Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Today I rose at 4:00am to go open the YMCA. My Co-worker Don, a retired postal worker, urged me to stand outside and watch the sun rise over Lake Superior. So I did. It was a very spiritual moment for me and I learned a valuable lesson from it- which I will post on my 'Signs & Wonders' blog.

The last time I witnessed this event I was with my Best friend/First love, Paul. We were on a group campout and challenged each other to see who could stay up longest. We sat there under a blanket beside the fire ALL night watching the stars, dreaming, scheming and talking about life. (It was quite innocent) He was a kindred spirit- shy, but always interesting to talk to- we never seemed to have a shortage of things to say. It was so easy to laugh back in those days. Both of us were determined to outlast the other and before we knew it, the sun was rising, so we decided to enjoy the occasion and call it a tie. What a beautiful experience, a memory I will cherish until my dying day. As I stood there this morning, captive to the magic of Dawn and remembrances of puppy love, I wondered if he ever thinks of me and all the good times we had for 10 years? I may never cross his mind, but I whispered a prayer for him and his family. There has not been a day when I haven't remembered him. I hope that he has found true love and reasonable success...

I made my way out of bed and drove to work in darkness. Later as I stood watching the sky, a thin blue, red & pink band began to grow across the horizon. I heard the birds begin to sing in the Pines. Things continued to get brighter, then the sun itself began to peek out above the water line and for a few short moments, the lake literally looked as if it had a silver lining- beautiful! The distant memory of my very first sunrise warmed me. I felt a sense of calm and took this as a sign that the darker part of my life will soon be over. All good and valuable things take time- including the birth of a new day. Learning to breathe and to accept life for what it is with an attitude of thankfulness has always been a challenge for me. I'm a fixer, a planner, a go-getter. Every so often, God has to put me in a place where I have NO control- otherwise I'd be totally self-dependant.

I am determined that no matter how things turn out job-wise, in my relationship or in my future, I will never stop being thankful for the little things that still delight and amaze me.

Sunrises are one of those things...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

San Francisco

I was in Cali over the weekend, possibly my last performance with 'Message of Mercy'- at least for a while. Our concerts went well. We took a day to tour the city and I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. What fun!! I'd only ever heard from several people in the past that San Fran was a "filthy, sinful place of iniquity"- one which God has cursed.

Instead, I found that it is a very clean, friendly and beautiful place on the harbor. It's a wonderfully unique city with winding streets and trolley cars- VERY hilly there!! We girls enjoyed riding the trolley and walking up & down along the streets admiring the beautiful architecture and artistry of the buildings there. The air was fresh and clean and the scenary lovely! At one point, we were delighted to see a whole herd of Sea Lions sunning themselves on piers in the bay. Did you know that you can smell them, even from a good distance away because of their fishy diet? They are very social creatures and bark a lot. We had lunch in China Town- good food! I purchased a pair of silk slippers for $3. We were able to get a lot of good pictures. I will attempt to post some soon...

Contrary to popular belief by those who may have never been there, we didn't see gay men or women hanging all over each other everywhere. I felt very comfortable there. I did see one cross-dresser and there were many guys walking together, but not even so much as holding hands or a kiss. Now, maybe if I stayed there longer, I may have seen more public displays of affection (PDA's), but the way people had talked, I pictured gay couples being all over each other in public and trash laying in the streets. Not so!

Hmmmm, I've learned to be wary of anyone who talks as if they are an "expert" on a place they have never encountered. Likewise, beware of religious "experts" who may not have truly experienced God. Both can be incredibly misleading. ;o)

Monday, April 23, 2007

I'm SO Dense!

Yes, this IS a genuine, certifiable fact. For all the thinking and studying I do, I am quite slow. Must be, or I would've figured things out by now.

