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Archive for the ‘Life lessons’ Category

I live in a beach community in Florida now and I LOVE it.

I am glad I have the beach as my forever home, and Canada (my homeland) to visit in the summers still. I feel blessed

tyndall4pants2pants11pants4

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When someone dies, there is a period of disbelief. It is a hard thing to accept and our psyche fights against the idea with a tenacity that might be inspiring if not for the unhappy ending.
It is the same with letting go.
And the interesting part is that the healing will never begin if we can’t come to grips with and ACCEPT the death. Accept the fact that we will never see our loved one, this side of heaven, again.
And in the same way, there has to be an acceptance of the inevitable in letting go. Here, time is our friend and patient teacher. And likewise, we must become patient in letting him pass.
And a healthy grieving will one day give way to sunshine breaking through the darkened clouds. And we can sing. And our song is new; wiser, deeper, and somehow more beautiful.
When it’s time to let go, and we are ready, we hand it over to Him. The Lover of our soul. The Rain Maker and the Cloud Breaker.
I marvel always at Your Beauty, Your Peacefulness, and the many ways you replenish all the aching souls. Because You. Are. Joy, My Lord. You are Joy.

lettng go

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Get With A Man…

1. Who You Respect
2. Who Respects You
3. Who Is Grown Up and Responsible
4. Who Has A Family That Respects You And You Can Get Along With.
5. Who Has Proven His Love For You.

If someone had handed me this list and the following article in my late teens or early twenties, would I have taken it to heart? Would I have listened to the fifty-something author who poured her heart out with conviction and sincerity? Would I have believed her, or would I have perceived her as demanding, spoiled, entitled, or selfish? The honest answer is that I do not know. I do not know if I would have listened. I do know, however, that my younger self didn’t look very deeply to her own needs. I know she used to do just about anything in the name of love and goodness to make her relationships better. But rarely did that anything include preserving her genuine needs, and own self-worth.

But there is good reason for this. She never had a Father speak these things into her life. Nor did he teach her of her value as a woman, nor helped her know what to expect from a healthy man in a healthy relationship. And she never had a Mother who modeled these expectations.

And that is why I am writing these things today. Because there are many women, young and old who might need such a list; who maybe never had it modeled or taught. And I am writing it because I have a single daughter. She means the world to me, need I say more? I am writing it because I am in my second marriage and it has taken me this long to understand how imperative certain things are for a healthy relationship. It is not wrong or selfish to ask for and expect these things from the men we marry or get into relationship with. In fact, I have come to learn that it is detrimental to both the man and the woman in the relationship if we do not ask for, expect, and uphold these things.

So without further ado, let me flesh out some of the things that I have learned.

Get With A Man….

.…Who You Respect.

Why are you looking at his handsome face? Why are you looking at the way his body moves? Why are you melting over those flattering words or the way your heart skips a beat when he looks at you? Don’t you know the art of courting and seduction has been going on for thousands of years and it will continue the same way until the end of time? Those kinds of things are a dime a dozen. The wise woman will study a man’s character, plain and simple. And study him for more than a New York minute. Study him for a good while and in various circumstances. The wise woman will look at a man’s potential. He doesn’t have to be perfect, but he sure better have potential. Potential to be kind, fair, honest, hardworking, responsible….all of those things you need a man to be. And we’ll cover some of those later.

Knowing yourself is key. Because you have to know what you respect and what you don’t in the first place. When we are young most of these ideals are already formed inside us, but many of us don’t understand that we can, and should, protect them and assert them in all of our relationships.

When you know what you respect, then you know what to look for. Many of us older lovers have learned the hard way that there is really no use in trying to coerce, or mold or bend someone into being what we want. It never works. You are better off finding someone whom you respect in the first place, and with potential, instead of setting yourself up to the difficult and impossible task of trying to change another human being. And really, it is kinder to them as well if you just let the wrong ones go instead of subjecting them to your anxious dissatisfaction.

Find someone who matches you intellectually and spiritually. Someone at least in your ball park. It’s even better if you genuinely think they are a little smarter or wiser than you in certain areas. This will fuel your respect and admiration- two things that can’t be borrowed or bought. Invaluable. Look for it.

Find someone whom you know you can talk to. Someone who can carry an interesting conversation and bring interesting perspective. True, some people don’t like to talk hardly at all, and if you are down with that and that is what you want, then I guess you had better find someone who is really okay with that, and wants that as well. But most of us want someone we can have meaningful conversation with. Look for someone who you know you can live a half to three quarters of a century with, and whom you will never become bored with because of their lack of depth. Important. Think about it. This is supposed to be forever, right?

