Friday, December 31, 2010

Keep Going and Don't Look Back ~

This is officially the last day of the year, tomorrow will be 2011. For the past couple of years I have made a timeline and posted all of the good (and some not so good) things that have happened throughout the year. I can truly say that this has been one of the toughest years for me to get through. I'm sad that the year is over only because I wanted it to end on a great note and time ran out too soon. So, instead of posting all of God knows what, I've decided that this time I'm going to look mostly forward instead of back. 
I've heard a lot of great sayings about not looking back, putting things in the past, moving forward. They aren't just words that someone said on a whim. I would be willing to bet that most of them came about because of an experience someone had that they wish they hadn't. Here are a few of them: 

"One problem with gazing too frequently into the past is that we may turn around to find the future has run out on us."  ~Michael Cibenko"Waste not fresh tears over old griefs." ~Euripides, Alexander

"Would you keep a chive on your tooth just because you enjoyed last night's potato?" ~From the television show Boston Common

"The past is a guidepost, not a hitching post." ~L. Thomas Holdcroft
"It's but little good you'll do a-watering the last year's crops." ~George Eliot, Adam Bede

"Living the past is a dull and lonely business; looking back strains the neck muscles, causing you to bump into people not going your way."  ~Edna Ferber

"If you have one eye on yesterday, and one eye on tomorrow, you're going to be cockeyed today."  ~Author Unknown

"Our past is like a footprint.  It only confirms we were there.  No burden on our future does it bear."  ~Jeb Dickerson

"Finish each day and be done with it.  You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can.  Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
The last one is my favorite and, Oh how I wish I could live it every day! Ralph Waldo Emerson was actually rephrasing something that had been said many years before, whether he knew it or not.
Philippians 3:13

"I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before..."
So 2010 is another year gone by. It's time to move on and plan for the future, reach for the things that are ahead. My one New Year's Resolution is that I would not spend all of my time struggling and working but that I would spend more of it with my family and friends, doing things that matter. Nurture my relationship with God. Participate in more events that are worthy of picture-taking. Make new friends. Visit old friends. Smell the roses. Enjoy the coffee. Don't give people more of me than they deserve. Say NO. Say YES! Get caught up in some things. Get over some things. Get a hold on some things. Let go of regrets. Forget the past and move on

~ Welcome 2011! ~

Monday, September 13, 2010

He Knows What We Need ~

I have been keeping something to myself all this week. I wanted to savor it and remember it in my head all on my own for a while before I shared it with anyone else. You may think that you can hide your thoughts and feelings from God but that is where you are wrong. And just when you need Him most, He will meet you in the oddest of ways and leave you with your mouth hanging open in awe.
So I work the odd shift from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. From 5:30 to 7 I am all alone and I usually spend this time finishing up with work, answering phone, sometimes I write or find other ways to make the time pass. The volunteers in the information booth go home for the day and I automatically become the information booth as well. It is also during this time that my mind has the chance to wander to places it shouldn't. Places filled with worry about the future, doubt about myself and my capabilities, regret about the past, and a host of things that I battle with almost daily.
On this particular day I had taken that dark path again and was thinking of how I got to where I am now. A deep sense of regret and despair began to wash over me as I thought about what could have been, how life could have been easier for me, how I would not have to struggle with money or wonder about the future. I was thinking about all kinds of crazy things when a man came rushing up to my desk pushing a wheelchair. He asked me where the restroom is and all I had time to do was point in the direction before he took off running, shouting over his shoulder for me to please watch his wheelchair.
A short time later he came back and apologized and told me how embarrassed he was. I told him it was ok and said that I was sure he'd had a long drive. I never intended to have a conversation with him. It's not that I minded him talking to me but I just had so much on my mind. But then this is where the story took a turn and he said to me, 
"You know, eight months ago I lost my job. I had a good job and was a supervisor at a good company and suddenly I was out of work. I looked everywhere for a job and I was thinking how I have degrees and education and that I really should have a decent job. But no, that is not what God had in mind. So I applied for this job, transporting patients from here to there and I believe that God is using me in this way because if He did not have a plan, He would not have me doing this job. So I said, Ok God, if you want me to drive this van, then I will do it. I have a roof over my head. My daughters have not gotten pregnant and my sons have not impregnated anyone. I have a good wife and the bills are paid. God has provided for me and it might not be what I had in mind but it is His plan so this is what I do. And I thank God every day that He knows what I need."
And then he looked at me and said, 
"I'm sorry, I don't know why I just told you all of that."
And as I picked my chin up off the floor I was trying hard not to let the tears out from under my eyelids. I told him, "You have no idea... thank you so much for what you said." I have been struggling and wondering and questioning all of my circumstances for so long. Like him, I have an education and degrees and what an embarrassment to not be using them. Was it all for nothing? I had looked for work for so long and was so discouraged. Even now I could not see that I was blessed. I had a roof over my head, friends, a job, and so many more things. Maybe it wasn't what I had envisioned for myself at one time. Even so, God knows what I need better than I do.
As he was getting ready to walk away from my desk he looked at me and said, 
"You know what Jennifer? I'm going to pray for you. God knows what you need."
Since that time he has come back by a couple of times on his way to fetch a patient. He tells me that now when he prays at night he simply says, "And God, remember Jenny." He says that is all it takes because God knows already what I need. I wanted to keep this precious moment to myself, just between God and me. But now it is time to share it. Sometimes our situation, our circumstances, our station in life is not what we think it should be. But God knows better what we need.

