Storms of Contentment


 

Thunder boomed and lightning flashed overhead as I experience the first t-storm in my trailer…though normally I am scared of storms, this one seems peaceful.  Though normally I want to hide under the bed, this time I just typed away to the pitter patter of rain drops on my roof…Perhaps its because I’m finally content in my own little home.  Or simply knowing that God is in control…

 Even my cat has been content…during the last couple of moves, she seemed stress to the point of not eating and/or getting sick; however, since we moved to the trailer, her appetite has been normal and she seems more playful like a little kitten…

 Though I’ve had a few incidents with the trailer like draining the tanks during a downpour (Yeah, that’s my life now…), thinking my fridge was about to go out (just a matter of adjusting the temperature), and dealing with bugs…yeah, I’ll have to find a way to keep really gigantic ants and flies out of my trailer

 Yet, I often worry about these little things…in some ways, I get impatient with them yet I’m working on being patient…because little things happening is a part of life.  I stress and worry about things like getting ready to go back to work…or making a good impression in my new community and church.

 Therefore, I need to let to let worry go as heard on the radio the other day when the DJ quoted the following by CS Lewis (The Collected Letters, vol 3):

Remember one is given strength to bear what happens to one, but not the 100 and 1 different things that might happen…and I’m sure God never teaches us to fear of anything…

Yeah, that’s me…I worry about 101 plus different things and constantly fearful like worried about what could happen as I prepare to start my new job…

 Or most recently…I had an interaction with someone and my analytical mind thought I had done something wrong because I didn’t hear from the person for a few days.  So I became almost physically sick from worry…yet, that was not the case.

 Yeah, I could say I have a right to fear because things have happened in my life…yet, I continue to pass through those valleys and come out stronger each time with the strength God has given me.

 Anyway, what are you worried about?  What can you do to lessen stress and worry in your life? 

According to Luke 12;25 (NIV) “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” 

As someone who needs to keep stress down due to a health concern, I’m not helping by worrying so I need to let go and turn it all over to God…and not be so fearful about what could happen.  Or just be like my cat as she cuddles with me during the storm…knowing Mama will take care of her like God, the Father, takes care of us…

 Or, like I do, take a moment, sit on the front step, and just enjoy His Creation and the wonders of the earth…meditating on his word with scripture reading and prayer.

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My church life…in a small community…


The other day, I was up in the balcony preparing the sound system and the morning songs on the overhead projector…once I had things set up (well, a few hitches during the service), I felt content.  Like I had finally found the place to worship God and learn more about Him.

 

Sort of how I felt when I attended this one really big church and would greet people as they came through the doors…excited to be part of a great ministry…and to see people gathering to worship the almighty and merciful God…

 

Though the church is small, there is approximately fifty people on an average Sunday morning; although it may seem small, the people have big hearts and the messages are usually powerful.  Most recently, I attended another church where they had a congregational sing-along with other churches in the community…what a great opportunity to meet others.  Of course, me, was shy and went into my little shell…but I’m slowly coming out…as I acquaint my self with a new community and church.

 

This church was initially discovered by my parents a few years ago so they have described its wonderful atmosphere and people, who are just as my parents described.  Then, when I moved here, I checked out one church that really didn’t seem like home…it probably feels fine to others but I wanted a close knit church…like a family atmosphere…after losing my husband…it was as if God was telling me to become part of a family again after listening to several messages the topic of family.  Which does feel like family especially by those who helped with the move like the pastor and a few others before I even met them…

 

Then, I paid a visit on a Wednesday evening after cleaning out a storage unit…the atmosphere was warm and welcoming as I felt myself drawn to the point of driving over an hour each way to attend its services.  Now, that I’m here, it feels strange to have the church only ten minutes away so that took a few days to adjust to not getting up at 5:30 on a Sunday morning…though the trip was worth it especially now that I have fallen for its many valleys and the community itself.

 

Now I can be more involved like recently helping with a yard sale, going to prayer meeting (something I’ve missed doing over the years), helping with the sound system (which has its own trials as I learn) and other areas as needed…I’m even practicing to eventually sing a solo (Yikes…I don’t do good in front of people).

