Wednesday, April 4, 2012

60 Days of Gratitude

Tom and I have decided to sort of change things up on here for a bit.  The next two months, will be days of gratitude.  Sixty grateful days.   Sixty of them.   So away we go. 

Grateful Day 1:  TOM - Free lunch.  Hot dogs and food at work.  That WE (each other, our kids) are alive and healthy.   JENNI - Free lunch.  Had one of my docs take me to lunch.  Thats always nice.  I echo Tom.  Grateful for our family, that we are alive and healthy and have each other. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Family Returns...

We took a family blogging hiatus.  Settling in to our new digs has been time consumming and nothing like we had imagined it to be, that is for sure!  However, life is settling back down.   The move here generated a mid-life tsunami, and I am not exaggerating.   The waters have all receeded and the cleanup of the aftermath, almost done.  The structure turned out to be more solid than we expected.  There just so happened to be a pretty decent foundation and that is the important thing.  The turbulent winds and rising waters of life can often feel overwhelming.  Despair can easily set in.  The scene from the movie Titanic was often discussed around our house, over the past few months.  One riding the debris, the other hanging off the edge, just barely holding on.  We took turns, riding and hanging on.   Many times it was truely a miracle the one didnt let go and sink into the abyss.  But we both held on and the rescue boats arrived.  The storm passed.  The debris cleared and we are still standing, holding hands and working shoulder to shoulder to rebuild  a stronger structure together.  

We both firmly believe that there is nothing that cannot be overcome, especially when a couple, a family, partners, friends, look honestly, truthfully and include God in their efforts to strengthen and grow.  

We are very grateful for the friends and supporters who have championed us through the last three months.  The unconditional love, truth telling and support, no matter what the issue, has been faith building and renewing.   Sometimes, in our deepest moments of despair, when we feel we can no longer hang on, it takes those people to hold us and help us.  True friendship comes from not telling us to just do what we want or what we feel impulsive to do at the moment, it speaks truth and helps to dig through the debris, until we discover the truth and are willing to look at the wounds that are inflicted.   Those are true friends, loyal to a fault and who also understand the gracious gift of Grace. 

But most importantly, it takes the understanding of our Savior's gift of grace, to carry us through, as we let go.  Instead of sinking to the depths of the abyss, He holds our head above the waters and carries us, until the waves of despair pass. 

WE are indeed grateful for all.   WE look to the future, as a couple and family, with faith, hope and love. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

There but for the Grace of God Go I...

This phrase has been stuck in my head for a couple of weeks now.  I kept asking myself why?  Its attributed to John Bradford (distant relative) being spoken as he watched prisoners heading to the stockades, but some are not convinced of that valid attribution.   As likely as it could have been spoken (or not), the meaning is clear - Watching the suffering of ones who have made painful choices and errs and knowing that all that keeps you from being them is God's Grace or your faith in action in the belief in God's Grace.  

God's grace and mercy are wonderful things, but all too often difficult to personally assimilate into our hearts.  Why, in our natural state, do we all at times (some more than others) feel so unworthy of God's love and grace?  We are his creations and He is perfect.

Our natural man so wants to defeat our spiritual man and there we have the struggle of earthly existence.   I do know that I have been given a gift from a very young age, understanding God's individual care and love for me.   I guess he thought I needed it.   What is my struggle is accepting his help and grace at times when I feel like I should just manage on my own and figure it out all alone.   I forget that He wants to help me too, not just those I think need the help more at that particular time.  Gosh,  a good friend reminded me today that God does have the ability to manage it all - unlike me - who can't multitask very well any more.  He is and will continue to be the ultimate multitasker!

So no matter what, God's plan is bigger than I know and see and his grace is there to carry me through.  I don't have to go it alone - He's got my back!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Full Circles

Our move to Columbia, for me, has been about coming full circle.   Its been quite a retrospective period of time and I am finding recently, that writing seems to be the best expression of the observations.   I turned 50 too, so I guess thats a substantial ingredient in this recipe of retrospection.

This weeks thoughts have melded toward what is real and what is not real.   I had a very wise pastor who once told me that in looking for purposeful, long-lasting relationships, that the key ingredient was to come to an understanding that no matter what and no matter who, you will be disappointed at some point in time.  It cannot be avoided.   How you deal with the disappointment is really what defines your character and integrity.  Pastors/Shepherds can be very wise people sometimes!

Now, disappointment comes in all degrees.  We are disappointed our children refuse to clean their rooms, or continue to eat in the living room when we remind them its against the rules.   There are bigger disappointments, when children and friends make poor choices, that have consequences that cause them to struggle harder than is necessary and then we all know there are the big disappointments.  In today's culture, some of those disappointments are automatic "deal breakers".   We give up, walk away and don't look back.

Now be patient with me and follow my train of thought here.  In my retrospection this week, I have thought about the Savior and his teaching us about forgiveness.  More importantly, I have thought about Heavenly Father and as his child, how does he handle me when I have really disappointed him?  Does he walk away from, give up and never look back?  OR, does he counsel me on my err, (reprove with sharpness) and then put his arms around me and (or sometimes in the form of those we have even disappointed) and show an increase in love.  It is only when we walk away from our Father in Heaven that we run into bigger issues.

Now, with that perspective on the ones that disappoint, its also a perspective on what we can do as the disappointed ones.   If those we care for, our friends, children, loved ones, disappoint us, even with deep disappointment, its our responsibility to pattern our response after the Father.  Reprove with sharpness (clarity) - that means boundaries, honesty all done with as much grace and graciousness as one can muster.  Then, as we work together as families and friends, show the increase of love that is needed to reach the other side and rejoice in goodness and mercy!

Some disappointments take longer than others.   Patience is needed.  But love, hope, and faith, these three, can change both the one who has disappointed us and those who have been disappointed.