Friday, September 18, 2009

Some Things Learned, Others Yet To Come

So far in life, I've learned a lot things and while I don't believe that when I die I can take what wisdom I have with me, I do believe it's with me and is a big part of what can shape my life while I'm on this earth. Of course I believe I can have "all the wisdom in the world", but without it being put to use I remain in ignorance.

Although philosophies and parables have almost always held my interest, I have learned that to know them is only but to know about them, but to live them is to understand them. I have learned that the idea of what wisdom is is among other things to be disagreed upon. I've learned that what one person calls ignorance, another calls bliss. On the other hand, I've learned that to some ignorance is bliss.

I've learned that while "silence is golden", it is also enlightening. I've learned that saying less is more. I've learned that many people, including myself (many times in the past), fear and dist-trust silence. I've learned that I appreciate silence more than elevator or B.S. conversation. I've learned that the only time I really enjoy words anymore is when they being spoken between God and me, and that I enjoy the casual words when most only when I am with my love and my family. (That's why I save them up for special occasions of spending time with them:):)

Now, my tribute to silence:

Until next time,
Love is peace,

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Prayer for Today

Dear God, thank you so much for my little dog, LiddyRae. Only you know how much I love her and how special she is to me. Thank you for allowing me to be blessed by her sweet and loving spirit and for all the smiles that her playful nature brings to me. Please help me to always be a great mama to her and for her to somehow know just how much I love her. Please keep her healthy, happy, and safe with long life and help me to always be able to keep and take good care of her. When I look in her eyes I see you and I think you are beautiful. Thank you for extending your love to me through my sweet little LiddyRae. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Beauty Of The Mountain

From the surface, it seems so dry and enormous. So much to learn, tame, and conquer. Learning survival is a must to overcome the mountainous ranges that stand ahead. One must decide what tools to carry along, according to what he/she believes serves best for his/her journey. Character can be transformed in the climb. Spirit can be stregthened or broken in the climb. Mind can be shattered or enlightened in the climb.
Life is full of mountains. Standing at the bottom can be a great experience. But, after so long of standing and/or journeying around the base of the mountain one develops the high potential become conditioned and rigid. To prevent the process of stagnation, one must begin to climb.
Not all paths are already drilled or cut out for the climber. There are times when the climber must work at claering and going about his/her own path. There are other times when previous climbers have been there and have already cut out a pathway which can serve as use to the current climber. Sometimes these pre-made paths serve and sometimes they don't. Reasoning varies from stregnth of the ledge or rock vs. weight of the current climber, etc... When this occurs, the climber must establish a plan, in which he/she must use his/her own tools, and work as best as he/she knows how to make a safe step to the next height of the mountain, which in the end still puts the current and past climbers having all reached for the same goal...the top of the mountain.
Sometimes it's nice to stop, rest, and observe on the way up. In these times, a lot can be learned and it can be a great time of restoration for the rest of the journey.
At the top of each mountain, the eagle's eye view makes the long climbs worth it all. Looking downward, the climber doesn't neccessarily count the steps it took to get to the top, but most likely recalls each increase in drive to push on upward.
Enjoy each journey. They are never as long as they seem.
"Til next time,
Love and peace,

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

In Silence We Sit

Sometimes its more, the knowing that someone who cares is sitting with us, than a thousand words being spoken to us. This blog is about that. I'm asking you to reflect with me on the gift of being without being alone. Today my heart needs someone to only be with me. If you want to sign your name to let me know that you are sitting with me in my blog room, that is a beautiful gift, but for this one, please no comments, just the gift of being in silence.

Psalm 121

Psalm 121
1 I will lift up my eyes to the hills-
From whence comes my help?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your
right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night. 7 The Lord shall preserve you from evil; He shall preserve your soul. 8 The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Power Washing

Ladies and gentlemen, family, friends, and neighbors, I am honored to have recieved an award. This is from my most favorite sister-in-law, "A", who also blogs at . She is an accomplished blogger. If you haven't read her blogs yet, follow the link and check her out.

I would like to pass this award on to one of my best friends ever, Sharon, who blogs at . She is a wonderful sister, friend, and blogger. You won't regret going to read at either of these blogspots. Thank you Amy and thank you Sharon for the one you gave me a long time ago. I didn't know how to do it then, and although you told me how, I didn't understand. Anyways, Here's to you guys:)

I want to be back at this place, lying stomache down on the rocks with the water running on my face. I want to feel the cleansing power of it washing away my worries and anxieties while cleaning the somewhat fogginess from my mind's eye. I want to be clear again in seeing my blessings instead of all caught up in asking, "Why?" I really don't want to stay there, although right now I feel I do. I just want to get away, God, to where it's only me and You.
I think I will.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tea & Crumpets

My job title is Caregiver, my job is being a companion. Servicing seniors in their homes is what I do for a living. Today, my primary client, Mr. John Doe (Oh, so you've heard of him, too??lol) gave a very special gift to me.

To help you understand a side part of this, Mr. Doe is from a country where tea is one of the highlights of the day, and the prefered drink with lunch and dinner. Not iced tea, but hot tea with sugar and cream. At first, I thought it looked kind of gross. But, after several days of watching him enjoy his tea so much, I decided to go home and try it myself. Hmmmm, that was pretty good.