You Can Have Me ~

I was on my way to work one day recently when a song came on the radio. I haven't listened to the radio in quite some time. I figure that with all the noise in my head lately, I don't have to put up with even more of it. So maybe everyone else has already heard this song by Sidewalk Prophets (one of my new favorites). It's called "You Can Have Me" and the first line goes like this:
"If I saw you on the street..."
So I started thinking about if I actually saw Jesus walking down the street in jeans and a T-shirt. And sandals, of course. I mean, we talk about "We shall see Jesus" and "I can only imagine" but forget all the golden streets and harps and glistening hilltops for a moment. Just pretend you are walking around at Sundance Square or Times Square, or whatever the square is called where you live, and Jesus walks up to to you in the flesh. (Nevermind the question of how you would know it's Him, that's a whole other blog). The next line in the songs says,
"And You said come and follow me..."
I don't know about you but I started asking myself if I really knew Him well enough to just up and follow Him. After all, He is not just some guy on the street, He's Jesus Christ - God. It is one thing to think of falling on your face before God as He shines in all of His glory and majesty. Its quite another for Him to walk up to you in street clothes.
I'm not trying to "dumb down" God. I feel horrible even saying it that way. I do not want to withhold any respect that is due Him or belittle the awe that I know I will feel when I see Him in the flesh some day. However, I have been thinking deeply for the past few days about how to be more personal and intimate with God. It is inconceivable to me that the Maker of the universe would even know my name, much less want to hang out with me.
I am longing to know the God that I can go to with everything and anything. The one that isn't "way up there" looking at me way down here.  I want to follow Him and just sit and converse and laugh with Him and lean on Him tell Him all of my secrets and fears. I want desperately to be able to say "You can have me" but somewhere along the way I misplaced my trust and can't seem to find it again.  But I will keep searching and trying and I believe that in time I will be able to give Him all of me.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


Before I got fired from my last job (yes, I said fired) I kind of lived in a psuedo-world of my own. I actually looked up the word "psuedo" after I had already used it here and it said, "not genuine but having the appearance of." That was the adjective form of the word. The noun form of psuedo is far more harsh: "faker, imposter, role player, sham, pretender, fraud, fake, beguiler, cheater, deceiver, trickster, slicker, - someone who leads you to believe something that is not true." Well good grief!  You may as well call me the devil! Raise your hand if you are also a Psuedo (pronounced soo'-do). Well if you didn't raise your hand then you are definitely a psuedo too.  To some extent we all are. I know there are some of you saying right now, "No! I'm really real! What you see is what you get!" Well good for you. Either you are lying or you have figured out something that has taken me all of my life to get.
In one of my last blogs I said that I had not written anything in a while because I feel I should only write something if it is truthful. For the last however-many months I have been searching for what is really the truth about myself. Searching = silent blog.
One of the first things I realized is that I have been living to please everyone other than myself or God. It's true. Oh, it was great if I pleased God in the process and even greater if I was also pleased. But mostly I just wanted to be cared for and accepted. It was a constant struggle between what I wanted, what others wanted, and what God wanted.
Secondly, and this may surprise some of you, I don't know God all that well. I've read about Him, studied Him, wrote about Him. I even went to Bible school and Seminary hoping that would be enough to prove how tight God and I are. Thing is, it ticks me off how many "God-hoops" I've actually jumped through to keep my psuedo-world orderly and intact.
So anyhow, like I was saying, that is where I lived before I got fired. You see, a psuedo-world can only hold up for so long until it starts to crumble. You have to make a decision as to what is more important. Is it really worth the effort to keep supporting and building up your psuedo-world? Or is it better to go through the pain of letting it fall down around you and be exposed? Sometimes there is not even a choice. In my case, I believe that God allowed that world to come crashing down. When I got fired, it was a turning point in my life. I could either get up and build a different world or I could hold on to the rubble and keep building among the ruins.  I chose to get up out of the ruins and build something different. I don't know what it is or what it will become but for once in my life I know what passion is. Yes, it is scary but it is also wonderful. Who knows what I may let you in on next...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