 

Anyway, though my pastoral license is delayed, I can still do what my heart desires…helping at a church (since part of my spiritual gifts is serving), something I have loved doing since I was a kid in a church that feels like being with family…

 

So, what is your church like?  Have you found a church to call home?  If not, I pray you find one…after all, God is about community and a church is like a community where people learn about Him while being supported during the rough times…so come home to a place of family and fellow believers tow worship Abba Father…

Ahhhh…the joys of homeownership…


I’m back…it’s been a couple of weeks of ups and downs with final move and adjusting to life with a trailer plus waiting for internet access (which I almost didn’t get but I have it now)…anyway, I guess it’s called welcome to home ownership…

 

First, the move went smoothly…some great guys from my church (the same one a second time) plus my parents helped load up the heavy furniture and off to storage we went…though I did trail dirty plant water all over the carpet (though was warned) but at least it didn’t rain.  And, it looks like that house is finally selling just in the nick of time (though, I did pray for a buyer a few weeks so guess the prayer worked)…

 

Second, came moving the cat down to the trailer…yeah, she was shocked at another move especially when the crate kept tipping over with stuff all around her during the more than one-hour trip.  Poor baby…but she’s settling in and enjoys the trailer.  Just need to keep her in due to coyotes and wildlife around the area.  Though she gets excited about the birds, cats, and other wildlife but hiding when things get a bit scary.  Sadly, our neighborhood kitty has disappeared but there are other cats around…

 

Third…then there were not one but TWO key incidents…the first incident involved coming home after shipping and cleaning up the house…I put my load in the trailer amidst all the boxes, etc.  Then I took the garbage before leaving for an errand…wait!  Where are my keys?  After searching the trailer, van, and even the ground I could not find them…but could they be in the dumpster?  So after not one dive but three dives into the dumpster…I found them buried under stuff…

 

Then the next incident…I needed to dump the tanks so excited, I found out how to do them and stepped out of my trailer, closing the door to keep kitty in.  While I draining, I discovered I locked all keys inside with kitty howling at me…yes, I met the local locksmith but I do not step out of trailer without at least one set of keys…and, while waiting for the locksmith, I managed to dump wastewater on myself…gross…then I went to the church where other people were losing keys…aye…aye…but God was there to help each of us…

 

Anyway, through a bunch of small incidents…I now I have internet and even satellite tv…my outdoor stove isn’t working…and then I blew the main breaker while cooking dinner…yes, I’ve almost been ready to give up trailer living until I realize that each time, I called out to God and my daddy, who helped me through each incident…so don’t give up even if life gets a little tough.

 

It has also helped me be more appreciative of people like my dad, my father-in-law, and even others who have helped me with minor repairs over the years…oh, please learn to handle small repairs on your own before an emergency happens…like now, I need to find out why propane is not going to outdoor stove…

 

So who do you appreciate?  Whoever it is, tell them thanks because after all:

1 Thess 5:18 ‘In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

 

So stay tunedmy dad is on vacation and I must rely on myself to figure things out…but I did drain the tanks and checked the propane on my own while tending to my little garden…and even setting up my patio area and stocking the kitchen…because, despite the funny things that happen, me and kitty are content living in this little trailer as God continues to bless and take care of us.  And, even with these incidents, its nice to sit on my front step after a long day to enjoy my new life as a homeowner…

The Son Always Shines in Storms


While writing this blog, I was sitting at one of my favorite parks, which consist of a small lake and a few picnic tables.  Actually, it’s a spot for launching boats; however, I enjoy sitting at this spot while writing, reading, or artwork.  The park is quaint – kind of hard to find – but, once it’s found, its nestled in a forest with tree covered mountains on the opposite shore.  Yet, the atmosphere is relaxing and the air smells so clean out there as people come to fish, boat, or even just picnic.

 

This park is similar to others in my new location…for example, one park appears to be a partially dried up lake but its landscape is breathtaking.  Yet, it waters sparkle in the sunlight, eagles and hawks soar high above its waves, and it stretches from my new town to another town about fifteen miles away.

 

Then there is the breathtaking commute for my job…yes, God has provided a new job and more details are coming…of Mount Rainier, which is about a twenty-minute drive from my new job in a tiny lakeside community…the job even has a peekaboo view of the mountain.

 

So, this is my new home…recently I’ve started a new bible study about rising as a lioness…the book describes being in God’s creation to understand Him and his nature.  Thus I believe I am in the right place, however, before I arrived at this place, it took going through quite a few storms.  Like the death of my husband and facing the possibility of losing my home…yet doors have been opened such as finding a church, new home, and now a job plus another door may be opening soon…one I thought had been closed a long time ago.

 

While writing, storms clouds hovered over the mountains and lake…the occasional downpour would be released from these clouds but it was refreshingly cool and warm at the same time.  Yet, this came after a message at church based on Matthew 14:22-36 about Jesus calming the storm and how Jesus tells his disciples to be courageous and not fear even in the midst of the storms.