Look at someone who has earned your loyalty, admiration, respect, affections, and love. And I mean earned. That, more than anything else, is going to matter to a woman the most in the long run and will also set precedent for the level of a man’s respect or disrespect toward you. Don’t be afraid to set the bar high. If he can’t jump it, he’s not worth it, trust me. You don’t always want to be guessing throughout your relationship if he really would have gone the distance for you. You want to know this upfront. You really do want to test him on this. You are a fool not to. I speak from experience.

Can you get down with his beliefs, his convictions, his dreams, his goals? Do you have common interests? Don’t underestimate the importance of this. This is the person you will be spending most of your time with. You’d better have at least 70-80 percent of the same interests and ideals. Do you truly admire him? Do you truly respect who he is as a person? Does he have skills and talents that you admire? What personality traits do you admire? What gets you excited? Is he an innovator, for instance, or a man who takes action? Do other men respect him? What is important to you? Do you find yourself a natural cheerleader for him, or does he have to force that out of you? Do you have to force it out of yourself? If you do then why are you in this relationship, girl? Do him a favor, move on.

I think there are universal needs that we have collectively as women and we need to learn to recognize, acknowledge, and accept what those needs are. But equally true is the fact that we also have individual preferences that we desire in a man. We won’t all want or need the same things. For instance, I have recently come to realize that I really want a man who isn’t on Facebook and will never get on Facebook, but has an impressive and bustling personal life. Quirky, huh? I have my reasons for this. They are solid and they are all my own. Another high preference of mine is a man who is as honest as the day is long. Just a deep need of mine. And a man who never stops mining for, and applying, spiritual truths in his life. Know who you are. Know what you need. Try not to settle ladies. Try very hard not to settle.

Get with a man who you can respect. Because when the chips are down and shaky ground finds its way into your union, it is your respect for him that is going to carry you both through and strengthen, not weaken, your relationship.

….Who Respects You.

You can feel his respect. Your inner being knows if he respects you or not. Trust it.

Does he value your opinions? Seek your advice? Take your advice? Is he impressed with how you live your life? Does he admire your values and believe in your character? You have to know these things. Don’t get with someone who does not.

If he hits or shoves you- even one time- he does not respect you. And it WILL happen again Trust me. Again, I speak from experience.

If you are not willing to have sex with him before marriage, will he still be there a few months or years down the road? Does he genuinely just like being with you enough to hang around? Does he love you enough to wait? Do you think it is asking too much of a man? It is not. In the Bible there was a man named Jacob and he loved a woman named Rachel. He offered to work for her Father seven years for her hand in marriage. The Bible tells us that Jacob’s love for Rachel was so strong that “Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her!” Honestly, if he loves you, he will wait.

He will hear your needs and work with you to meet them. He will be willing to talk things out with you. He will want to help and be “active” in his listening. He will validate your feelings and not write you off as an emotional female simply because he cannot deal with the depth your feelings bring. He is tender toward you in your distress because he adores you through and through. You are worthy of his undivided attention, just as he is worthy of yours, and you will not have to beg him for it in times of need.

He lifts you up with his words, instead of putting you down, both in private and in public. If he does not do this, he does not respect you. Remember, you deserve a man who respects you. And you had better always give him the same courtesy.

He will respect your boundaries. Do not appreciate his coming into the bathroom while you are using it? Then he won’t come in there, period. Need some space with your girlfriends? He won’t call you on the phone every hour. Don’t like to talk in a vulgar way about your previous love-making session? Then he will not. Don’t want him to brag to his friends about your sacred sex life? Then he won’t. The list goes on. You know your boundaries. Expect them to be respected. Assert them.

He will not bully you outwardly, nor will he bully you in a passive-aggressive manner. Both bring their own kind of heartache and are equally destructive. Watch for this while you are getting to know someone. If you are not too emotionally entangled with a person, these traits are not hard to spot. Thus why it is best not to give away your affections to a man who has not yet earned them.

He will expect his family and friends to respect you. Realize they will always follow his lead. If they see him disrespect you, this gives them license to disrespect you as well, and they will. It doesn’t matter if they are his parents, his siblings, or his children. He will protect you, and back you up in front of them. Especially when you are being upright, honorable, good, and kind.

Get with a man who you know will respect you. It will save you a lifetime of heartache.

…. Who Is Grown Up and Responsible.