This Conversation...

I have been so tired lately. And pitiful. Tired and pitiful and I didn't care who knew it! First of all, I started a new job (one the God gave me) and it was great at first. The training was really fun and I made some new friends. Oh, not TOO close of friends because I have been standing my ground about not making friends at work. But these were people I enjoyed hanging out with. I suddenly forgot about all the times I said, "Just be grateful you have a job!" Because now I'm seeing that even when you have a job, if you can't pay all the bills, it can be discouraging.
Then there is the dog that God also gave me. Oh how he LOVES to lick his feet! And everything else he comes in contact with. I love him with all my heart but I actually thought about sending him to live with my mother for a week so I wouldn't have to listen to all the different noises (and smells) he makes. Maybe then I could get a full night's sleep without him scratching on the door in the middle of the night.
Oh, and let me tell you about the house that God blessed me with. I went to turn the air on and, well, it came on. And stayed on. All night long. But it was never any cooler in here so the repair man had to come fix it. Then he kept bugging me at work to sign some paper and fax it back to him.
I'm too big. The neighbors are too loud. Nobody cares about me. Maybe I'm not cute enough. I can't trust anyone. I'm probably going to get in a wreck and die. This is a stupid re-run! Why can't they EVER put anything new on TV? They are talking about me behind my back. Some people have all the luck but it's never me. I'll never measure up. When is this day going to be over? My back is killing me. I wish I even had enough money for a manicure. I think I'm going crazy. What if I have cancer!? I hope I don't get old and have nobody to care for me. This cake looks terrible. He's with someone else. Don't believe they are your friend. Trust NO ONE. Geez! Don't tell me the shower already needs to be cleaned again. I'm so sick of going to the store. I'm not in that great of a mood.
Do you get the picture?  Do you see where I am going with this? Well, I was sitting in front of my computer the other night. I guess maybe I have noticed this before but it never jumped out at me before like it did this time. I had just deleted an email and my computer flashed a sign that said,
"This conversation has been moved to the trash."
Immediately I thought to myself, "As it should be!" Then it dawned on me. How many conversations have I had with myself lately that needed to be moved to the trash? Or how many conversations have I had with other people that needed to be moved to the trash? In counseling we call it "negative self-talk." There is a technique that is regularly used with clients who experience things such as depression or anxiety. It goes something like this: The client is to have easy access to a pad of paper and a pen. At regular intervals throughout the day, he is to write down the thoughts that have passed through his mind. Doing this for a number of days creates awareness about the kinds of things we talk to ourselves about. I just did it a couple of paragraphs ago. Those were really my thoughts. I didn't know exactly how badly I had been talking to myself until I was getting them all out on paper, so to speak. Well, lately it has been a lot and that is disobedience to God in an ever-so-subtle way. The Bible says,
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." Philippians 4:8.
It does not say, "I suggest that you think about such things" or "Try as hard as you can to think about such things." It just says to think about them. Period. It doesn't even give us a choice to do anything else. I read several different versions and they all began with "Finally" which leads me to believe that is was the final word on the subject. It's like when your mother says, "That's what I said and that is final!" There is no argument, no choice there. It was final.
So anyway, the other part of the counseling assignment goes like this. Once you get the hang of monitoring your thoughts and listening to the ugly things you say about yourself, you start replacing them with better stuff. That sounds an awful lot like Philippians 4:8, doesn't it?  I did not say it was easy or fun. In fact, it is a lot of work. It is very disheartening to realize how negative we really are when we talk to and about ourselves. No wonder we get depressed and anxious!! I also know how difficult it can be to refrain from thinking the bad things and then letting them come straight out my mouth. So I've decided to rely on the following verse as my daily prayer,
"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer."
I know that it will take the strength of the Lord to change my thoughts and words. So starting right now, let me say that I am so thankful that I have a job and, although it doesn't pay as much as my previous one, I know God will take care of me. My heart is also full when I think of my little dog who licks eveything in sight because I know that he has a deep affection for me. I wouldn't trade him for the world and he is not going to stay with my mother for a week. God has blessed me with this beautiful house and is teaching me all kinds of wonderful things about how to take care of it. All of the previous complaints have definitely been moved to the trash!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Definition of Myself