 

Thus I was reminded of an old quote I have cherished over the years…even in the midst of storms, the Son is still shining…as the storm started to clear up before I left the still amazingly beautiful park to head for my church’s evening service.

 

So what storms are you facing?  Whatever they are, I’m praying for you and just remember, as quoted in the message, God is growing you and, as I learned since losing my husband, focus on Him as the anchor throughout the storm.

 

 

The Delivery Process


Well, my trailer has been delivered and setup…though we had a few hiccups…like wrong delivery address and electricity issues…I have spent a couple of nights there already and everything seems to be going smoothly…even with a few worries like getting rained on…

 

First, after unloading and unpacking, I settled down…since it was a warm day, I sat on the front step and studied the scenery…on one side is a golf course and then the rest of the trailer park is surrounded by trees and mountains…plus, across, the street, is an old barn with a herd of cows!  Yeah!  I finally have my little trailer in the country…yippee!  Or should I say moo?  The simple life I’ve been dreaming about for a while…

 

Next, while talking to my mom, I had a visitor…a little kitty who I had met before…he/she wanted to come in; unfortunately, I had to put a stop since my little lady is very territorial.  Anyway, the little thing hung out with me before heading off to find another adventure…

 

That first night was interesting…I heard thumps on the roof…were wild animals breaking in?  Oh, how I worried…then it was a matter of adjusting to new sounds and a mattress; however, by the time I spent a second night, things were more comfortable…though I missed the little lady, who also missed me…and less worrisome.

 

Despite the ups and downs throughout the process, I am excited to live here…though it was cool “home” after church last night rather than facing the danger of deer on the road or even blinding sun to get to my other home.  Plus, it is about ten minutes versus over an hour…so sweet!  I don’t even have my laptop, radio, or even a working television yet so it was nice not to be distracted by gadgets except my phone…just enjoying God’s creation practically in the middle of nowhere…

 

<<sigh>> I once heard you are in the place you’re supposed to be when you’re happy…well, this new adventure called trailer is a happy and relaxed place to be…where I truly believe God is calling me to live a simple life while even ridding myself stuff.  I guess, after losing my husband, relationships are more important than stuff…

 

Well, at the same time, I do have other worries like how to light the propane oven, change the gray and black water tanks, and then supporting myself…yet, I also know I shouldn’t worry since God will take care of me.

 

After all, according to Luke 12:22 (NIV):  Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear…basically have faith for God to provide since according to verse 30 “your Father knows that you need them…” 

 

At the same time, don’t wait for things to come to you…like me, I am looking for a job; however,  I know God will provide while I work on ways to earn an income through writing or whatever God has in store for me to live this simple life.

 

So, what are you worried about?  Like me, I was worried something would go wrong with the delivery, which did happen but, overall, the delivery went smooth and I met some great people with my dad’s help…so trust God and unwind from worry…after all, like the delivery guy said, worry just stresses a person out so release the worry…deep breaths…and let God work things out for His glory.

 

Or, just bask in His marvelous creation…like my new friend who doesn’t seem to have a worry even after accidently being locked in a shed all night…

Celebrating an Old and New Birth


Yesterday, I experienced one of many firsts without my husband…though they have been tough, I manage to get through each one from our anniversary, holidays, and other milestones.  Yesterday was no different since it would’ve been his 53rd birthday…though we miss him dearly, he probably celebrated with Jesus or other family members who have passed.

 

To celebrate this day, I went to the dealer to inspect the trailer with my parents.  Not only did I inspect the trailer I am now calling Mercy, I was given a quick guide on how to handle the many hoses, gadgets, and other bells and whistles that come with the trailer.

 

The appointment started with anxiety when I showed up and they weren’t ready…I just wanted to see Mercy and touch her again…after all, it’s been two weeks since I bought her.  Oh, Mercy is a name I gave her since my van’s name is Gracie…me and my husband tended to name our vehicles.  Well, anyway, after a several minute wait, I looked out in the parking lot and there she is…clean from a “bath” and ready for inspection…it was like welcoming a new member of the family.

 

Unfortunately, within an hour, my head was overwhelmed with learning how to hook up hoses and cords…and so on.  How to turn on each function…rather to use propane or electricity…battery power or electricity and so on…then learning the difference between black water versus gray water and types of hoses to use…and so on…

 

Excitingly, she comes with a ton of bells and whistles that include an outdoor kitchen and speaker system…an amazing entertainment center plus other cool features like the awning and tons of storage.