Today, Mr. Doe was spending some down-time out on his patio, just watching the cars go by and scanning the sky for rain. I decided to make him some tea and serve it, along with some of his favorite cookies, to him. So, I did.

Mr. Doe is about as old as Mathuselum (sp?) and has the most beautiful european accent. After he sampled his tea and declared it good, he looked held up the cup, looked at me, and asked, "Are we going to share this cup?" I smiled because I knew it was his way of wandering aloud whether I was going to have tea with him. I smiled and told him no and that I would be right back with my cup.

As I sat with Mr. Doe and sipped on my tea and had cookies with him, a thought entered my mind. "I wander if this cookie, dipped in my hot tea, would taste good." I dipped the cookie into the tea and then took a bite. What??? That was Really good.

The longer I sat there in silence with Mr. Doe, the more I began to evaluate what was happening. I had just been given a beautiful gift. It was a gift I had wanted for a long time ago and now it was happening. The gift was to sit with a wise and dear old friend and enjoy each other's company in silence. There were no words for about 10 minutes and it was amazing how peaceful those minutes were.

When I remembered my wish from before, I thought about how I'd imagined that (not one in particular) dear "old" friend would be one from years ago, not in the literal meaning of old. God knows how much I love elderly people and I think this was God's way of not only granting my desire of the past, but also, I think it was His way of bringing a special comfort to my heart and soul, to put a soft touch on the ending of what felt like such a harsh week.

Today, I had tea and cookies with an old friend. I am blessed.

Until next time,
Love and peace,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Today was my first day in my Anatomy and Physiology101 class and then later my Phychology (Lifespan Development) class. It was exciting to drive to the campus where I once met my sister-n-law to sit as "security" with her as she waited on her classmates, when she was in school for nursing. I remembered the fun I had studying with her at Denny's once when she was prearing for a big test. I was excited that it was finally here, for me, too. When I got to class, I was one out of no less than at least 80-100 people. It was interesting and it was exciting to me that my mind was "waking-up" and recalling many of the things the instructor was talking about and showing us. I remembered things I forgot I learned way back in 2000-2001, in A&P during school for massage. This class definately seems like my choice of classes to naturally feel excited about attending:)

Later I would drive to the main campus and get to attend my first Lifespan Development class. That was another great experience. My instructor seems like a wonderful person, overall, with nothing less than an inspiring story of her rise from a poverty stricken upbringing in a foreign country where people would not "normally" reach their dreams of "success"to working, with sheer determination all the way, to earn and maintain straight A grades all the way through her regular school years, which would later gain her a scholarship to college where she became a teacher, then earn another scholarship and invitation to come to the U.S.A. and study at a great college, where she would earn yet another scholarship and go from her Master's to now, her Doctorate. I was honored to be able to attend her second-ever college taught class in America, today. She is a true gem.

I learned sooo much in this one day, one of a whirlwind of emotions that didn't last for a long time, but definately hit when they hit. Yesterday, while preparing my things for today's classes, I went onto my college web-site, personal student services (records, etc.) and was looking for something when I saw that my math class was no longer on my current schedule. (My last math class:) While I was sure it was a glitch, I still couln't seem to help but wander what happened to my schedule that I printed only a a few days ago that showed my all of my classes that I'd signed on for, including Math118.?. As I looked my records through, fear began to rise. (I'm not a math fan.) So, I printed off what I was seeing, including the e-mail that I had from back in the end of last semester, from the chair of the RN Nursing Program, stating that my next Math step was to be Math118. I also printed off the page where my grades were suppose to be posted all along, last semester, but never were, blah, blah, and blah, got it all organized, went to bed and cried on God's shoulder and begged Him to help me handle myself, inside and out, with grace regardless of what reasoning was for this when I went to sort it out, today.

After my last class, I went and sat with an Advisor to learn that I had been allowed to sign up for Math118 AND Anatomy & Physiology by mistake (somehow I was accepted and even on the roster I signed in my A&P class this morning.) I didn't understand totally, but I did feel my "heart rising to my throat" and my hearing changing into that monotone machine roaring sound (I know-sounds contradictory, but true) that cranks up when I experience extreme anxiety. She explained to me although she didn't know how this all had gotten messed up I will need to repeat Math050. What????noooo:(..... I fought the tears and all I could say to this helpful and kind lady was, "Well, thank you Jesus." What?? I heard those words come from my mouth and thought Rachel, what do you do now? So, she went on to explain to me that because I had not passed Math050, I would also be dropped by the system from my Anatomy & Physiology class and asked if I would like to go ahead and drop it on my own or just wait until "it" dropped me. Why did feel like someone had just asked if I wanted to "pull the plug or let 'em go on their own?" I decided to drop it myself right then so that I could go on and be done and over with it, and then she helped me to find a spot in a Math050 class.

