Monday, March 31, 2014

Listen to Your Body, Your Spirit, and Those People Who are Gifts to You

Movement is an important part of my self-care. If you read my post yesterday, you could tell that piece had been missing for a time because of my recovery from surgery. Even though I awoke tired this morning and groaned when Hubby came in to tell me that it was freezing rain a bit outside, I knew the path to the gym and training with Kate was open before me this morning. I needed it desperately.

The roads were challenging from yesterday's storm, but I'd driven worse. Once there I walked a mile around the track before Kate arrived. The next hour was spent with light exercise and talking about nutrition and where I need to go from here. It was so great and motivating. Kate encouraged me to listen to my body and move intuitively. I had been perusing websites talking about raw foods and detoxing, desperate to move into healing and good health. Yet I knew Kate's voice was the voice I needed to listen to, along with my own inner compass. Kate knows me well after years of working together. She told me to detox my mind of all the websites and ideas and stick to one simple step at a time, as I had been doing. She discouraged any big changes or detox right now. I have already lost too much weight and I eat fairly healthy on a regular basis. It made sense and resonated with my spirit. I had journaled early this morning, before meeting with Kate, about specific steps I want to implement in April. Under each category of body, soul, and spirit I wrote LISTEN.

I feel lighter and happier. I came home to a salad that I pre- made and popped in the refrigerator with spinach and fresh organic strawberries, tuna on the side. ( Where do they get those in northern Maine in March?) I know me and if I wait until I get home, I am often too hungry and eat something easy. This time I pulled the salad out and added avocado slices and dressing. I grabbed a handful of sea salt crackers and placed a piece of dark chocolate on my tray. It was so pretty that I enjoyed every bite. 

So this salad is my Monday creation for Jamie Ridler's "I Made This!" Monday.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Even the Snowman Wants Out!

 I love being snowed in on a Sunday, but I think I am going stir crazy and ready for spring. I've spent too much time in the house for the past month. I am tired of reading, writing, watching television, checking Instagram and looking at the same four walls! My shoulders ache from too little exercise and too much time in my chair. Now I know that much of this has been necessary healing time, but even though I am not 100 percent, it's time to make a move. I think even Mr. Snowman is ready for a meltdown! 

I'm going to share a few goodies I've been looking at tonight.
  • Researching blenders - Do I want to invest money in a really good one? I googled the difference between a Ninja and a Vitamix.
  • A good reminder to appreciate those around you from  Relyn.
  • Watch the clip Relyn recommended from Out of Africa - loved it!
I also got Hubby's pics onto the laptop from his phone, started a food diary (must figure out what makes me feel sick or not!),  and tried for the fourth time to backup my iPod Classic I've had it for years but I can't do it! See, too much time on my hands.

Can you tell I am in need of physical movement? Tomorrow morning I return to the gym with Kate, my trainer and nutrition coach. Please, please, please go away freezing rain!

Oh and sorry about my lack of clarity in yesterday's post. It wasn't our anniversary. Hubby and I were celebrating his good health report.

I won't have time to post tomorrow so I gladly say my goodbyes to March tonight. Goodbye, adios, sayanora (spelling?). I would say good riddance but that would be going against my intentional gratitude list and there have been many things to be thankful for. Thanks for listen to me ramble this final Sunday evening in March.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Simple Saturday Celebration

Church where we were married 44 years ago

Hubby and I set aside today to celebrate our good news. Because of the threat of  blizzard-like winds and snow, we rescheduled our appointments mid-week. His doctor was kind enough to call us with the results of Hubby's tests. All good! Yay! 

At first we thought we might head downstate for the weekend, see a movie and our kids. The weather report for tomorrow changed our minds so we opted to go with the flow. We slept in until 8:00 a.m. which is late for us, Hubby cleaned the pellet stove while I made a fresh juice. In the midst of cleaning up, I broke a glass in the dish water with a scary jagged edge and came out without a scratch. Grateful!

Then Hubby went out to the Agri-business show while I drank my tea and journaled. By the time he got home, I was showered and ready to go. But where would we go? Our adventurous day took us to Marden's to look at recliners but we found nothing. From there we went to lunch, where Hubby enjoyed a calzone loaded with greasy goodies and I stuck to salad. On to the grocery store!