You want a man who wants to lead and knows how to lead. Not a man whom you have to lead. Not a man whom you have to pull along. You will know him by the initiative and innovation he displays when he is still merely a ‘friend.’ Don’t be deceived. He won’t change once you get into a relationship with him- not long-term change anyway. You need to know that he will be a courageous leader, and a self-starter. Someone who will sit down with you and map out a plan for your family and will follow through with the plans you have made together. He keeps his promises by following up with what he said he would do. If you have found that he is someone you respect because you believe in him as a person, then you will be able to get under his leadership and let him lead. If you are in a relationship with someone whom you do not trust or respect then it will be very hard for you to get underneath his leadership. That is why I put that you should get with a man whom you can respect as #1, because everything else in your relationship depends on it.

Get with someone who doesn’t need a Mother. Look at his house. Is he clean? Is he organized? Does he get himself up for work on time? Does he pick up his clothes? Does he leave little unorganized piles of “stuff” in every room? Does he get the garbage to the curb on time? Is his garage organized? Are you okay with this? If you are not, better look at it. How big of a deal is it to you? Remember, he is not going to change to any great degree, so are you prepared to be a Mother to a man who needs one in order for your home to run properly? Now I am not saying he has to be perfect. But this comes down to you. You need to know what you can and cannot live with. You have to know what you are willing to overlook and what you know will drive you crazy. Keep your eyes open and figure out his mental age. Then figure out if you can live with someone that age.

Do you see him living out the beliefs he claims, or is he a man of many words, but little action? Actions always speak louder than words. And you want a man whose actions have a positive, not a negative, effect. Remember that men have an interesting effect on women. It is their actions that make us feel either secure or insecure. When a woman feels insecure she invariably uses more words. That’s how it works. When she feels secure in her relationship, she uses less words. Get with a man whose actions make you use less words, not more. Whose actions make you shed less tears, not more. Whose actions inspire you to be the very best woman you can be.

Get with a man who is not physically or emotionally lazy. He will put in the work to make your communication and understanding better and he will put in the work to provide for you.

Yes, he is the one who needs to provide. Old fashioned, I know. But it is God’s design. “But if any man does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t help out financially when needed. But what it does mean is that he carries the bulk of the responsibility in this area. When he honors this responsibility, it frees you up to be a better homemaker and a better helpmate. He does not have to be rich, and shame on you if you are looking for a rich man. But you do want a man who works an honest day for an honest dollar to provide for the ones he loves. A man who may not be rich, but wants to give you everything you need and even some of the things you want. He may not always be able to achieve this, but he should certainly want to in his heart. You should feel that and love him for it.

A mature man will not turn arguments around on you unfairly. He won’t make you feel crazy or tempt you to second guess what is true. He will not call you (or perceive you as) crazy when you are honestly working through feelings and issues. He will deal with them head on the same way you do and will not take detours or try to unbalance sanity in difficult times. Men who do this do not respect women. You know what it looks like. You know it when you see it. A little of this is too much. A lot of it should be a huge red flag. Respect yourself. Trust yourself. Walk away if he consistently shows spiritual immaturity in this manner.

….Who Has A Family That Respects You And You Can Get Along With.

We touched on this a bit earlier. A man sets the tone for how his family views you. Unless of course you are an evil woman who has pulled the wool over his eyes and his family sees what he does not. In that case, you are on your own and you won’t get any help from me. I’m assuming that only good-hearted and well-intentioned women are reading this blog. That’s who it is written for and that is who I am addressing.

Here’s the deal ladies: When you marry a man, you do indeed marry his family. Better make sure you can get along with them. I actually believe now that if you do not get along with a man’s family right from the get-go (after the first few awkward weeks or months of course), it is pretty tell-tale as to how difficult your marriage is going to be and possibly even how unsuited the two of you may be. And unless his family are all evil and he is the only good one of the lot (and that can happen!), they will actually know him better than you. They will have known him longer and can probably discern better what is best for him. This goes for his closest friends as well. They, too, are family. Pay attention to them. Learn a lesson from them. And, honestly, bow out if you have to. Know, too, that if they are treating you with the nasty, it will probably not be too long before he starts showing you his nasty side as well. They are kin after all. And we are products of our raising. Of all the things you might take my advice on, this one will probably be the hardest to swallow. I’m just telling you, I’ve been in two marriages, and seen a lot sister. I’m just sayin.’ Take it or leave it.

And last, but not least get with a man….

….Who Has Proven His Love For You.

Don’t get with a man who you think loves you. Don’t get with a man who you believe will prove his love for you when the time comes. Just don’t do it. Get with a man who HAS proven his love for you. Get with a man who has and is willing to prove his love for you along the way. And here is why.

#1. You deserve to know absolutely that he loves you. You deserve proof. You are worth that.