Long story, right? It's not over. It only got better from there. Sarcastic? No, I mean it. As I sat with her and went through this process, I felt anger. Why hadn't my failing grade been posted, delivered via my school e-mail, or at least why wasn't there some type of key to know what the heck an SD was???? Why? WHy?? WHY!!?? Without allowing my anger to exscape my mouth, I asked her to help me understand where to find and how to identify a failing grade (for sake of future reference or to perhaps be of help to someone else in the future.) She was very patient and helpful. That's when it dawned on me the word "grace". I stopped and took a moment to breathe away my math fears and feelings of serious "set-back" and remembered what I prayed to God, last night. It dawned on me that this did not have to be about failing general math three straight years in a row, in high school, and that I wasn't way back there, now. It occurred to me that this is a grand opportunity with tons of blessings planted along the all through it.

This evening, I am blessed that I have a second chance to attend a Math050 class and really "get it", this time around. I am blessed that I went with my gut feelings at the end of last semester when I decided to keep both my Math050 books to use for reference during my Math118 class. In other words, I have the books already unless they've changes them at the last minute. I am blessed because I went with my gut and haven't taken any of the plastic off of my A&P books or my Math118 books. This means I can get full refund on them (right at $600 on A&P alone:) I am blessed today because I get this opportunity to show myself that math is not "my past" and that it's harmless:):):) I am blessed because my now current Math050 class is only one hour after my Spanish class and in the same building, But Wait......and this learning center is only 20 minutes away from home. I am blessed because I didn't get messed up with my finacial aid, since I went from 13 credit hours to 11. And I am blessed because at least I will be familiar with the math that I will study this time around:)

The way I see it, the responsiblity was mine- to pass that class. I didn't via my own mistakes. The way I see it, God has given me more opportunity with this than any college can ever offer. The way I see it, God came through for me today. The way I see it, I am one of the "luckiest", most blessed students in Indiana because I am aware that with my diligent work, positive outlook, and focussed/disciplined mind, and greatest of all= God's help I am about to really learn some math and a lot of life lessons through Math050. Thank you, God:) and, I joyfully shout, "Yes!!!"

I am blessed.
Until next time,

Sunday, August 23, 2009

"I'll say "Yes,Lord."

"When your spirit speaks to me, with my whole heart I'll agree and my answer will be "Yes Lord, yes."

These are some of the words to a song we sing at our church. When I am singing these words and when I'm going I about my daily routine, I mean these words with all of my heart and soul.

I believe that God speaks to us, regardless of whether it be in an audible voice that we may hear in our minds or through a silent voice, or even other ways. Sometimes I hear and, truthfully, sometimes I don't. I am sure that when I don't hear him, when he is speaking to me, it is because I am either busy talking or putting my attention elsewhere. As time passes, I learn more and more about paying attention in my spirit, so that I do my best to hear when and what God speaks to me.

There have been times when I knew God was nudging me to do or say something for someone else and I knew that if I didn't do it, whatever it was, that I would regret it later. The first time I felt moved in my spirit to do what I felt God urging me to do, I held back and said, "No." I was afraid of the unknown outcome. Because I said no, I regretted it so much later on. It took that heavy feeling of regret for me to decide that I wouldn't say no anymore. Since then, I have determined about doing what I feel or hear God moving me to do. Sure, there have been times when I felt fear arise before I did or said whatever it was that I felt God leading me to do/say, but I muster the courage to walk through the fear and do it anyway. Especially since I know that God is not the author of fear.

Not every time was I thanked or did I physically see a grand outcome from doing what I'd said yes to, but every time I have walked away with an un-explainable peace in my heart. I've never, until now, felt that anyone had ever totally rejected listening to what God had for them, that I was delivering or doing for Him.

I waited until I knew that I was clear on what God was speaking to my heart. I delivered the message , carefully and cautiously, due to surrounding circumstances of frustration. As I delivered what was in my heart, I was caught off gaurd that I had been cut off and not heard through, and, needless to say, felt the sting of rejection. But this was a different feeling of rejection. It wasn't like being told you aren't good enough, or even like being rejected from a group at school or church or a club. I remember being picked last, many times, to be on one of the teams for gym ball, in elementary school. That becomes a serious feeling of rejection after several times of it happening. If you can relate then you know what I mean. This sting was so much deeper than any I've ever felt. I don't know how better to explain it. I can happily say that I hadn't had my feelings on my shoulder or anywhere near my sleeve, but all of a sudden, I felt cut and the searing sting of a different kind of rejection. I did my best to explain a little better, but it appeared that I was at a dead end with the delivery. I knew what I was suppose to do and I did it, but it didn't feel like near enough. I stopped and very quietly said, "God, I don't understand. I did what you told me to do and I know that you are right. What just happened? I said "Yes, Lord". Why does this feel like this?" The sting only began to feel worse and so overwhelming. My joy was not stolen:):) I still have it, but such a heaviness and sadness moved in that all I could do was just be and ask God to help me. I felt sad for God. Yep, I said it. I felt sad for God because he'd been clear with me and, though I'd done what he prompted me to do, and being confident in what he'd placed in my heart, it never got a chance to proven to be effective, according to His will, not mine.

