Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Wake

                                                          Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey.

One poor day!
Remember whose and how short it is!
It is God's day, it is Columbus 's.
One day with life and heart is more than
 time enough to found a world.
--James Russell Lowell.

There is something about a death that brings people together. Grief welcomes others. It reaches deep inside of us bringing forth our innermost emotions of loneliness, sorrow, relief, immortality. We spend our days reliving the moments of our lives with this person. How can a lifetime flash past before us in a couple of days? Is that all that it is? Little moments, good and bad?

Death means something different to all of us. It all depends on where one is spiritually. To some it is a final act leading no where. How depressing! To others, a go between, a waiting room of forgiveness before entering Heaven. What was the point of the Cross then? For me, it means a celebration with my Lord. The final destination to my eternal home. I choose the third!

I have been to numerous wakes and funerals in my time, as all of us. Some were beautifully orchestrated with fine music, readings, testimonials and ornate processions. Only once did I find it difficult to find a pleasant memory with that person. Death is difficult for the family and friends to comprehend, especially if the person involved was young. Funerals are for the living to come to terms with the dead. 

This evening, I'm going to another. A brother of a good friend. They don't become any easier on anyone. Many tears have been spent and more will follow, but this is a necessary passage to everlasting life. Another stage of our life. Another Season to endure. Oh, the pain and the sorrow. Let us offer comfort to the family. God bless the Duggan family!

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A Tea Break

                                                             Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey.

Holy Spirit, Peace divine!
Still this restless heart of mine;
Speak to calm this tossing sea,
Stayed in Thy tranquillity.

Now, you all know I have given up coffee a little over a two months ago. It does seem like forever. To be honest, I haven't found a tea to be the substitute for the coffee I'm missing.

We have a store out here that has an entire aisle for just tea. Every kind of tea you can imagine. There is even one for breastfeeding, What? Yep, it's true.
My favorites at this moment are lemon basil, peppermint, mint and spearmint. Chamomile always works great for an upset tummy. Around here, we call it tummy tea.
Emily has drank green tea since she was a little girl and her body has grown so accustomed to it, she doesn't feel right if she misses her cup of the day.
There are several brands of tea out there depending on what it is that you like better. One can even brew loose tea leaves rather than using an actual bag.
I have noticed that certain brands are stronger flavored than others and it just depends on what you may like.
If you are interested in trying various brands, your best bet is to find a store that serves international food. The selection is so wide, beyond anything one has seen.
If you have noticed that many of them have the same ingredient which basically is green tea or black tea along with one flavor or another, like fruit, lemon or mint.
What is your favorite tea? Have you tried different brands or perhaps it doesn't matter?
Have a blessed day everyone.

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Lion, The Otter, The Beaver And The Golden Retriever

                                                                     Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                                       everyday is a journey.

Rise, O my soul, with thy desires to heaven,
And with divinest contemplation use
Thy time where time's eternity is given,
And let vain thoughts no more thy thoughts abuse;
But down in darkness let them lie:
So live thy better, let thy worse thoughts die!
--Sir Walter Raleigh.

Let's have some fun today! Recently, I've come across the following personality test from author Gary Smalley. Are you the lion, the otter, the beaver or the golden retriever? 

You receive a text message from a friend asking a question.  Lion – Respond using the fewest possible letters. It is quite possible that your text cannot be understood by the recipient. In fact, when asked later, you might not even be able to understand what you wrote.  Otter – Text back using as many words and emoticons as possible. Continue the conversation by inviting your friend to some event.  Golden Retriever – Pick up the phone and call them. Be sure to ask them how their family is.  Beaver – When you notice the message, text a short message back, but use correct capitalization and punctuation.

You’re approaching a door. There is a person about 25 feet behind you walking toward the same door.  Lion – “There was a person? What person?”  Otter – Hold the door, stick out your hand, and loudly remark “Where’s my tip?”  Golden Retriever – Hold the door, smile, and ask the person if they’re having a good day.  Beaver – Consider briefly the amount of time it would take to hold the door vs. your schedule to determine if it’s worth the effort. If you do decide to hold the door, you’ll enter it first, and hold it open behind you.