#2. Men talk a lot of talk. Men are good at sweet talking women. Men are good at getting the girl these days mainly because it is so easy. You make it easy. You make it easy because you fancy yourself in love and you do not want to lose him. But don’t you realize you are much better off without a man who doesn’t really love you back? If he loves you, he will be more than willing to prove it. This is how you will know he loves you. A man who doesn’t genuinely love you will drop out of the race. Why would any man want to do all of the things we have discussed? It’s an awful lot to ask of any man don’t you think? And believe me, he won’t UNLESS he loves you. Only love can make a man strive to give you the assurances you know in your heart that you need. If he can’t or won’t do the things above, then please hear me on this- he does not love you. Put these things to the test. Love will bear them out.

#3. If he doesn’t have to earn it, he will never really honor it. Men are just like that. They have to work for something to really appreciate it and attach value to it. Don’t deprive them of this. It has been said that “it is a man’s job to respect a woman, but it is a woman’s job to give him something to respect.” Truer words were never spoken. Give him something to respect by giving him the opportunity to prove his love.

Get with a man who finds you attractive and desirable in every way. Don’t get with a man who makes you a possible second runner up for his love. Never be content to be with a man who “settled” for you. It has also been said: “When someone treats you like an option, help them narrow their choices by removing yourself from the equation.” It’s that simple. Expect the very best from a man, never seconds my lovely. Because you are too damn lovely. Don’t ever believe for a minute that you aren’t worth more. There are, in fact, good men out there who will love just you, and all of you, and will wait for you, and will put in the effort for you. Get with those men. Well, ideally, just one of those men. 🙂 Leave behind the ones who are not worthy. Learn your worth.

I may not have had a Daddy to teach me my worth and I may have had to wade through time, experience, and much heartache before I finally chose to listen to, and believe, the voice my heavenly Father was whispering in my ear all of those long and difficult years. And I did, eventually, get the message. I did, eventually, learn. So now I am telling you the same thing with loads of love. Be wise in choosing who you settle down with. Take your time and make a good choice. You deserve that.

Remember nobody is perfect. And you WILL have to leave room for compromise and patience. Even the greatest guys are going to bring you heartache from time to time and you have to learn to roll with the punches (but not real punches). Men and women are different with different expectations and different needs. But if he loves you, he will be willing to prove it the way you need him to prove it. And once you know he loves you and has your best interests at heart, you have a better chance at overall contentment together even through the difficult times.

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We live in a new age. Everyone is an expert. Seemingly new ideas and philosophies are wowing those with improper upbringing and lack of a fundamental value system, common decency, common sense, and experience. So when a “new” idea comes along many takers jump on board.

Take for instance the idea of living a “positive” lifestyle. “I’m no longer going to let negativity into my life.” is the modern cry. But I have noticed that many of the people who voice this stance are often perpetrating more negativity than they realize. Because I think many times there is a misunderstanding about the true nature of positivity. For what is true positivity? Is it living a care-free life void of conflict or distraction from their goals? Really?

I have  a few ideas on the subject, and I’ve laid them out here in: “What Positivity Isn’t” and What Positivity Is.” Tell me if you can get down with this, if you can get on board, if you can pick up what I am putting down. 🙂

What Positivity Isn’t:

  • A lack of true peace, contentment and inner joy, no matter what is going on around us.
  • The need to avoid conflict at all costs.
  • A refusal to look deep into one’s soul to examine if I may have contributed to a problem when dealing with relational issues.
  • The need of drugs or alcohol to achieve a calm and restful state of being.
  • Living from Monday to Friday without any greater goal than looking forward to the weekend so that I may party with my “friends.” Positivity is not getting drunk or high every Saturday night. That is a temporary ‘happiness’ that leaves one empty, yet again, the next day.
  • Having no concept of/or taking no responsibility for/ putting true effort into making relationships work. Fruitful and rewarding relationships take effort. An extreme amount of effort from both parties.
  • Hanging on to my possessions and my perceived freedoms at all costs
  • Not taking responsibility for my actions.
  • Positivity isn’t only to talk about subjects that make me feel happy or upbeat. Or to only hang around people who are seemingly only happy or upbeat. (“He [Jesus] was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” -Isa 53:3) Why was Jesus like this? Ask yourself why was C.S. Lewis or Bob Dylan like this? All for the same reason. They contemplated the deep things of life, didn’t shy away from them, avoid them, or let them go. They contemplated pain and suffering, and they tried to do something about it. They always strove to go deeper, harder, stronger, longer. They were, in fact, the real deal.
    Does that mean they did not have inner joy? Of course not. I know for sure that all had serious inner joy. For knowing all things as Jesus did, and not being afraid to contemplate all things, as Dylan & C.S. Lewis did are what brings about ultimate peace. For if we do not search, then how can we ever arrive at the answers?
  • Positivity is not avoiding people who encourage you to be a better person and steer you toward better behaviors.
  • Positivity will not give in to the temptation of pride.

