all of 2015. The valley is behind me and the victory lies ahead so I’m claiming it~ it’s rightfully mine and it’s promised to me. What things are you believing for this year? blog 1

Thanks, again, for coming over to the blog to hang out with me a little bit. It feels good to be back.

Oh, if you’ve fasted and don’t mind encouraging, comment here! I’d love to hear about it.

See you tomorrow…..
Amy