You’re given a task and some specific instructions on what to do.  Lion – Identify the most efficient way to complete the task and do it immediately. The instructions were just a suggestion for someone who didn’t know what they were doing.  Otter – Discuss it with your friends at lunch. Express your utter disbelief at the absurdity of it. When you finally do complete it, e-mail it back and copy in a few other people.  Golden Retriever – Next time you see the person who assigned it to make sure you completely understand what is being asked. Ask a few times to ensure you know how to please them.  Beaver – Prioritize the task among your other work. When you get to it, follow the instructions completely, even if you know a better way. Double check your work before submitting.

Havea blessed day everyone. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Clutter Free Life

                                                            Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey.

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrow lust of gold:
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
--Alfred Tennyson.

 There is nothing I detest more than clutter! It's no wonder that whenever I'm going through a trial or an issue, I feel claustrophobic and everywhere I look I see clutter. I have this huge need to clean it all out, every nook and cranny. I feel as if my whole life is a clutter and by cleaning out my closets or refrigerator, I've straightened out my messy life.

Why do we associate clutter with the mess in our life? Most importantly, why do we associate the word clean as a purification of the soul? Well, you know that saying that goes something like messy house, messy life? I believe it's true. Who can breathe with all that stuff? Half of it we don't even use, but it sits on our shelves or inside boxes just in case one day we might need it. Ridiculous!

Since our move, fourteen months ago, it seems we have brought back the clutter. Whatever we downsized, we ended up somehow refilling the space with other things. Partly, that's my fault. We have a larger apartment and it has been quite awhile since we have bought for ourselves or the place anything new. I've won a few drawings, giveaways and raffles from work. Well, you get the drift. 

Looking around I can't help, but sigh deeply. We really have fell backwards, haven't we? There's no time like the present in getting back on track. We can fall off and we will, but it's also important to get back on.  

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Just A Dream

                                                        Everyday is a brand new day,everyday is a journey.

Ah, friend, let us be true
To one another! For the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain,
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.
--Matthew Arnold.

Dreaming! We all dream while in the land of nod, don't we? What's funny is that we all have a re-occurring dream. You know the one I'm talking about. For me, it is always about yarn, tons and tons of yarn. The theme may be the same, but the scenery and act changes every time. 

My most recent one involved my father. I was in his house in Arizona, exploring every single room. I went down into what looked like a back room that had multiple boxes. In these boxes I found some yarn, quite a bit of yarn. I took it back into the room where my father was and sat down with him. I began crocheting a piece that I found in one of the boxes. It was an unfinished piece, just a small square. And he says to me that it used to be his Aunt Katherine's, that she used to crochet, too. I thought to myself, is this where I got this from?

This was just a dream. One of many that I have had over my multitude of years. Yet, it's always had yarn in it. It didn't matter if I was in the basement somewhere or whether someone gave me something, it always involved yarn. 

I think it might have something to do with the fact I consider my Ministry to be therapeutic for me, a blessing of sorts. It's no surprise that I would consider yarn when it pertains  to something good happening in my life. What do you dream about? Is it a re-occurring dream  with a particular theme? I would love to hear.

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Sunday Morning Nomad Pt.?

                                                                         Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                                          everyday is a journey.

Trials must and will befall;
But with humble faith to see
Love inscribed upon them all,
This is happiness to me.

These past few years, I've been a Sunday morning nomad, roaming from church to church not wanting to belong anywhere. After serving for over six straight years on a regular basis, I felt burnt out and in desperate need for spiritual rebirth within my soul. I had absolutely no desire to belong anywhere, let alone serve. 

For awhile that has served me well, visiting different churches and seeing how they run. I could go in and be part of the service without being part of the church family. I didn't have to make small talk with anyone. I didn't have to volunteer my services. I didn't have to get involved in someone's life.  I could go in and out like bandit.