What Positivity Is:

  • Genuine peace, joy and contentment that can only come from a relationship with, trust in, and an understanding of Jesus Christ and what He desires for our life.
  • Living an honest life. Foremost being honest with oneself and before one’s God (“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts” -Psa 139:23)
  • Tarrying with my brother or sister, hearing their concerns and bearing their burdens with much forbearance and kindness. (“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” – Gal 6:2).
  • Learning to be content with a few good friends in whose hearts you can trust, instead of the false validation of many friends whose hearts are not with you.
  • Does not avoid conflict, but deals with conflict head on as one who is courageous and one who is kind- who does not seek his/her own comfort. Realizing that without conflict no relationship will ever delve beneath the surface and become great or beautiful or truly comfortable. This is true in our adult relationships and is especially true when raising our growing children.
  • Positivity is gentleness and patience in attitude and manner. (Kathleen, especially, needs to work on this when she feels hurt from others)
  • Is knowing your own worth no matter what anyone else tries to tell you that you are, or you are not. God says you were uniquely and wonderfully made!
  • Deals with sin head on and honestly.
  • A positive person will not consider themselves as entitled or elite, but humbles oneself and avails oneself to service in the kingdom. Whatever it takes. Whatever the Lord requires at any given moment in order to build relationships, in order to mentor, or in order to build the kingdom.
  • Is not selfish with their things or their time.
  • Is not a respecter of persons.
  • Positivity is content with being alone when it is required.
  • It knows oneself and owns up to the good and the bad in oneself. Works on oneself and gives oneself a break at the same time. But more than that, knows one’s Savior and knows Who holds the entire universe, and everything that goes on in it, in the palm of His hand. And rests in that at all times, even when there is no one else standing beside you in the whole world. That is positivity at its finest.
  • Positivity is spending joyful hours with children and the elderly.
  • Positivity is giving to the poor and spending time with them. Realizing their value and their worth. (“Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”- James 2:5)
  • Positivity is loving at all times in word and in action.

So maybe it is time to re-think the positive lifestyle. Maybe it is time to dig a little deeper. I guarantee that if you do, you will smile even in whatever darkness the world might throw your way. And then the, “I’m no longer going to let negativity into my life” becomes a very big job indeed. But you will be on the right track and you will see great success.

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Here are a few definitions of the word “respect” from various dictionary resources:
Dictionary.com:
“esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability.”
“the condition of being esteemed or honored.”
“a formal expression or gesture of greeting, esteem, or friendship”
“to show regard or consideration for.”
The Cambridge Dictionary:
“the polite attitude shown toward someone or something that you consider important.”
The Oxford Dictionary:
“Due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others.”

Life for me over the course of the last few years has been a grueling lesson in self-respect.

I am a kind person. Known for giving family and friends second, third, and seventh chances. I think in many ways this is good and right. Forgiveness is necessary. It is necessary to purify the poisoning that un-forgiveness brings into our own soul. It is necessary for offering relief, mercy, and grace to the offender. And necessary in the greater recognizing of our own desperate need for forgiveness from a loving Savior and from people whom we have hurt.

I was also raised by an unassuming woman who would have rather melted into the walls behind her, than take anything for herself. Whether that anything came in the form of praise, rights, monetary gain, or respect for her opinions. Yes, more than once I saw her sacrifice her own self-worth in public only to cry lonely within the privacy of her four walls. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18. Selah. Bless you Mama.

And though I am her daughter, I am coming to learn a different way. I am learning that there is a fine line between losing one’s self for others, and giving them your self- respect. Because in the end giving your self-respect to others is doing them an injustice because it isn’t Truth. And anything that is born out of a lie will not manifest into anything good in their lives. When you give others your self-respect, you are also doing yourself an injustice for the exact same reason.

How do I know that as soon as you give your self-respect away you begin living a lie? Because The Bible tells me that you are VALUABLE. You can see this concept fleshed out here in my blog, The Value of A Person.

But there is another way that we can know that to give away our self-respect is to live a lie. And this is in a much more practical sense, if you will. When we live a self-depreciating life style we are equipping the people in our lives to a) not know who we really are, and b) not respect who we are. People will eventually view us in the exact manner that we have taught them to view us.

I came to recognize this as a grave error in my own life in my late forties. So when I achieved that grandiose milestone of 50 years, I made a promise to myself. “Never again”, I said. From this day forward, I live who I am. Not who you want me to be- because that makes you happy and comfortable. Not who you want me to be. And not who you want me to be.  Me.  The ‘Me’ God created me to be. It was good enough for Him. It’s always been good enough for me. The only one it maybe hasn’t been good enough for is you.