Did I take it personal? For a few moments I did until something crossed my mind, "maybe, since the sadness does not feel anything like or near a self-pity, this sadness I feel isn't for me." It was for God. It made me feel like crying and apologizing to God for what had happened, although no apology was due from me. I got away for a few minutes and cried and told God that I didn't understand. He knew my heart, better than me, had been humble upon delivery and that I was struggling w/how to handle it. I asked God to please make my heart whole and help me not to feel what I was feeling, and also to help me resist the anger that was beginning to knock on my heart's door.

Hours later, I am still astounded and wandering why God would "speak" to me and then allow it to "backfire." Then, I think to myself, "Maybe this is the start of a new level of spiritual growth. Perhaps it happened that way because God is turning up the temperature on this "piece of rice" and preparing it (me) for the big boil. (Re: previous post) I don't know.

What I do know is that when God speaks to me, I will still say yes. When he shows me a way to break down a "wall" and turn a situation around, I won't ever stand back, again, and wait to be joined. When God says move, I refuse to stand still. He is a loving and patient God, but time doesn't stop and wait on us to move.

At the end of the day, I am feeling more and more grateful (with each moment that passes) that I responded, "Yes" to God and that I didn't turn back to my old ways of lashing out upon the first sign of any type of rejection. What I learned is that God knows what is best. I have no doubt God saw what was ahead and that He remains in control. He's Great and greatly to be praised.

Thank you God for using me. "Yes, Lord, you can use me."

Until next time,

Saturday, August 22, 2009

How To Simmer For A Time Without Spoiling???

(This image & article is of
To fathom living on $1.25 per day blows my mind. Take away my home's food supply and start the day with only $1.25 and what do I do? Maybe I can buy a small bag of rice and a small off-brand can of beans and then pray that my bill doesn't exceed the amount in my pocket. If it does exceed, then I might put the beans back and get as much rice as I can and next time do the same with the beans. (I don't know.) Then, I will need to prepare the rice and beans and ration them throughout the day. This is what I would do for myself. Now, in the scenario where it's not just me, but also my partner and our children. We have to make this meal last as long as we can, do our best to keep it from spoiling (we are too poor to afford luxuries of air condition or even a small fan, let a lone a good refridgerator.), and we have to consider other needs that we have, aside from food. The children need to see the doctor when they are too sick to be treated at home, which is usually a spontaneous occurance, and we feel that we need some type of toilet paper and we need soap to clean our clothes. $1.25 per day. Ummm??? O.k. I can deal with hearing my stomache talk for a day, and maybe even push through two. Maybe I could trick my mind by only eating a small spoon full of rice and beans, one for each day. Maybe if I don't eat, the food will last longer and we can use the extra money for the paper and soap. As far as the doctor, we don't have the $, ever, because we have to eat. So, we have to use what natural resources we can find, that are free, to help us cope and pull through times of infirmity. We need to have a lot of faith. But, what if we don't know about God?
Wow!!! I've literally survived on crackers w/ketchup for a whole month, once before. I didn't make enough money to cover buying groceries and paying all of my due bill payments for that month. I had a new doctor bill and it really through my grocery budget "out the window". I was much younger and decided that I wasn't going to tell anybody because I wanted so badly for the people who knew me to see me as being able to take care of myself and succeed on my own, and it was my very first apartment/place on my own, alone. Yes, I got hungry many times, but I pretended that I was eating "normal" food and imagined it many times as I crunched into the salty crackers and induldged in the tomatoey taste of the ketchup. It helped me to get through it.
What I wander is, how I could live like that while "knowing" that this was a life sentence, the poverty. No bigger paycheck by next month to help me bounce back and afford "real food." And with children?
My deepest heart's desire has been, and is still, to reach out in humanitarian/missionary work, as best I can, and make a difference for people in the world like those who live in poverty and need. Sometimes my heart cries out, "Now!! I need to go NOW!! People are dying and more people are needed to help make a difference. I KNOW without a doubt I am one of those chosen people!! Now. Tomorrow is too late!!!!"
Sometimes, to cook a "good" pot of rice, a good boiling is needed. A grain of rice goes into the boil as a hard piece. It is through the rise of the temperature and the thrashing of the boiling water that the rice begins to cook. After so long of boiling, the rice begins to soften and become more flexible, making it usuable to fulfill its job. Once it has reach the desired softness, the cook usually reduces the temperature and covers the rice pot with a lid to let the rice simmer. It is through the simmering process that the rice absorbs the water, as well any seasonings that might have been added. This part of the process can change the appeal of the rice, totally.
In "being" with the desires of my heart and my thoughts of people who are victims of the worst real poverty in this world, and from "being" with the overwhelming "need" and pull of my heart to Go Now, I have realized that I am like that rice.
I think that I am ready, AND, I imagine that I'm really not. Otherwise, in my mind, God would have already made a way for me to be gone fulfilling my heart's calling. I am going into the pot for preparation just the same as a hard piece of rice.
God has put it clearly to me that I am to go to school for Nursing. Every since I was little, in elementary school, and read a little book about Mother Theresa, I have wanted to go into undesired places and help people. There have been soooo many times when I turned and returned the thought of quitting college so that I could work above and beyond what was needed to make sure that the bills were paid and that then there was "nothing" to worry about. However, God has helped me to hang on and reminded me sooo many times of my calling. Sometimes I think to him, "God isn't there another way? Some way where it doesn't take so long to get to the big picture of my service for you?? And God, perhaps one that isn't so costly???" Maybe I'm just not listening carefully enough, after asking those questions, but I never really hear anything back. However, I do somehow get a second, third, seventeenth, etc. wind and feel renewed to continue on and stay focussed just long enough on school not to worry about other things and I am able to pass through the firey tests and finals.
I figure this must be the boiling process. You know, I could eat a piece of uncooked rice and maybe the only complication would be that it would be hard on my teeth. The thing is, what is the benefit? Where is the taste? Where is the pleasing feeling that my stomache gets from cooked rice? Maybe in order to please God we need to go through the process. I, like rice, in my mind "am ready to go NOW" and therefore have been stiff and without benefit to God. By going through the boiling emotions and the thrashing thoughts that stir-up thrashing and deep soul prayers for these people, etc.. I have begun to soften and become more flexible, like the boiling rice. I imagine that God says, "Ahh, now she's getting more tender. Good. I can use her before too long. Just a little longer and then she'll be ready. But a little longer."
Maybe in the simmering, God will pour out his special blend of seasonings on me. Then again, perhaps the simmering process of an experience comes before the seasoning. Maybe the seasoning comes with the experience. Regardless, As I have begun to allow myself to lay back against the "churning water", and have stopped fighting the process, I realize that God can not only use me more, once I am ready (according to his plan) but that maybe he will find good flavor and favor in the future finished product of my life in his will.
Until next time,