Some say I need to pray more, to surrender more, to work harder. I'm exhausted, so now what? Perhaps this is the point God wants each of us to reach so that we will finally surrender?? Yes, some firmly believe that God Himself is sending this long series of trials. I must ask, is this really the way God deals with us? If I were to beat someone up in a backstreet with a club until they could no longer walk, would they truly love and delight in me? Certainly NOT- they would be terrified. So to those who feel justified is saying these trials are the scourge of God upon my family- I THINK NOT!
Others say it is the Devil doing this. If so, then it is only because God allows him to have his way.
Still again, others say that it's simply a matter of making poor choices. How is following what you think to be God's leading a poor choice?

I give up! I'll do my best to muddle through and forget about trying to understand what God is trying to pound through my thick skull. Perhaps it will miraculously dawn on me just out of the blue someday, but for now- it's too exhausting to try and figure it out...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Plans of Mice and Men...

My man and I were up late several nights this week making an honest assessment of our situation and heavily discussing options- some of which are pretty bleak. The job we came all this way hoping he could start in April or May has not yet materialized. We are running out of time.... and strength. It dawned on us this week that perhaps time apart is what both of us need.

We got married quite young and due to the nature of his up-bringing/education, he feels he was unable to take time to figure out who he really is. Bottom line? He does not love himself, but how can you if you don't know who you are or what you want?? Jay still doesn't know these answers, or how to get there. He's slow to process things and has always been somewhat disconnected from, or unable to express his feelings. His mantra over the years has been, "I'm overwhelmed". He may need some time to himself to figure things out. We've been apart before- early on- and when we got back together things were much better for both of us. Now I may be Summering elsewhere with the kids while he puts the pieces of his puzzle together. NOT an easy thing to do and we've laid out a "fleece" before God about this. Sometimes love means letting go for a while. I care about this man and want what's best for him. It hurts to realize that I may not be what he needs. Reflecting on the past 14 yrs together and the many challenges we have faced, I cannot see what good- if any I have been for him. Yes, I've been a constant, caring presence in his life, but I've also been a drain on his shortage of time, energy and resources. My body presented him with mouths to feed before he felt ready to provide.

Oh, the plans of mice and men....

The question we are both asking at this time? Is it possible to thoughtfully and prayerfully make a life decision and still make a mistake? Does God always honor earnest effort or does He allow us to reach dead-ends for a reason?? The next step for us is homelessness... now what??
Being an optimist doesn't come without it's own set of challenges. I'm a dreamer- a risk taker, but looking back over the track record of my life, I'm not exactly sure that has been a plus. I love the song 'Anyway' by Martina McBride. AWESOME!! She sang it live on American Idol last night. :o)

I was raised to believe that if you love God, if you place every plan before Him and consult Heaven before making your moves, then your footsteps will always be sure, that God will bless and prosper you. I do feel blessed & prospered. My spirit grows while I feel the world around me is collapsing. It is the strangest of feelings. I am grateful for God's interest in my spiritual journey, but I'd like to see His hand in other areas of my life. What about my relationship, financial picture and future. What about the futures of our children??

For now, my goal must be to continue putting one foot in front of the other, finding the courage to smile and sing. My faith and resolve are being severely tested...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


One Fall, I visited an old country chapel in the middle of Cade's Cove, TN. This historic place was always spiritual ground for me. The people who lived there and built little farms in the clay had buried more than one small child beneath the soil behind the chapel. Women died in childbirth and the fever took many lives. They planted fields, fertilized with their own blood, sweat and tears.... only to have storms wipe out the entire crop. They knew the pain of hunger, the discomfort of tattered shoes, yet, somehow these people kept trying to make the best of their lives. I'm sure they struggled, but they didn't give up.