I was in Bible Study class recently and one of the points of the lesson stated, "Do not allow yourself to be defined by your past mistakes." I think it hit home because I had been doing just that. I had imagined people looking me in the face and telling me that I was ok and then judging me behind my back. I could imagine them saying things like, “I can’t believe she did that! Poor girl really messed her life up this time.” Or, “Well, she knew better than that and now she’ll just have to deal with the consequences.” In reality, I’m sure there may have been some people who have said those things. Shoot! I’ve said those things about myself!
It’s like the football player who ran the wrong way. Now I’m not much of a football fan so I don’t know who this guy was or what team he played for. But I do know that there is only one direction to run in that game for any one team to get ahead and this guy ran the opposite of that. The opposing team didn’t stop him because he was scoring points for them. He thought all the people screaming at him were cheering him on. Later it was said that he felt like that one mistake had ruined, not only his career, but his entire life. He defined himself by that mistake and by what people may have said about him afterward. No matter how well he had ever played before or after, that is the thing that people would always remember. He knew the rules to the game. He knew better than to run the way he ran. I don’t know what happened so I can only speculate. Maybe he got confused and disoriented during all of the excitement of the game. Perhaps he was under a lot of stress to perform well and it overwhelmed him. Possibly he was distracted by the prestige of being a star or maybe he hadn’t gotten enough sleep. We don’t know!! What we do know is that he never really recovered from his mistake. In a way, it is somewhat understandable. On the other hand, I wish he had been strong enough refuse being defined by that debacle because it has led to a life of misery for him.
For me, I refuse to be defined by the mistakes I make. I know my failures and shortcomings. Most of the time I am tempted to take only those things in to consideration when I inventory my life. However, from this point forward, I intend to define myself in a different way. I’m a child of the King, a member of royalty. As such, I am blessed with a rich heritage that, yes, makes mistakes but is able to rise above them with grace and honor. Because I watch my Father and try to imitate Him, I have developed a character that proves to be strong. I have found a strength that causes me to persist even when people tell me I can’t make it or that I’m ruined. I’ve learned to take things in stride and trust that my Father is in control of the entire kingdom and is negotiating for me. Because I am His offspring, I care for people (sometimes too much), I forgive, I love, I respect, and I give. I am honest and kind and I have a genuine interest in the wellbeing of others. So remember me as “the girl who messed up” if you are so inclined. I refuse to be defined that way. I hope you also will take an honest inventory of your life and decide how you would like to be defined and just go for it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