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Preparation Counts

It doesn't seem to matter so much to me that I'm hungry as much as it matters to me that I want to be creative and enjoy, to my personal liking, what I eat. As I cook more creative (spontaneous, made-up recipes) meals, I am reminded over and over how preparation can make a great difference.
As I'm sure you know, adding pinches or dabs of this and that can offer more and/or different flavors to food. I believe that each day is like a recipe. Just like lime and hot sauce can eliminate a lot of fishiness and add a sure good kick to a piece of fish, so can adding a vibrant "routine" to my morning. Change is sometimes good. I used to wake up talking 90 miles per hour. Now, so much more than before, after I open my eyes and say good morning and give thanks to God. I believe that greeting God first, thanking him for keeping me safe through the night, and asking him to guide me through the day is the most important ingredient I can begin my day with. After I get out of bed, I spend some time with my dog, LiddyRae, as I am getting ready for work. It's in her nature to almost always be ready to be "bouncy-spirited" and ready to be happy and lovable. She is my dab of morning vibrance.
When I am on my way to work, I feel that adding a pinch of happy and uplifting music sweetens the morning. Depending on the tasks ahead of me, I sometimes add several pinches, instead of just one.
Though I don't remember to every moment, I've learned that the more I acknowledge God, off and on, through-out my day, the more I enjoy the richness and sweetness of my day. By the time I am finished working, I am ready to sit down and relax. Once I am home, my favorite new wind-down technique is to sit, relax, and read my daily devotion from my Women's Devotional Bible. Some recipes call for whipping eggs and/or other ingredients, and sometimes we have to whip obstacles that we face during the day in order to continue and work at make our day return to a peaceful smoothness. However, by the time I am home from work from hosting, I'm ready to be hosted to for a few minutes. So reading my devotion then is like dowsing the previous ingredients in a relaxing, calming sweet wine.
Once I have read and feel rejuvenated, I enjoy the the rest of my day with my wonderful partner. She is the added spice who gives a nice twist with the already marinated ingredients. I look forward to adding her into my day.
Before I go to sleep at night, I prepare for the final addition to my recipe. As I am drifting off to sleep, I talk to God in my mind. As I am comforted and relaxed by feeling his love, the day's recipe is final.
Even if I didn't have any variety of options for ingredients to mix into my day, it's good to know that everything would still turn out perfect as long as I just add God.
'Til next time,
Love, peace, & PB&J

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Show Me What It Means

1) "You don't want my perfections. All You ask of me is that I show up broken at your feet. You don't want my religion. You are looking for devotion that is more than just routine. So show me what it means.."

Chorus) "To take up my cross and count it all as loss. All for the sake of knowing You. To love my enemies and care for those need. Show me what it means to follow You."

2) "Have I become like the Pharisee passing by the needy while I'm speaking Jesus on my lips. Will I walk with You on raging seas or will I turn away when You want more than what I give. To love as You love and live as You; To love as You love and live as You lived. To never give up on giving You my life. To love as You love and live as You lived. To find out what it means to be alive.. " (chorus)

Written by Meredith Andrews, Jason Ingrams, and Matt Bronleewe
Sang by Meredith Andrews

'Til next time,
Love, peace, and PB&J

Monday, June 29, 2009

One Good Thing

Have you ever noticed that, sometimes, it seems like there is more bad around than good? While it is only one opinion, it's my opinion that it is important to not lose focus of the good in everyday life.

When things in life around us taste bitter, there is usually always at least one sweet, or good, thing around. We just have to look for it.

'Til next time,


Friday, June 26, 2009

And Then Comes The Flower

This is a follow-up post to "Poppin Heads Off."