The highlight of our day were the pictures and video our daughter sent to us of our three-year old granddaughter by the ocean. Hubby had his volume turned up so loud that all the store could hear the video until I suggested he turn it down. LOL. We watched it again after exiting the store, this time at full volume.

Now we're home and Hubby is napping in the chair as I write this post. It may not seem like a very exciting celebration to anyone looking in from the outside, but from our point of view it was perfect. After months of being apart a good amount of time, we didn't need fireworks or champagne,  just a simple Saturday together.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Turning Toward Grace

"The days of the blameless are known to the Lord." Psalm 37:18 NIV

My thoughts are filled with tomorrow's appointments in Bangor, three hours away, the weather threatening close and what our reports will be. Then I open to Psalm 37. My days are known to God.

After all, He is the One who created days, is He not?

An eternal God limited himself with time marked out by evening and morning. How he made this separation is a mystery for the sun and moon were not in existence until the fourth day. The Alpha and the Omega limited himself to each day to complete his work. The timeless God.

Amazing! How else could we have known that his mercies are new every morning if life was one endless day?

Sleep is a precious commodity, vital to this body weakened by the Fall. I wonder what Adam and Eve's eternal bodies were like prior to their sin? No weariness, no sickness, no fearful twinges of pain. Oh, heaven must be beyond comprehension!

For now I live here in "here-time" as Ann Voskamp would describe it. 

And the Eternal pours out fresh grace upon my every morning.

I turn toward Grace and give thanks.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Living with (Re-) Purpose

"I only deepen the wound of the world when I neglect to give thanks for early light..."
Ann Voskamp

I was excited to place my pen on the first page of a brand new journal this morning! The old me would have waited until April 1, somehow stretched out the previous one to make it work. Over the past year, I have made serious progress moving away from the need for perfectionism including perfect endings and beginnings.

As I wrote, I included the quote by Ann from "One Thousand Gifts." I am on my fourth reading of her book, this time reading it in small increments aloud. I began to thank God for the sunlight pouring in my kitchen window, giving the appearance of warmth although if I stuck my head out the door that myth would quickly disappear :)

I prayed for my granddaughter who has a lot on her plate right now. 
"Give me an undivided heart to praise you."
I knew my heart-prayer was mixed with worry, so I began to thank God for all the times He has taken care of her in the past.

"The other side of prayer." That's what Ann calls thanksgiving. I must be intentional in moving to the other side, Intentional in the giving of thanks.

Slowly I had a prompting to move away from my normal morning routine and dig out my visual journal. I hadn't touched it for five months.

Placing it before me on the table, I turned to the first blank page. I reached for the magazines stored in the box where I keep my journal. I knew my heart was calling for me to turn off my brain and pull, tear and glue pictures. So I did. Eight pages and two hours later, I was astounded at what lie before me. I wish I had glued my images on a new dream board.

An idea entered my head. I went to the copier with my journal and copied the color pages. I pulled out a piece of poster board and lay them side by side for another morning.

Something was taking place inside of me as I worked on these pages, unfolding, falling away, taking shape. 

A word surfaced:


What does that even mean? I read an article about New York City repurposing an old train track platform into a park where people can jog or walk and enjoy the area. 

Over the past year and a half my life shifted, in a good way, although through difficult circumstances. 
There was an emptying.

Re-purpose = to give a new purpose or use, to change something so that it can be used for a different purpose
            Merriam - Webster

Ann says that "something always comes to fill the empty places." I want to begin on the other side of prayer, counting those "grace moments" with gratitude. 

How do I do the rest? The re-purposing? Brene' Brown says to DARE TO NOT KNOW. 

When I don't know, its okay to rest and live with the questions. 

The point is to LIVE.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Carriages, Carrots & Crowns - Week in Review

One of the things I love about being home in the County is meeting the Amish buggies along the road. I always wave and smile because they make me happy. Perhaps its the reminder to slow down and live life simpler. I prayed that I wouldn't run into this buggy as I snapped the pic with my iPhone while driving :)

This was my favorite Instagram photo of the week. My beautiful granddaughter. 

Annoyances and irritations fought hard to drown out my voice of gratitude this week. Mom's constant  problems with DISH network was one. After two weeks of this, finally a new receiver is on the way to northern Maine. I won't rehearse every one of the irritations  again for fear that I will fall back into the mire of negativity, but I must mention the carrot juice.