 

Of course the downfall is deciding what to keep in the trailer, store, or bless other people with…after all, I finally decided to be a girl and splurge on some cute shoes other than black flats…then there is my princess kitty who gives me looks as I pack AGAIN…but I hope she enjoys the new home; though I’m sure she’ll be content as long as she can keep hogging the bed.

 

Well, anyway, it’s getting excited and tomorrow Mercy is delivered to my spot in a really tiny town with trees and fresh air.

 

As for my husband’s birthday, I plan to celebrate my first night in the trailer with his favorite treat of cherry pie and sparkling cider…though I have a feeling he is smiling so I raise my class to a classic husband and the new adventure I am about to embark on…

SO HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO A WONDERFUL HUSBAND 

Anyway, are there some firsts you are about to celebrate with or without a loved one?  How are you handling them?

 

 

Widowhood Journey


This is a journey that I cannot leave…you see, since I last blogged, life became interesting.  My husband entered the hospital for a while…well..the equivalent of over month.  The first time, he had an infection, which we thought had cleared up.  Then, a week after he was home, the infection returned.

After a few days of tests, he had a heart attack…then after another round of tests, he had surgery to remove his catheter and another one was placed in him for his dialysis.  The infection continued and he kept having more complications plus more procedures.  Until, one day, he realized that he no longer wanted to fight so we gave him the okay to go Home…

Well, almost three weeks ago, after a couple days of no sleep while watching him struggle from the infection, he took his final breath…now its the journey of widowhood…

The weeks since have been a struggle…the first few days were a daze but I’ve been focused on God and becoming a godly person like my husband.  My mom stayed with me for a few days while I figure out how to plan a funeral…something that is totally new to me…all I know is that losing someone as close as a husband is a lot different than losing someone like a grandparent or in the case of my in-laws, losing a son.

I come and go but no husband here…I do have our cat who has been a blessing…and I’ve been turning to God during this dark valley.  Yeah I’ve experienced all kinds of emotions since losing him from anger, tons of tears, and even smiles as I think of him…graduated and fully healed.

What have I learned?  That you don’t know how to be a widow…you expect people to drop things and be there for you, but they have their lives. Yeah, some have been here like my mom and the friends who brought dinner but i’m basically on my own now.  I’m not the type of person to stay in bed all the time…getting up and taking care of myself has helped because, not only have I become a widow, I need to find a job and a new home…so that’s another journey that’s easier to walk than the journey of being a widow…

So for a while my blogs will be sporadic but I hope to start back up again as I share insights on being a widow while finding a job and a new home…but I know God is helping me on each of these journeys.  And, as one pastor told me, my husband is probably helping God with my journey too as I cherish memories, his ashes, and our rings while being part of the widowhood club…

New Journey


Hello, my friends…I’m back…

Since I last wrote this blog, quite a bit has changed, most of it for the good like having major surgery and discovering no cancer but still healing…praise the Lord.  This taught me that God is in control no matter how scary life gets…

Then, in the midst of recovering, I learned that I would be finishing school earlier than planned.  Yep, I’m done…my last two classes were on care ministries where I learned to counsel, shepherd, and care for people; then, Small Groups, where I learned how to set up and maintain small groups.  Both classes were amazing and I learned a lot but then as quickly as they started, they ended and now no more classes for me…except eventually to take a few for credentials.  My last class wasn’t done up to the standards I was used; however, I did pass and learned that I do not always need to be perfect and life still goes on…

Then in the midst of finishing my classes, I also had to complete paperwork and a portfolio required to graduate…that was a major project itself since it took me back through looking through three years’ worth of final papers as well as collecting information and figuring out where to find this information.  The exercise taught me to be a bit more organized in the future…

So, now I’m done…my portfolio was approved and one of the next steps is to walk in December so now I need to make travel plans to California, which should be fun as I decide to drive, fly or train?  While making the trip fun…

So, now that I’m done, I need to find a ministry Care that comes with many questions since I don’t know what’s around the next river bend…but I am learning to seek God and His desire for me and my husband.

After all, according to Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) “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.”

Questions:

  1. Are you struggling with your own future or next journey in life?
  2. What fears do you need to overcome?
  3. If you’re not sure of which direction to go, have you prayed and read scripture?