Then we moved here. We belong to a very large Church here. I think we started coming there to almost be lost with everyone else. All because of our past volunteering and involvement in the Church, it sure feels nice to just sit down and listen to the Word of God. 

It all sounds great, but that's not what I thought it would be like. I thought I would settle down in one Church for life. Somehow, that's not possible anymore nowadays. People move now more than ever before. It used to be that a family moved into a neighborhood and settled there for life. Hence the one Church. 

I thought about that not too long ago. This place where we are at is not permanent. We're only here for a short while until I retire or the place shuts down. Then we move again, hopefully for the last time or at least, for me. Again, a new Church, a new congregation. When did I become a Church nomad going from one place to another? That was never my intention, nor was it God's. I would love to settle down for good and I cannot wait for that happen.

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Walking Boldly

                                                         Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey.

There lies thy cross; beneath it meekly bow;
It fits thy stature now;
Who scornful pass it with averted eye,
'Twill crush them by and by.

I'm not spending my life walking in fear. When I think about all the times I've been scared in my life, it makes me mad at myself. Being scared affected everything I did. It prevented me from living. Not anymore. This woman is walking boldly with no fear at all. At least, on the outside, lol. On the inside I'm shaking like a leaf, but that won't stop me from living out my life boldly.

This is my journey, my cancer journey. No one can walk that road for me, except me. The only person I WANT on that journey is Jesus to walk beside me and carry me when I no longer can go on. 

My grandmother was a fierce woman. A bold woman. She believed in not giving up. You may be sobbing hysterically and shaking, but you stand your ground. The movie 300 was written about her in mind.

I believe we all have that bold and fierce woman living deep inside us. When she comes out depends on the journey we are on. Sometimes, we're on a journey we don't want to be on. We fight, we make up excuses, we procrastinate. Anything except finishing that race. I've been there very recently. The more we fight it, the more difficult it can be for us. Which race do you want to be in? Which woman do you want to finish it?

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Restless Day

                                                                        Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                                         everyday is a journey.

It is the secret sympathy,
The silver link, the silken tie,
Which heart to heart and mind to mind
In body and in soul can bind.
--Sir Walter Scott.

Being off so many days in a row left me restless. Even though my days were filled with things to do, I still would patter around the apartment feeling lazy and listless. I realized that we need to work, to have a job. Or at least, I do. As much as I love being at home, occasionally I need to get out.

I remember Joey's kindergarten teacher telling me how she had to move the children around from one activity to the next so they wouldn't become restless. They would sit in a circle for story time and then they had art in a separate corner of the room. There was sit down at their desk time and another space for every lesson throughout the day. That kept them interested. 

It's the same in our lives. We cannot stay in one spot for the entire day. Even in a tiny house, every part of that tiny space has a purpose. This is where they eat or sleep or bathe, even if it is a small space. Separation is needed. 

So I spent my time fighting restlessness instead of perhaps being productive. That's okay, because sometimes we need to feel uncomfortable in order to discern what needs to be corrected in our life. For me, that means being very sure if I want to live Tiny. Could I live that way? 

God is speaking to us all the time. We just choose to listen when we feel like it or when we like what He is saying. What's He saying to you?

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Monday, February 19, 2018

Work And Treatment

                                                                       Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                                       everyday is a journey.

The thing that goes the farthest
Toward making life worth while,
That costs the least, and does the most,
Is just a pleasant smile.
That smile that bubbles from a heart
That loves its fellow men
Will drive away the cloud of gloom
And coax the sun again.

I was thinking the other day, how difficult it is becoming to be 
sick chronically and still be able to work. It's becoming more and more difficult to balance the two. As understanding and compassionate as the average workplace claims to be, their long term disability and policies take away from the financial side by reducing the percentage we will receive to almost half our income. 

Business is business and we should never confuse ourselves into thinking that money doesn't talk. No matter how compassionate they may seem, money will always win out. There is the exception to the rule, especially if they are a small family run business. Fmla alone is so full of red tape, we want to give up before we even begin. 

I think about these things, because I need to prepare financially for another re-occurrence. It makes no difference whether it happens or not. Preparation is the key.