It's Not Over Yet ~

I was sitting in church last night. It was Wednesday evening and since I have not been a member of this church for long, it was only my second Wednesday evening service to attend.  The singing was absolutely beautiful though! On Wednesdays they sing acapella - without music - and the sound of the voices blending is astonishing! You can feel the Spirit sweeping across the building, soaking in the praise and worship.
The sermon came from Acts 8:26 - 40 and it is about the Ethiopian eunuch.  In case you do not know, a eunuch is a man who has been castrated. That way, when he is guarding the queen he will not be able to sexually assault her or carry on an inappropriate affair or get distracted from his duties. It was explained to us that in that day, eunuchs sometimes became eunuchs because they were forced to.  On the other hand, some became eunuchs because they wanted to rise within the ranks and that was the only way to do so. Now I'm not a man but I couldn't help but ask myself right then and there "who would DO that?!"  Aparrently this eunuch had become a eunuch in order to rise in the ranks, to climb the corporate ladder, so to speak. His chariot was the equivalent of a private jet and he owned his own copy of Isaiah, something that was very impressive!  It still doesn't seem worth it to me. Anyway, the Ethiopian eunuch had just been to Jerusalem to worship; however, he did not get saved there. He got saved on the way back when the Spirit miraculously told Philip to approach the chariot and stand beside it. It sounds to me like God was asking Philip to eavesdrop... but whatever. It so happened that when Philip approached the chariot, he saw the eunuch reading the book of the prophet Isaiah. The eunuch didn't understand what he was reading so Philip explained it to him and the eunuch ended up getting saved. But actually, that is not the part I wanted to talk about here. I just had to go through all that to get to the good part. It was at this point in the sermon that I got distracted because I got hung up on a verse that the eunuch was probably also reading from Isaiah 56:3-6:
3. And let not any eunuch complain, "I am only a dry tree." 4. For this is what the LORD says: "To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant- 5. to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off."
In my mind, here was a eunuch who had worked very hard and had given up everything to become a high-ranking official. He had even given up his most precious body part, the one part that would have enabled him to leave a legacy by taking a wife and having children. At this point in his life, I'm assuming that the eunuch discovered that he longed to be able to have children so that his bloodline, as well as his legacy, could continue. Instead, he saw himself as "a dry tree."  What he had done by becoming a eunuch was irreversible. Some things don't grow back. And some things can't be undone.  Lots of things he would have been able to change, but not this.  Even though he had done it for what seemed to be an honorable cause at the time, he would give anything if he could change it back now. But he couldn't - not ever.
And that is how we are. Life goes on and we do things that we can't undo or that we can't change. Ever. We long to have a future and a legacy to pass on but it seems so hopeless because of that one unchangeable decision. We cut off a body part that was most valuable. Or cut off a relationship that meant the world to us. Or we turned our back on our calling. Maybe you had an abortion or gave up a baby for adoption. Or maybe you searched but didn't find that person to spend your life with and now you are getting older. There are so many things it could be but the bottom line is, it seems hopeless because of a decision you made. You've lost the one thing that could have meant a future for you and you can't change it or get it back.
But take heart! Satan never has the last word. It is not over yet! The Lord said that if we will choose to keep His Sabbaths and if we choose to do what pleases Him and if we hold fast to His covenant, then we will be remembered by something even better than what we thought, had we been able to undo that one bad decision. God is so gracious. Though our actions have consequences and are sometimes painful beyond words, God will still give us the chance to leave a legacy if we cling to Him and strive to please Him.  Another verse that comes to my mind is Jeremiah 29:11:
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." 
I could go on and on because these past few months I have had times when I felt hopeless and that my life was finished. Regret colored many of my days with despair and my heart was heavy as a rock. I was like a eunuch who longed to have a family and nothing could change my situation. But now, I have heard from the Lord and been assured that my life is not over. I don't know what the future holds but I intend to walk closely with the Lord and cling to Him so that I can find out. Now honestly, I do love going to church and I did hear part of the sermon last evening. I just happened to get stuck on my own sermon and it was definitely one God wanted me to hear. Please don't give in to the notion that God is finished with you or that it is too late to prosper for His kingdom. He is capable of anything and you have no idea what He has in store. It's not over yet.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Fort Worth Rodeo ~ Yeeee Haaawwww!

A friend of mine scored tickets to the Fort Worth Rodeo for Friday night. Not only did we get to go to the rodeo, they also fed us a brisket and sausage dinner, complete with beans, cole slaw, potato salad, rolls, and cookies. Delicious!

This is how the rodeo starts - with the 6 flags over Texas riding out on horseback. After they take their places the participants and sponsors ride out to join them. My favorite part is when they passed by the AMERICAN flag. At that point, all the cowboys took off their hats and held them to their chest. It was almost a tearjerker for me.  Then when everyone was out, they said a prayer and we sang the Star Spangled Banner. Oh Lord, was I trying to keep my composure!!

These are two of my favorite people in the world! Cooper (left) is 10 and he calls me his "second mom." When his first mom isn't around, he just calls me "Mom."  :)  Matthew (right) is 9 and he was a bit disappointed that we didn't get to go to the petting zoo. We did, however, see Elsie and her baby, Bouregard.