So, what’s next? Well, I hope to continue writing a blog about the journey including following God’s lead on deciding our future so that I am able to use the degree that I’ve worked so hard for, with God’s and my husband’s strength, while fulfilling His purpose for our lives…

 

Cherish Health and Loved Ones


Well, first, I apologize for not blogging in a while…this journey has gone down a different path and its about to go on another adventurous path.  This may be the last blog for a while especially as I wrap up my current class in World Religions.  Next week I get the adventure of interviewing a rabbi and visiting a synagogue for my final paper on Judaism.

Anyway, about 3 weeks ago, hubby landed in the hospital with another infection and another amputation.  Now he’s down to just a thumb on one of his hands.  During this time, I had my birthday but I realized spending time with him was more important so no celebration though he did make sure I had a card and balloons.  Someday soon we will celebrate…

Then, just as he recovered from that, we rushed him to the hospital again a few days later…this time with a mild heart attack and extremely high blood sugars.  If we had waited longer – like he wanted – he would have ended up in a coma.  Praise the Lord that we got him in and Type 1 Diabetes sucks.  He’s doing fine now.

Well, just when he got out, I had a minor procedure myself to remove what they thought was benign growths called fibroids.  Then, I got the results a few days ago and its the stage before cancer…I was in shock!  It had changed from the stage before that in less than 3 months…tears were shed.  I’m trying to be brave…as I prepare for more surgery and a specialist…

Just a few months ago, I was moaning because I thought I was abnormal because, other than type 2 diabetes and high bp (which praise the Lord, I’m controlling), I have been relatively healthy – not even a broken bone – my entire life!  Now this!  So cherish your health and if you think you are abnormal for having such great health, don’t!  Enjoy what you have!

I wanted to stay in bed all day long – well, still recovering from procedure – but today, I realized that is no life.  I’m going to fight and be grateful that I’m still breathing.  After all, why would God take me when He’s preparing me to be a minister?

So, now I’m in the mode of live, let God be in control…and above all, cherish your loved ones.  Another celebration has been put on hold throughout this – our 7th anniversary.  We ordered dinner in but we’ve yet to really celebrate.  So yeah I repeat myself – cherish the ones you love and its not about celebrating but spending it with the ones you love, being faithful to God, thankful for all you have, and enjoying life.

Happy Thanksgiving my friends…I will try and blog over the next several weeks.  If not, I hope to get back after the first of the year, when I start my final year (5 more classes left) until graduation.

And, I’m saying a special prayer for anyone out there who is struggling with health issues…and remember, no matter what, God is in control and He is there with you on your journey.

Community of Support and Encouragement


I do apologize for not writing in a while…its been hectic.  Starting with the first day of my new class, life started out with landing in the emergency room one day due to a lot of pain.  This visit will lead to several tests in the coming months and perhaps major surgery.  Nothing serious…I pray.  Yet the people who I expected to say something have been quiet; however, I have been getting support from strangers, good friends, and relatives…who I appreciate and feel blessed to have in my life.

Then, our community was hit was a tragedy called a school shooting.  Three young people tragically passed including the shooter himself.  The community is reeling.  People around the community have reached out in support of the families of all including the young man who chose to commit such a terrible crime.

In the midst of this, as I wonder if I will be diagnosed with the big C (not yet, more tests will determine if so), I’ve also wondered – why do people stay so busy and then show up at funerals?  Why don’t we stay in touch before a person passes or even is diagnosed with a terrible disease?  Why does it take a tragedy before we realize that someone was facing issues in their life?  This is not meant to judge anyone…but just a curious thought.

Yet, we need to support each other during both the good and not just the bad stuff…after all, God made us to be part of a community.  Humans thrive when they have a support system, surrounded by loved ones.  Perhaps if people knew they had this support, maybe there would be one less tragedy in this world?

I know it may not stop all tragedies like the one my communities and others have experienced in recent years in this country…but even if it was just one or maybe even two, that would be few less tears shed.

So think about it…who haven’t you spoken to a while that may need to hear from you even if they are going through a good time?  Maybe inside they are facing turmoil too afraid to say something in fear that they will be judged.  So, perhaps just a few words of encouragement will help them through that turmoil.

The encouragement can be a simple hello, how are you to even praying with them.

Maybe write a real letter or card sent through the postal system called snail mail.

So, in conclusion, I leave you with a verse that was preached in church yesterday to encourage those facing struggles now as they read this blog:

John 16:33 (NIV) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcame the world!”

And, remember, even if you feel alone during a health crisis, loss of everything dear to you, or even something as simple as not passing a test at school that you needed to pass, God is with you and He does love you.

Finally, if you do need encouragement or even just prayer, please contact us so both my husband and I can pray for you…