The last re-occurrence, I thought I was well prepared for both financially and mentally. I set aside a month's worth of money thinking it would serve me until FMLA actually kicked in with approval. My pantry was well stocked with food as well as with bare necessities like toilet paper, shampoo, paper towels and so on. I was wrong. 

In the past, it normally took about a month for the paperwork to go through and my short term/long term disability from work to kick in. This time, it took nearly over six weeks. Those two weeks that I wasn't prepared for, involved my having to make prioritized decisions on what is more important to be paid first. Not a pretty sight.

The same goes for the mental side of it. Having had 4 re-occurrences, I told myself there's nothing that I could not handle. I've been there and I've done that. Boy, was I wrong! I never in my life thought that radiation would be so difficult for me to endure mentally. 

This just proves that we can never be too prepared for our illnesses to come back. Thoughts such as this are always on my mind. I'm always looking for a better solution, a perfect balance between this disease and my lifestyle. We can only improve from each treatment, each experience. 

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Group

                                                         Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                          everyday is a journey.

Sit down, sad soul, and count
The moments flying;
Come, tell the sweet amount
That's lost by sighing!
How many smiles?--a score?
Then laugh, and count no more;
For day is dying.

After much procrastination, I have finally decided to debut my Chronic Illness Group. You know, there are things in life that happen that are not in my control. I found that out during my radiation treatment last year. I didn't want to minister to anyone, but to myself, but God had other plans. From that to here. 

I put a lot of thought into how this group would work, what it should be about and what I wanted from it. The problem came from an unexpected turn. I love to write and for the love of me, I couldn't form a sentence to write a formal introduction and invite into the group. For some reason, I kept procrastinating with the grand opening of the group. 

Was I secretly fighting God once again? I'm almost sure of it. I know I have always said I didn't have time. but the truth is that anything to do with that time with radiation, I just want to forget. God had other plans.

Yesterday, after a very long wait, I sat down at my computer and wrote a small invitation on Facebook inviting people to join this group. I wasn't expecting anything from it. In fact, I thought to myself, who in the world would want to join? Well, the response has been overwhelming. God-1/lottie-o. Please pray that this group will help someone, that something good will come out of it. 

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Glasses

                                                         Everyday is a bran new day,
                                                          everyday i8s a journey.

Weary of myself and sick of asking
What I am, and what I ought to be,
At the vessel's prow I stand, which bears me
Forward, forward, o'er the starlit sea

So I've been meaning to get new glasses for years and years now, always coming up with reasons why it cannot be this minute. I have a way of putting off anything to do with me as if my needs weren't as important as my families. All moms do that. 

I think it has to do more with making the time to go. We all know it will take time and that's something very precious to us all. To be more honest, I'm just lazy. I could be doing something a lot more fun. At least in my own crazy mind.

I'm always amazed at how expensive a pair of glasses can be. You would think one is buying a car or something vital like that. The styles change from year to year. Mine rarely have. I seem to stick to the same boring design that sorts of blends in with my face. No matter how many times I've said to myself that I would go bold and change my look, it's a lie. I always choose the same design and the same color. 

Well, I finally did it. Emily's glasses literally broke right in half and I thought that since I'm here, I might as well get mine. 

So here I am, my new glasses and I! Have a blessed day everyone.  

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Garden Path

                                                         Everyday is brand new day,
                                                         everyday is a journey.

What's hallowed ground?
 'Tis what gives birth
To sacred thoughts in souls of worth!
--Peace! Independence! 
Truth! go forthEarth's compass round;
And your high-priesthood shall make earth
All hallowed ground.

Your story of pain and healing can be a pathway for others to follow in their healing process, too. It is our choice how we tell these stories and to whom.  it's our duty as Christians to share it with others.

Sometimes, we just want to hide and lick our wounds in private away from the prying eyes of the world. What good does that really do? Does it help anyone else? No, but it does feel good to sometimes have a good ole pity party.