But life is funny. Here is the thing I have learned. As soon as the Truth takes hold in us and permeates our being, the appollyon- the father of lies- the roaring lion- abaddon himself- will show up. And true to his namesake, will stop at nothing to remove the Truth from our lives and render us devalued once again.

For the past few years now, satan has manifested himself in this stratagem in various ways, and as a result:

• I have had to stop initiating contact with a close family relation because s/he proved time and time again that s/he did not value relationship with me as a high priority. I wasn’t a medium priority, and as it turned out I wasn’t even a bottom of the rung priority. There comes a point when we must accept Truth. Live in it. Don’t rescue friends or family from the consequences of the behaviors they exhibit. Live in the truth of where your relationship is at. Allow them to do the same. This is their expression of your perceived value in their lives. Respect: “the condition of being esteemed or honored.”

• I have had to acknowledge the bullying mentality of another close relative, and remove them from good standing, and re-erect old boundaries toward them in my life. This person also exhibited lack of respect and support for me as an individual and my choices. Respect: “to show regard or consideration for.”

• I had to acknowledge that a friend’s loyalty and desire for deeper friendship was lip service only when I tested my suspicions and stopped being the one to initiate every phone call and plan our every outing by not calling him/her, and naturally he/she has never called since, and I do not expect to ever hear from him/her ever again. Respect: “a formal expression or gesture of greeting, esteem, or friendship”

• I had to accept the fact and cut lose another friend who told me that I was a very important person in their life and that this person had connection with me that he/she did not have with other people, but dropped me like a hot potato whenever any of those other people were around. Respect: “the polite attitude shown toward someone or something that you consider important.”

• I always feel profoundly disrespected when dealing with ‘church’ people, since , when asked, I’ve always tried to patiently explain to them how my church service and worship to God may look quite a bit different from their church service and worship. And that I find the way I do it is, for me, more effective for my growth in His service. I always give them plenty of respect and space to worship God in any way they like and in their preferred gatherings. But when I do not show up to their particular form of worship, I am branded as backslidden or rebellious.” Respect: “Due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others.”

• I love my husband. But he is a charmer. Sure, he charms me. But evidently he charms everyone else around him as well. Especially the women. I’ve been in a few relationships in my life, but can’t say that I have been in any before where I am pretty much invisible. I can sit down to visit with any number of our female acquaintances, and basically be ignored for up to two hours while they direct all of their eye contact, all of their questions, all of their laughter, and all of their dialogue at my husband. It cracks me up when they remember that I am there. You can see it in their eyes, “Oh, I should say something to her. But I have no idea what to say to her because I don’t understand her.” Then, bam, just as quickly as the thought of me got in the way, they are back to enjoying the light in his eyes. Ah, such is life. Disrespect. The world is rife with it these days. The course of action would be to say, “Would you like to visit with my husband alone? And why, exactly, do you introduce me along with him, as your friend?” But, really, what’s the use? At this point I have as little respect for you as you do for me. Even my husband says it is starting to get tiresome. Because, he says, when someone disrespects his wife, they disrespect him. Respect: “the condition of being esteemed or honored.”

So, it’s been a tough few years to say the least. Mainly because satan has attacked me through the people who once were the closest to me. But perhaps they weren’t as close as I thought after all. And if my standing up for myself and asserting some self-respect has cost me relationships, then maybe it is time to get new relationships. Perhaps it is not by coincidence that I find myself in a different country. And I do, actually, take ownership for some of it. For I have taught people how they may treat me. What they can, and cannot get away with. I thought I was being kind. But I wasn’t being kind, for I was only bringing a half Truth.

Still, I am not always good at assertiveness. In fact, it is my least favorite thing to do, truth be known. But it is becoming a little more a part of me every day as I realize the folly of other routes. These days the people who meet me learn pretty quickly who I am. Take it or leave it. I don’t run with crowds I have to impress anymore. I don’t run with people who aren’t impressed with me, or who haven’t got time for a little give and take.

Does this narrow my sphere of friends? Sure it does. But I would rather have one genuine friend than 10 friends who don’t respect who I am. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

Still, I love those who have gone before. I pray breakthroughs in our relationships. I pray genuineness. I pray forgiveness, and God’s love to all. And to those who have gone before, I’m sorry for the confusion. Who I was twenty years ago, I am not today. Hopefully we are all constantly changing and growing.

With much love and respect.