After popping the head blooms off of my two little green plants, I could only hope for better growth, next time, from them. After all, they did go through a lot of possible shock and truama to get to where they are now, meaning here.

Within the next day or two, after popping of their heads, I walked outside to find a single bloom had opened up and was so beautiful. It looked so incredibly strong.

It reminded me that even when I get my head "popped/snapped" off, I possess the ability to continue to grow. Actually, it can cause me two bloom and flower two times more than I had the time before. It's amazing what such harsh action can do, but with careful reflection and gentle care great things can happen.

'Til next time,

Love, Peace, and PB&J

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Raking Across The Coals

Well, ya'll, when we think about it, we all know that in order to have a testimony we have to have a test first:) We can choose to let those tests make us or break us. Sometimes, some of those tests come from getting raked across the coals.

K. So, I've never worked with a cash registar or in a sit-down family type restaraunt, until now. I am very thankful for this job. It was a godsend. While I am very thankful for it, I am remembering what it's like to be in the workforce, after being laid-off ten months ago, and working with people in a service type job AND dealing with their money and credit cards, to boot. Ya'll, I forgot there were "mean" people out there who would be mean to me. Oopy doopy

:( :)

Today was day seven in training as Hostess. I would like to share some of the "mean" people experiences with you, only to finalize in discussing the overcomer attitude.

Saturday was my third day in training, but when I got to work, I learned that my trainer had called in and I was to do my best and ask for help as needed. Now, my co-workers (from waitresses to manager, were really angels to me (and still are) and that was part of what drove me to hang in there and do a good job.

So far, I've experienced a stiff seeming elderly couple, who not be kind enough to give me room to really clean the booth table that they wanted. as they stood against the ends of their soon to be seats. I stretched that day like I haven't stretched in years:) I scrubbed and did the best I could to get the table spic and span. It wasn't enough. The lady felt very dry and cold and demanded that the table was still soiled. I said, "ok, no problem" and I literally scrubbed the "flawless"spot she pointed at (and am suprised there was any decor print left on that part of the table when I was done. I went over the man's side of the table the same way, as I had noticed his dis-approving look at me when I had finished scrubbing the area she had pointed to. As I finished, I smiled at them with as much politeness as I could pull up and wished the an enjoyable meal, and then walked away.

I've experienced a one man's rudeness as he and his party paid for their meals. I was still learning how to ring up tickets that come from the same table but are registered according to their seat numbers. It was still a little confusing to me. I messed up twice within the first five minutes of ringing them up, but did the right thing by getting assistance, apologizing for their wait, and thanking them for their patience. During the time of the second mistake, one of the men, who was in their party and waiting for his turn to be rang up, clearly said, "That's two screw-ups within just the first few minutes of ringing us up. She needs to be fired." Now, mind you, just above my nametag I am wearing an obvious large button that says in red and white, "Please be patient, I'm in training." It was very challenging for me not to rip off my nametag and button and go to clock out and walk away. However, I went with my better judgment and used a smile as my weapon, when it was his turn, and counted his change back to him and I held eye contact with him and smiled. Whew.............

There was a nice lady who preferred a booth and said anywhere was fine. I walked her and her gentleman friend to the back (there is a rotation system for seating so that each waitress has opportunity to earn her money- as long as the customer doesn't request a specific area or waitress). As we were nearing the table, the lady said to the man, "Well, if I'd known she was going to seat us all the way back here, I'd have told her we wanted a booth in the front." I was feeling "fed-up" from the rude epidemic, so, I stopped and turned to her and ever so gently said, "Would you prefer to go back to sit in the front area? Because that would really be ok." I thought it was a great question and she replied with a laugh, "Öh no. We've already walked all the way back here, now." This restaraunt is not very large, compared to many family resteraunts, but you'd have thought it was the legnth of the football field. She seemed to walk very fast and healthy. I don't know. I wished them an enjoyable meal and walked away.

Today, there was a large party of people lunching, and as they were leaving and checking out, I was very careful to only take care of ringing up one customer at a time and wishing them a beautiful day. One gentleman was declined by the credit card machine because of the type of card he wanted me to use, (and I learned then that we only accept two particular types of credit cards.) He grumpily handed me one that we accept, and explained that it was new and had only been used once before. Within fifteen minutes of being gone, he came back and said that he needed his credit card back. My heart stopped. I knew that I hand handed his card to him because I remembered our conversation and doing it. I asked if he was sure that he didn't recieve his card back. He said no, I looked around the cashiers area, and I asked him to please excuse me for one moment. I went to my supervisor and quickly explained the situation. As she came and looked for it with me, she asked if maybe he'd looked around in his car, checked his pockets, and the spot where he'd parked. He said he'd done all of that. I've never experienced this bodily response before, but I begin to sweat so profusely that I had sweat rolling off of my face and my neck. Yucky. He told her about when he was checking out, earlier at the registar, and that we'd held the conversation, etc... and I agreed that it was the truth UnTiL he said, "...and she didn't give my card back to me." I quietly told my manager that wasn't right. They decided he would call the credit card company when he got home and we would call him if it showed up. Talk about feeling like a not guilty- guilty incriminating person. I felt terrible that the little ladies in line had even heard the whole episode. Behind them was an angel, who was an angel to walking me through how to use a certain coupon on the registar last week (who isn't employed there but just happens to be a regular customer:). When it was her turn to be helped, she told me, "Don't you worry about it. You are doing just fine and things like that happen all the time. It's going to be ok." She must've seen me breaking. "This will pass and you are doing great with learning. You know what you're doing and next week when I come in, I bet you'll be just working this cash registar like it's nothing at all." I tried not to cry as her kindness touched my heart. As soon as they left, he came back, again, and told me that he'd found his card and that he'd wrapped it up in something........He didn't apologize, and for me that was ok because it was enough for me that he'd found it. I was so relieved.