The chapel doors were wide open, it was a beautiful afternoon. I walked inside and took a seat in an old rickety pew near the front of the little sanctuary, where for hundreds of years, believers had met to worship God. It was not long until I noticed a fluttering of two Sparrows who had somehow flown into the chapel, but did not know how to get back out. They flew against the windows, against the ceiling, desperate to break free of their prison and reach the open sky. I can only assume they were a mated pair as one was male and the other female. They would ram their little featherweight bodies against immoveable obstacles repeatedly- I was sure they were killing themselves for the effort. After several failed attempts to gently capture them and set them free, I took my place on the pew again- helpless to assist them. However, as the sun began to set, light poured in through the open doors. It was only then that the birds knew what to do. They followed the light and emerged victoriously into the freshness of evening air.

My life has been quite challenging on several levels. I've never felt so alone or helpless. Due to our circumstances, my man is distant and has slipped into a dark place where I cannot reach him. He has tried for weeks to find work- no luck. Unemployed, he feels useless and wasted. I don't know how to bring him back into my world and honestly, it hurts to try. I cannot need him at this time, because he has little to give.
Sometimes, I feel like a tiny sparrow beating against a ceiling that will never let me get any higher or go any further. I'm not getting any younger, but I'm not giving up. I'm looking devastation in the eye and staring it down. I still have a fool's hope that things are going to get better.

Perhaps the truest measure of who we are is not how high or far we go in life, but how consistently we try to get there and how kind we are in the process. Some of us will try, succeed and be celebrated, but many will try and never realize the dreams that existed in us since our first remembrances. Some of the old ones sit pretty on fat retirements while others who worked just as hard lay in nursing homes with bitterness and disappointment, having lost what they loved most and wallowing in regret. We cannot know why this is, only God sees the reason. But, we have to try. When I heard the song 'Anyway' by Martina Mcbride I cried over it because it's exactly where I am and how I feel.

I don't know what great dreams, what passions beat within your chest. Failure to accomplish set goals is not always a reflection on the individual. We are all limited by factors such as funding, distance, time, circumstances, and the fact that life is short. If you're like me, you've lain awake many a night contemplating things and forging ideas of how to achieve your goals. We all have obstacles to overcome- this is not entirely bad. I believe challenge makes us stronger. Wish I could say with all certainty that you will see your dreams come to life. What I can say is don't give up hope and don't ever go down easy.

I still hope that somehow the light will shine for me...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Precision Athletics!

When I was in gymnastics, we thought the things we did were really cool. Our moves were NOTHING compared to these:

Friday, April 13, 2007

Permanently Flawed??

A fact about our existence recently dawned on me. Why is it we can only enjoy things to the fullest for a short time? Why does passion die and interest wane?? As human beings, we get excited about new things, and for a while maintain that enthusiasm, but after a few weeks, months, years, we become dissatisfied or take it for granted.

I find this is true for new toys, foods, jobs and relationships. Our senses do this too. When you smell a sweet fragrance for the first time- it's great, but after using the same perfume for years, you get used to the smell and it is no longer stimulating- thus we have dear little ladies with overbearing perfume. Perhaps they can no longer smell it without heavy usage? When I first started working on farms as a girl, the smell of animal waste was overwhelming, but eventually I got used to it and it didn't bother me at all. When I first started eating Mexican food, I could only eat really mild. Now, I'm able to eat hotter, but even that is getting tame. YIKES!

This same principle applies to the best hit TV shows which only run for so long. MASH and Friends being two of the top running series, but they, like everything else, eventually stopped drawing an audience. Wildly popular musicians eventually become 'has beens'. Trends change from generation to generation. Why do good things fade because of eventual lack of interest? What is it that turns fiery newlyweds into old bored folks sleeping in separate beds? Can you think of any exceptions?? Definitely aging and maturity have something to do with it. So is this a flaw in our characters or a blessing to our progression in life?

I wonder why this is the way we humans are? Is there any way to change it??

Friday, April 06, 2007

A Quote to Remember...

"There is one way to avoid criticism: Never do anything. Never amount to anything. Never get your head above the crowd so the jealous will notice and attack you. Criticism is a sure sign that your personality has some force." - Norman Vincent Peale