*Note to self:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson

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discernment                                           The Most Discerning Man I Know  🙂

I created some confusion in my last blog. I said that I was “afraid” of people and that was misleading.  It was a bad word choice.  I’m actually quite good with people. Many friends and acquaintances would attest to that. As revealing an exercise as writing is, it is important to note and respect its unique power and unique danger especially with words inadvertently penned.

A better phrase would have been, “I am overwhelmed and exhausted in the presence of many spirits.”

Let me explain.

I was raised in a poor family with six brothers and sisters.  One of whom was mentally handicapped. Please don’t query me on my politically incorrect word usage for mental retardation.  We’ve lived through several of the world’s changing phrases my brother Len and I. Mentally retarded, mentally handicapped, mentally disabled, mentally challenged, intellectually disabled, to name a few. Whatever phrase you want to use, it will mean something different to you than it will to me.  For you, it’s the latest, greatest, most accepted, and most sensitive LABEL. For me- he’s my brother and I love him no matter what label you put on him.

My brother Len was a year younger than me.  That made him my shadow. That made him my charge. It also meant that every insult hurled his way hit me first- full on. It wasn’t enough that we tumbled out of the Rocky Mountains, dirty little waifs, shoddy in second hand clothing, and the brunt of every joke that cruel and unenlightened children contemptuously slathered upon us.  Here, too, was an oddly moving and speaking character whose abundant “difference” incurred wrath from other children and one heartless family member as well.

Some say that I have the gift of discernment. And I do. It is of the heightened variety. It is not on its practice run, nor in its rudimentary stages. It is developed. Keenly.

But I have often wondered- at what stage does God give out the gifts? Is it at birth? Is it when He decides we need them the most? Or are they developed over time?

For many years I did not realize- was not aware- that I had the gift of discernment. I thought everybody could do what I do: read people’s hearts based on spirit lurches that were plainly visible to me.  It wasn’t until around the age of forty that it became apparent to me that other people did not all share in this experience of knowing- or that I did indeed carry in my spirit the gift of discernment.

Looking back now I see this gifting probably as a kindness and a stabilizer from the Lord. A protection and a guide that would lift me above the chaos that would ensue. I was always on high alert. I never knew what  special form of misery was going to present itself with each new school day.

Back then, mentally handicapped individuals were integrated into the regular classrooms without special assistance or attendants. Len was a sitting duck for ridicule. I learned to see them coming. At first I bought their phony kindness hook, line, and sinker. You know, that sweet manipulation of our emotions just before they went in for the kill.  Where a friend at last turned out to be the meanest bully of them all.  So this is where my gift of discernment was developed. Or this is where it was given to me, there, when I needed it the most. I learned to discern every little body flinch. I deciphered the layers beneath their words. I dissected intent. And I did it all in a flash. In a split second. I absorbed it all. And that is how I lived my entire life.  I did it unconsciously.  I did it with grace. With giggles. In shyness. In movements, mannerisms, and conversations. “To survive it you play deaf and dumb.” (a brilliant quote from the man pictured at the head of this blog).  I have the gift of discernment and it is strong.

And this is why I say that” I am overwhelmed and exhausted in the presence of many spirits.”

My gift of discernment has morphed into a sophisticated and grown-up understanding of people.

Like you, I try to surround myself with people I trust. People who I know have my best interest at heart. People who are genuinely kind and easy going. I like hanging out in those crowds. A safe environment where my zanny, creative and audacious self can shine forth. And I do have these people in my life, pockets of them here and there. Oases in a desert. Sparkling water chugging down a parched throat.

But put me five minutes in a room with a mixed bag of people who may or may not fit into this category and I start to absorb. I may be carrying on a conversation, but consciously and unconsciously I pick up every little thing. I pick up motives. I pick up intentions. I pick up arrogance and agenda. I pick up pain and inadequacies.  I am especially sensitive to the odd man out- the least popular. I pick up hurts and loves.  I pick up goodness. And I am drawn toward it. I do not even have a name for everything that I pick up. But it sticks to me and I carry it around like a lead weight.

That’s why I retreat. That is why I go and try and work out all of this mess quietly, privately in song. “Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend.” – Ludwig van Beethoven

I’ll come back again after a day or two. And I may even be the life of the party for a while. Why?  Because I genuinely love people and desire relationship. It’s just an awful lot for me to absorb- that great big world out there, because I pay attention. Not by choice, but by design.

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Women- started off as little girls. butterfly

Who played with the boys
sometimes in the mud.
And tramped through the forest in their back yards
and built forts by the stream.
And rode on stallions with the best of them.
Defending the kingdom and rescuing prisoners
From the evil lords.

Yes, all women started off as little girls.