There are a few other things that I've experienced thus far, however, I feel that is more than enough to make my point most understandable.

First, there have always been and will always be those who come acrossed rude and ungrateful. Í've also learned that God always sends an angel our way to see us through and today I visually saw mine and heard her, for that situation.

I've also learned that it can be tough and super challenging for even a natural "smiler" to smile in tough times.

I've learned that a smile can determine the outcome of some situations, whether it is for myself or the other person, or both.

I've learned that whispering the name of Jesus re-energize and re-strengthen me in challenging situations.

I've learned that my mama was right, "Kindness kills."

I've learned how I don't want to be.

Better yet, I've learned how I do want to be.

I am aware that I can use this as an opportunity to grow, still be caring but not allowing my feelings to linger on my shoulder and take on other people's negativity. I realize this is an opportunity in which I can learn to function and grow and use in the future to relate to, when I am in clinicals and working as a nurse.

Will I quit? I 'don't think so."

To the babygirl who warned this will change me, I believe it. And, I believe it in the way that it is my intention to practice remaining calm within myself during the challenges and smile all the way through the yuckies. It could be very easy to go over the edge with it, (or better yet- over the table/cash registar:) but I think it's already a great learning and growing experience and I am grateful.

No matter what, God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

'Til next time,

Love, peace, and PB&J

Monday, June 22, 2009

Popping Heads Off

We moved to a whole new area of our state, oh, about a month ago. While I wasn't so attached to our house and downsizing to an apartment, I was pretty attached to and grieving the loss of our good-sized yard, especially the fenced in back yard. That's where my four-legged babygirl

grew-up and got to run and mostly be free. It's also where I landscaped a small area with beautiful Hostas, some kind of pretty tall grassy green bush, Daylillies, a Lavender plant, and a couple of others, along with pretty River Rock. It was my closest sanctuary to home, with nature.

We had plenty of time in moving, so I decided that I wasn't leaving my nature babies behind. They were at least going to stay in the family, if I couldn't take them all with me. So, what I was able to move and plant in the new place was my tall grassy green bush, a green Arborvida looking small shrub, and two small plants that bloom beautiful purple blooms for a short time.

Of course, I'm sure they experienced some shock in the one hour + trip, but I got them into the ground with plenty of potting soil underneath and all around them (hoping they will survive- although I think they will). The tall green grassy bush has turned brown on several blades, and my two little plants that bloom purple blooms turned mostly brown, right away, while the shrub seems to be perfectly content.

Today, I figured that maybe I should take the brown leaves off of the two little plants and "pop the heads off" of the brown blooms, thinking maybe that will help ensure their healthy return next year.

As I begin to pop the brown blooms off, I felt a little sad as I thought about my previous yard. Then, I got to thinking about how we, as people, so easily verbally "pop" each others head off, sometimes. Wow. I thought, you know, it's a shame that when people do that to others it doesn't always help them to come back as a stronger and healthier person. You know? If it did, we would all be kind to each other (those of us who have seen lots of years, especially) and we'd be sooo healthy-minded that we wouldn't feel the need to "snap".

I decided that I am choosing to be like a plant. From now on, when anyone "pops" or "snaps" my head off, I am going to continuosly remind and tell myself that I have the option to be even stronger than them or the situation itself by simply using the growing act of kindess.

My mama always told us, "Honey, kindness kills." As I have grown each year, I have come to realize that she was very right.

I choose to grow and be healthy. I hope you choose that, too:)

'Til next time,

Love, peace, & PB&J

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Uncover and Discover

"Seek and ye shall find." Isn't it great when you find things where you least expect to? Gotta love it.

"Til Next Time,
Love, Peace, and PB&J

Monday, June 15, 2009

Jesus and Koolaid: 25 cents

On our way to the post office, we saw two little girls, who looked to be between seven and ten years old, in their front yard holding a little sign that read "Koolaid for sale. 25 cents." I told "E", "we are going to go back by there and buy some koolaid from them and then tip them really good. We have a lot of loose change in here and I know it will make there day to make "a lot of money all at once."