My goal each morning is to make a fresh juice for my breakfast. I have a couple of favorites but I'd run out of those ingredients by Saturday so I proceeded to make a carrot juice. I piled the carrots in my juicer and turned it on only to realize it wasn't tightly sealed and tiny bits of carrots flew everywhere. They coated my appliances, the window over my sink, clean dishes, everything in a wide radius. I was frustrated!

I managed to make and drink the juice only to have it upset my stomach. The carrots were too much for early morning so when I drove to mom's to check out her DISH, I went in nausea to her already 80 degree apartment. Okay, so I am ranting a bit. Forgive me.

I began this journal in September of 2013 and wrote on the last line today. What an incredible journey the last seven months have been! The folder underneath my journal contains my book which I am still  working on and so proud of myself for sticking with it, even if no one ever reads it. My iPad is next in the pile, my constant companion and gateway this week to an online Health Warrior Summit with daily videos on nutritional health and eating plans such as juicing, Paleo diet, Gluten-free and on and on. It can be overwhelming but I have decided to stick with baby steps, like my morning juices. 

Last but not least, peeking out from the bottom is my Mac, where I write my book and post to my blog.

The highlight of my week was beyond a doubt FaceTime with my girls, everything from these incredible smiles to Lily's fashion show with heels, sparkly skirt and crown. What a delight! Thanks Amber, McKenna, and Lily for being the sunshine of my week :)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Embracing the Mystery of God

Instead we speak the wisdom of God, hidden in a mystery, that God determined before the ages for our glory. 1 Corinthians 2:7 NET

For years I struggled with the tension between who I knew God to be from his Word and the experiences of life challenges. Jesus the Healer walked the pages of the Scriptures, but sickness and disease ravaged those around me and chronic illness became my daily companion. I've heard all the arguments, studied the writings of scholars old and new, strived to find that place of faith. 

Then one day I heard Bill Johnson from Bethel Church in Redding, California say a few wise words on the subject of unexplained suffering.  One line captured my heart.
"I attribute it to the mystery of God." 

God's wisdom is hidden in mystery, creating a divine tension which pulls me away from reasoning to surrender. My vision moves from the God-Image I have created in my mind to the God who dynamites the sides out of the box Ive kept him in. I have a choice to make. Surrender to the mystery or remain in the struggle.

My hands open wide, releasing everything to him.


Divine tension is displayed in the Lord's Prayer.

"Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name."
 He is our Abba Father, our loving God but he is still to be revered and held in high esteem.

"Give us this day our daily bread."
Our eternal Creator, to whom time is endless, no beginning or ending, except in Him, gave us this prayer. Ask for your daily provision. He knew we could handle no more than one day at a time.

The God who judges nations has the heart of a shepherd. A mystery indeed!

Do I want anything less?  Would I want a God that I could figure out, that I could control? If that were the case, he would be a mere idol, shaped by man. Man doesn't have the greatest track record so the answer is clear-cut when I look at it through a lens untainted by earthly thinking.

Each morning this month, I worship with Deuteronomy 6. "The LORD our God, the LORD is One."
Hands open to surrender and embrace.

According to 1 Corinthians 2:7, God determined this for our glory. Ours not His. Now that is another mystery.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spilling Jelly Beans in a Doctor's Office

I'm sitting in the doctors office waiting for hubby. It is two weeks ago today he was waiting for me to get out of surgery. Now I wait and pray for him while he has a procedure. We traveled the three hours south this morning marveling at the high banks and snow laden trees lining the sides of the highway. Another March storm hit us yesterday. Everyone is praying for an early spring.

In my last post I was considering taking a break from social media and my blog. I did break for a few days from Instagram and Facebook. Wednesday evening I checked in and read a few blogs as well. Honestly I didn't miss FB or Instagram at all so I guess I'm not addicted. I did, however, channel my writing into my book rather than my blog. It was a welcome change.

Life is slower for me these days. Recovery from surgery is filled with all sorts of details that no one bothers to mention. That part is definitely not fun. I am enjoying reading and resting in the afternoons. Little frustrations come in the form of having to ask Hubby to carry the basket of towels into the kitchen  by the washer, because I am unable to lift for a month. In the scheme of things, that's really nothing.