I have a heart for women. I have a heart for North American women aged 20 through 90. There is a collective, continental cry that is so profound in its sorrow, it becomes inaudible, and is scarcely heard at all. And yet this cry is so cumulative, so united, and so thorough in its sweeping of this demographic that I’m surprised at the oppression of its sound.
I think the silence is due to the women themselves. I don’t think women are even aware of one of their deepest needs. One of the North American woman’s deepest needs is to be wild like a flower. And for me, it is the most delightful thing on the planet to see a woman who has allowed herself to become a Wild Flower.

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We have a history. It begins around age twenty. We learn very quickly to leave the outdoors behind. We must forget about alcoves under aspen trees, picking our way across rocks in the stream, and leisurely reading books in the grass. We simply cannot drop everything and run out to build forts with the boys anymore. We have babies to hold, and change, and feed. We have meals to cook, and houses to clean. And at the end of the day when exhaustion sets in, we have sex to be delivered on demand like a vending machine. What we once enjoyed now becomes a chore when it is not coupled with conversation, compassion, camaraderie, and help in the kitchen.
The “boys” are still out hunting, riding motorcycles, monster trucking, poker playing, hiking, and diving into swimming holes. Insult is added to injury when our children complain that we are not any fun at all, and that with Daddy is the preferred place to be, while we are left at home with mounds of laundry still to finish.

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And what do women do? We stop looking for adventure. We replace our deepest need with shopping sprees, girls nights out, jewelry, the finest furniture our money can buy, the nicest car in the neighborhood, a rich husband, status in the community, our children’s apparent success, the fancy dishes that we serve, and our pretty clothes. And yet we are empty inside and we don’t know why. When really all we needed was one good sturdy bike and the courage to use it.
The courage to ride it every day to the market and buy fresh vegetables. The courage to plop it down by the river with our baby in his pack on our back, and our book to read. The courage to sink our toes in the grass. The courage to leave the dishes in the sink and not worry what the other women might think. The courage to dig our own gardens and sow our own seed. The courage to take a road trip with our friends and babies in tow. The courage to scale any mountain at any time of year. The courage to wear hippie clothes and build fires on the beach. The courage to visit the coffee shop daily and visit with the old timers in town. The courage to lie in a meadow with butterflies floating all around. The courage to be intentional about getting out in nature every single day, so that we DO NOT LOSE OUR CENTER. You can point to a thousand things that center us- meditation, prayer, reading good material, etc, but all of these lose their greatest potential for the greatest good when we fail to find time out in nature.

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You see, we were placed in the garden of Eden initially. We were not placed in a concrete sea. In fact cities were not anywhere to be found. That is not what God created for us. He created for us trees, and grass, and wind, and flowers, and animals, and rivers, and clouds, and sky instead. Why? Because He knows what is best for us. He knows where and how we will thrive.
And yet, we have come so far away. So far away from what we were created to be. We are children of the earth… and we are wandering around in shopping malls. We are lost. We are sad.
Before the industrial revolution Mommies and Daddies stayed on the farms and worked the land as a family unit. Babies were on backs, children were dropping corn into the rows, Mama was hauling water from the creek, and Papa was holding the reins on the plow horse. Everyone was in stellar shape and soaking up the sun. Then the factories took Daddies away, and eventually even the Mommies too. And Mommy traded her life in nature for a life indoors in a grand house, with a grand scheme to make her grand house even grander, and without even noticing it she became a slave to this endeavor, and very sad on the inside.
And so the cry. The silent cry. A cry strong enough to change white fluffy clouds into grey. And all across the nation I hear this cry every day.

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So I have started the ministry Wild Flowers. I want to reach out to women and offer them fun outdoor things to do together. I want to offer outdoor church on the beach for those who are interested (Once we relocate. Ask me privately where we are going and why we have chosen this spot if you like). I want to rescue young Moms especially who look like they need a little good, clean adventure in their lives. I’m interested in older lonely women who need a bigger purpose in their lives. For all who would appreciate daily hikes, bike rides, lifestyle changes, encouragement, and camaraderie in our quest to come alive again and to become comfortable in the outdoors often, with the wind on our face. And kudos to all of the courageous women out there who are already Wild Flowers and don’t need my encouragement at all. How you have inspired me!!
There is so much more to say, this is just the beginning!
Like how about becoming the catalyst for a Wild Flowers group in your area?

There is so much more to say AND DO, this is just the beginning!

Come and join my Wild Flowers group on Facebook. It is a group for women who already are, or would like to become, Wild Flowers and the men who support this lifestlye.  CLICK HERE: Wild Flowers group on Facebook

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