Happiness is a choice. How we choose to react to things is our choice. Yes, I acknowledge that certain things can ignite our anger, our jealousy or our depression. I'm not beyond any of it. Believe me, I've had my share of all of these. 

Recently, I've had someone ask me how I'm able to still have faith since all these bad things have happened to me in my lifetime. Believe me, I struggled through the entire trials of my life. I kicked and scream and yelled bloody murder. I didn't endure with grace. What you see now is a product of 53 years. My garden path wasn't pretty, but mostly full of thorns. I didn't clear it alone. I had God walking ahead of me leading the way.

We often look at people's lives the same way we look at a garden. We see the beauty, but often we don't notice how much work went into it. And folks, there was plenty of work in that garden to get it to look beautiful! Let's learn to finish our garden path and I bet when we look back, we'll see the beautiful trail we are walking on.

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Beauty Within

                                                Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey.

O Light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine's blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

Let's begin today differently by being thankful in all we encounter and in all we do. If we walked out the front door with a positive and thankful attitude, the devil couldn't touch us. I think that the majority of us do just that, but then the world intercedes. 

I know I walk into work each and every day with a smile on regardless of how I feel. I try, really try, because I know this is the area where I struggle. I know my weaknesses and I'm sure that you do, too. The way I walk out is sometimes way different. Although, those days are becoming rarer. Thank goodness for that.

It's difficult to see the beauty within a person who spends majority of their time being miserable. Where is the beauty in someone who's tongue cuts like steel? It just doesn't exist. It's not the beauty on the outside that makes us shine, but what lies inside. 

The world today hides the beauty and instead we see their ugliness. There are days where I am saddened by what is happening around me. People are meaner out there than normal. The devil is running around rampart having a field day. 

Just the other day, both Emily and I had a particularly rough week. We came home to find a package waiting in the hallway. Of course, we checked the name on it to make sure it wasn't for us and went inside. This is like eleven at night. The next morning, that package is still there except for one thing, someone cut it open taking what was inside. They can't even steal correctly, they leave the empty package as evidence. 

That's what the world has become, taking without a qualm, what isn't theirs to begin with. If only we could truly begin our day the right way. If only we would make a promise to be better than everyone else. If only we all made an effort. Things might turn out much better for everyone. We all can make a change if only we put our hearts into it. 

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

White Noise

                                                            Everyday is a brand new day,
                                                            everyday is a journey.

I ask not wealth, 
but power to take
And use the things I have, 
aright; Not years, 
but wisdom that shall make
My life a profit and delight.

There is so much white noise around us on a daily basis, it's too difficult to hear that small still voice inside of us. Sometimes, I feel we choose what white noise we do listen to. Others, we cannot escape, but we do have to endure.

How would you define white noise? When I googled white noise, here is what it said: noise containing many frequencies with equal intensities.

Wow, that's everything. It's also very scary, because not all of us are strong enough to resist the negative and harmful things we need to be avoiding. Unfortunately, we are effected by the things around us. The more stress we have in our life whether it is in the form of a trial or just the everyday, the more we are affected by the white noise. 

It's true, you know. For instance, think of when you have a headache. You can pop all the headache pills you want, but if you're not in a quiet surroundings, it won't go away. Go home, take a pill and lay down in a peaceful setting, it will disappear. 

It is the same when we are facing struggles in our life. The hardest thing to do is to be still. Everything is being thrown at us and concentration is almost none. We cannot think properly, let alone make wise and sound decisions. How do we stay sane within the chaos around us filled with the noise?

For some of us, it is the hardest thing ever. You know what I do? I will endure it for as long as I can, until the weekend comes around and then I lock myself away. I won't answer the phone or turn on social media of any kind. I'll hide away from the world and surround myself with calming things. I'll refresh myself and my mind. You'd be surprised just how much one can get out of being quiet. 

How do you detox from all the white noise around you? Would love to hear from all of you.

Have a blessed day everyone. 

Yarn Bombing My Life

                            Everyday is a brand new day, everyday is a journey. Some murmur if their sky is clear, And wholly bright ...