As we were approaching, we saw a couple walking away from them. As soon as we pulled into their driveway, they ran over to our truck and said, "Do you have money? Do you have money?" We giggled and told them yes and that we really wanted to buy some of their koolaid. They were so adorable and their sweet little faces were very intent. They carefully poured us two tall cups of red koolaid (which was actually very good) and said, "it's 25 cents." "E" handed them 50 cents and then said, "o.k., now we're gonna give you a tip, too." I told them there was $1.46 in change for them and the look on their faces and in their eyes was priceless. As "E" handed it to them, those babies faces looked like they had just hit the lottery. They were wide-eyed and their little faces were glowing. They said thank you and we wished them well on the rest of their sales. As we pulled away, I told "E" to look; they had quickly "abandoned ship" of their sales and went running and yelling through their front door. They ran right back out with two little boys trailing behind them with a look of dis-belief. I got all teary eyed and almost cried because my heart was so touched and happy to see those babies excitement just bouncing off of the front yard trees.
"E" and I giggled and enjoyed our koolaid all the way home. It was such a precious, wholesome, and blessing experience.

A few days later, I was walking my four-legged little girl, whose name is LiddyRae, and we saw those little girls. They asked if they could pet my doggie and, of course, LiddyRae and I were both happy to oblige them. While they petted, talked to, and hugged on my little LiddyRae, I asked if they were going to sell anymore koolaid. They answered, "Yes, but we're going to have to sell invisible koolaid. We wanted to sale blue but we're all out, so it'll be invisible, but it's good, too." Again my heart smiled at their sweetness and their barefoot homeliness. I told them I would would do my best to get over there and buy some more of their good ole' koolaid. Before I left, I asked them if they were saving for anything particular. They said, "Yes, we want to go to _______ Beach, so we're trying to make some money so we can go." I thanked them for loving on my little "doggie" and they were so mannerly in saying, "Your welcome."

Do we only see the children who are around us? or do we really see them? Do we take the time to intentionally hear what they are saying? Not just from the mouth, but from their hearts. I felt so honored to be a part of their day and blessed to be able to extend some happiness and laughter their way.

I believe that when we look into the eyes of small children, if we really look, we can see Jesus. Have you ever tried it? I have and I saw him just the other day in the eyes of those two little girls. Take time to bless a child, God, and yourself.

'Til next time,
Love, peace, and PB&J

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Quality Versus Quanity

What's in a word? I reckon it depends on what word it is.

I like to talk. Not as much as I used to, but, I still like to talk. Don't you? I like to listen more than I used to, though. As the months pass by, I prefer more listening over talking, although I am sure my family will disagree:) (You know, you don't always do what you prefer.) Anyways, they tell me I've always been quite the hunter. Chasing rabbits, or so to speak. I've been working on that really hard, since it has been something I've done since the day I could talk. Anyways, I was thinking about what's in a word, that saying, and it dawned on me that it may just depend on what the word(s) is/are. Not only that, but also, it probably has more to do with how the word is used, the emotion, tone, volume, intensity, and intention behind the word(s) being used. I was thinking just how powerful words are and can be.

When someone makes any comment to me, whether I like it or not, I am responsible to take care of my thoughts that follow once I've recieved their comment. It's not their fault if I get angry, hurt, sad, or anything else that I may feel. It is my responsibility to be responsible for my own emotions.

When I make a comment, of any kind, it is my responsibility to think first and take care to speak with an art of kindness, gentleness, patience, snf overall - Love.

If we all practice this, will it change the way we talk to ourselves? Or, if we all talk this way to ourselves, will it change the way we talk to others?

God grant me the serenity...

'Til next time,
Love, peace, and PB&J

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Flavor of Life

I was thinking, "If I was offered a choice between either a five course meal including: caviar, escargot with garlic butter sauce, a house salad, a nice porterhouse steak, and crem broule or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and I would have to eat the same thing that I choose every day for a month, what would I choose?" I decided that I would absolutely choose to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Life reminds me a lot of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, (PB&J ). Life kept simple, that is. I really like and have an appreciation for simple. There are consequences for "good"and "bad" things, so I am told and am sort of beginning to think it, myself. Of course, it depends on how one personally defines consequences, I suppose.

Have you ever been on vacation and got served a five course meal three times each day? I have and I'm here to tell you, while it was going down it was delicious and in my mind good. UNTIL, at the end of the week-long vacation, my pants & shorts didn't fit anymore, as long as I chose to breathe normally. In the end, I was paying the yucky consequences of that "good" food and miserable about it, too.

I don't really remember a time when I felt I ever paid such a price for eating a PB&J. I could, and still can, indulge in one PB&J and my stomach is content and my heart is happy.

Sometimes, my eyes get larger than my stomach and I make or order a lot of food, overriding my better judgement, and once again I am reminded of the consequences of being miserably full, especially since I can't stand the idea of wasting food.

I wander, if I look at everyday circumstances with that same view of keeping it simple, would I smile more? Would I be able to manage my own self better? Would I be more apt to slow down and enjoy smelling the Roses? Would I recognize my everyday blessings more often?

While, for some, a five course meal is manageable and somehow not a threat to their body weight or health, I definitely choose the PB&J to eat and the related simple outlook. Folks are not all the same.

I reckon, one thing that I believe is real important is that when I'm making moment to moment choices, I want to make sure to keep it as simple as possible and still be able to indulge in the sweet flavor of life.

Until next time,
Peace and PB&J