Of course, Cooper wanted to take some picture with my camera and so I had to put on my very best face!

This is tough to see but it is a picture of what Texas kids do for fun. They let loose a whole herd of calves and whoever caught one got $500! Even the ones who didn't catch a calf got to go home with a new pair of Justin ropers. Those are boots, for you city folk :)

My mother does beautiful work ~

This is my back door. Isn't it beautiful??

For about 6 weeks after I moved in, this door had nothing over the window. And although it is in the back of the house, I just had a feeling that when the train went by the conductor could see right into my house. It was also kind of scary at night, especially when I got up in the middle of the night to get a drink. I would walk into the living room and see my reflection and freak out, thinking it was some wild woman standing right outside my window. So my mother, who is very crafty, came over and made this beautiful curtain to go over the window. It is difficult to capture the beauty of it in a picture but it is turquoise blue with a turquoise and brown tie around it. Very snazzy!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

I'm a Mandarin ~

I just took an on-line personality test. I don't know what made me do it except I was trying to figure out what type of talents I have and I came across this test.  Well, guess what?
I'm a Mandarin!
And here's what that means:
You're an intellectual, and you've worked hard to get where you are now. You're a strong believer in education, and you think many of the world's problems could be solved if people were more informed and more rational. You have no tolerance for sloppy or lazy thinking. It frustrates you when people who are ignorant or dishonest rise to positions of power. You believe that people can make a difference in the world, and you're determined to try.
And here are my percentages as indicated by the test:
Talent: 46%
Lifer: 44%
Mandarin: 54%
Just go here to take the Talent, Lifer, or Mandarin quiz yourself!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Day Soap and Night Soap ~

I have tried a lot of soaps in my time. Facial Cleansers you might call them.  I've tried the really expensive kinds and the regular kinds and I've even tried the generic, off-brand kinds. You know, the ones that are supposed to be the same as the name-brand but the bottle usually has a really plain black-and-white label.  I've fallen for everything when it comes to cleansers for the face.  I've used the ones that burn like the dickens, the ones that smell like medicine, the ones that have moisturizers built right in.  I've tried them all because I have what you could call problem skin. My skin makes lots of oil which traps lots of dirt which leads to blackheads and pimples. On parts of my face, the pores are the size of manholes.  Ok, actually, I've seen a lot worse skin than mine but it is my skin so it makes it seem worse to me. Thus, the reason I have tried every cleanser known to mankind.
Recently, I found a new new one that is supposed to be used when you go to bed at night. It is purple and the smell is soooo soothing. The claim on the bottle is that it is full of elements that will relax you and send you off into a night of relaxing sleep.  I used almost the whole bottle before I determined that it had not, nor would it ever create a calming atmosphere for me in which to fall asleep.  So then not so long after that, I found another one.  It was orange and had little orange beads floating around in it.  The bottle claimed that when one used this cleanser, they would immediately be awakened with a burst of energy so that they could face the day. Well, if I wasn't going to get a good night's sleep as that other soap had promised, then I definitely needed a burst of energy the next morning!  So I bought that one too.  The rationale was that I would use the orange one in the morning and use the purple one at night until it was all gone. (I've never been one to waste anything).  However, as I was reaching for the orange bottle one morning, it slipped right out of my hand and landed on the floor where the spout promptly broke off.  I was disappointed because there was at least 3/4 of a bottle of it left and I had no way to get it out unless I took the lid off and pounded on the bottom until it came out.  I didn't have the energy to do that every morning - that IS why I bought the soap in the first place - to get more energy!  But then I spied the purple one, which had only about 1/4 of the soap left in it.  Now, I'm no math whiz but it doesn't take a genious to figure out that 3/4 + 1/4 = 1 whole!  So, feeling like I had won the lottery, I combined the two bottles of soap and ~ voila! ~ I had a whole bottle of brand new soap with a workable spout! 
That's when it hit me.  When was I supposed to use the cleanser? Now there were both day and night formulas in the one bottle.  If I used it in the morning would it put me to sleep? Or if I used it at night, would it keep me awake? Or would I stay awake only 3/4 of the day???  I didn't know, so I decided to jump right in and try it.  I picked up the bottle and noticed right away that the color was horrible. Orange and purple do not mix to make anything very pretty.  It was greyish-brown with a little orange bead floating here and there.  While that wasn't too appealing, I had to wash my face with something.  So I pushed the pump and a rubbed my hands together and brought them to my face.  I don't know who else is in this boat, but I was blessed with a very keen sense of smell.  The aromas of relaxing lavender and energy-bursting orange just do not quite go together.  It wasn't a horrible smell, but it wasn't good either.  It was more like... well, confusing.  It didn't make me want to throw it down but it did make me somewhat uncomfortable using it.  The whole facial cleanser thing was just very unsettling.  And that is when a fragment of a scripture shouted in my mind:
"What communion has light with darkness?"
That is all I could remember at the moment but I made a mental note to look into it later.  As confusing as this soap ordeal was, there had to be something more to it than just soap, or which soap to use for day or night. So as soon as I could, I looked it up.  The whole scripture in context goes like this:
2 Corinthians 6:14, 15 (NKJV) 14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial (Satan)? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?
It came to me then that God was reinforcing something to me by using a practical illustration, something that I had known all along.  God has a way of doing that because he knows where my mind will go before it quite gets there.  I had been contemplating something but when I read this scripture, probably for the umpteenth time, the struggle fell away and a peace settled within my heart.  I had done the right thing this time!  I had rejected the thing that had no fellowship with God, it had no place in my life.  If I let it in my life, it would vie for position of first place and I knew that Christ would not share that spot.  It wouldn't be like the day soap and night soap, competing with their colors and smells and little orange bursts. It wouldn't be just uncomfortable and confusing. It would be much more serious and devastating.  Maybe you are laughing and maybe you are thinking that this soap thing is a stretch of the imagination. God uses whatever He needs to use to get our attention. This time it was facial cleanser and this time it worked.  And just in case you are wondering, I continue to use that soap because I've found out that it works pretty well for my skin and also serves as a gentle daily reminder for my spirit.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

This Last Year ~

I did this last year because one of my friends did it and I'm a copycat. I'm doing it this year because I want to be able to look back and see what God has brought me through. I'm a little bit late because I seem to have had writer's block for the past couple of months. I even considered shutting down this blog (it's more for myself than for anyone else anyway) but I think I will hang in there. So here it is:

January ~ I traded my beloved SUV in for a compact car. Also, my divorce was final this month. I had no idea how difficult it would be but it took months to get through it and I may still not be completely past it.
February ~ Started working on the preparations for my parents' 40th Anniversary party. It was a lot of work but it was worth it. We are so proud of them!
March ~ I think this is the month I started working the day shift. Finally. We had the Anniversary party at the beginning of this month and it was a lot of fun!
April ~ This month I finally started making my apartment a home. I had lived there for five months already but I did so hated being divorced. I wasn't ready to accept it until around this time.
May ~ I started working for Mr. Korman at Hospitality Concepts. I love Mr. Korman, he is so professional and respectable.
June ~ Where was I this month?? I don't remember any of it!
July ~ Attended a mandatory First-time Home Buyers seminar that took up a whole perfectly good Saturday. Tug also was extremely ill the night before and the doctor said he had a stomach virus. I was so worried!
August ~ Looking for a house to buy, which actually started way back in June. August was some super-serious looking because time was running out. Then, just when I had given up, I found the perfect one!!
September ~ My birthday was this month but really nothing special happened for it. However, me, my mother, and my aunt went to San Antonio for a weekend and had a fun time. It was the first time I'd ever heard of a skunk egg. Yummy!!
October ~ Lost my full-time job. And that is all I have to say about that. I also started attending Richland Hills Church of Christ, a big shocker for me. But I love it and I am looking forward to meeting lots of new people and getting much more involved.
November ~ Closed on my new house and moved in! Still looking for a job.
December ~ This month is always fun for me but much of the spirit was dampened with worry and regret. I was still looking for a job. However, I finally came around and enjoyed celebrating the birth of Christ.
When I looked back over this past year, I realized that I had weathered some difficult things, some of them I haven't even talked about here. The second thing I realized is that I have learned something from all of it. In 2010 I plan to have more fun and make more memories than I did in 2009. I want to pack in as much as possible and really live life to the fullest!