The other night I was watching the news and my heart was wrenched by a report of a young mother with five children and a newborn. She was living in a tiny makeshift home, damp and cold amongst hundreds of Syrian refugees. When I crawled into my warm cozy bed that night, my prayers filled with ache for her and I began to ask God somehow to send someone to help that woman across the ocean.

When Hubby and I pulled into the parking lot here today there was a pickup with the words on the front, "I am that I am." 

When I know nothing else for sure, I know that God is huge, the great I Am. Yet he is loving and compassionate and I know his heart aches for that young mother as well.

I pause in this typing to place my hand to my side, where it aches. I am still healing and the trip down was trying. He knows that too.

My words are spilling on this page like jelly beans out of a jar, many colors and flavors, a mosaic of thoughts. What are the thoughts in your heart today? Spill into the comments my friends. I always read them.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Divided Loyalties

Photo Credit to Amber Walker

A few weeks ago I headed to town to meet a friend for the afternoon. I got to the end of my road and realized that I'd forgotten my phone. I sat behind the wheel staring at the stop sign, pondering whether or not to turn around. I was already late for our appointed meeting time but I hadn't been parted from my phone for nearly a year and a half, night and day. When I thought about leaving it behind something akin to panic stirred inside. That's when I knew what I had to do. I turned the corner and kept on driving. There were a few strange moments but I survived.

This afternoon I read a blog post that I can't move quickly past. Alicia describes her two month withdrawal from social media, including blogs and the effect it had on her life. There were some things I couldn't relate to such as the self-questioning aspect but then she had to mention the phone. Darn. 

I thought of the moments that stretch to an hour or so spent just checking Instagram and Facebook, then another hour reading my favorite blogs. I don't begrudge that time because I really enjoy these connections, but I wonder how much energy I am expending that God may be nudging me to redirect, if only for a time.

Take for instance this morning. I nearly always check my email and perhaps Instagram after my regular prayer, Bible and journaling time. Today I didn't. I'm not even sure why not. I had a tiny nap and then I opened my laptop and pulled up my book that I had begun writing and then abandoned. The reasons for this were varied. I took a course which consumed all my writing energy and when I returned to my book, the words seemed flat. Today I knew how they fit together. Something that Sue Monk Kidd said in one of her books about all her editing while she was writing the first few chapters of her book released me, and I began to edit and rewrite until I had six solid chapters. That felt good.

So when I read Alicia's post, I thought, "What if I take the month of March (already a week in) and fast social media?"

All the reasons why not answered me. I enjoy seeing what my girls post but they have hardly been posting lately. I like the book clubs and Bible study opportunities but I have a stack of books to read and a pattern for this month in my Bible. I might miss something. I've been more off and on blogging and my readers might bale, what few there are. And some of them are friends now.

Then I thought, what if I did do this? Would my thoughts turn to my book rather than inspiration for my next blog post? Would I dig out that material and begin my quilt? Would I write those letters I've been wanting to put the pen to for months? Real honest-to-goodness letters.

The jury is out, but they are definitely in deliberation. 

I hope I haven't lost you by my lengthiness. I must wind this up and perhaps even tweet it.
Old habits are hard to break.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

One Week Into Recovery

If anyone tells you that gall bladder surgery is a breeze, ask three questions.

  1. How old were you when you had the surgery?
  2. How sick were you at the time?
  3. Who are you, Superwoman?  
This past week was certainly not one I want to repeat and I learned things that no one told me about post-surgery. I'm grateful it's behind me.

No, I am not going to divulge all the painful details but I could give you some tips if you are facing this surgery. Leave an email address in the comments.

Instead, I am going to list all the things that made my journey easier and lifted my spirits.

  • a wonderful hospital staff
  • Hubby 
  •  my dear friend, Pam, traveled all the way from Nova Scotia
  • peppermint tea, chicken broth, Calmicid from Melaleuaca, Vitamin C, and my rice heating pad
  • Juicing a few days in
  • Daisies from my three girls with three butterflies in it (they hadn't specified those to the florist:)
  • prayer
  • walking in the middle of the night around my house
  • afternoon naps
  • Hallmark movies (I am going to start writing the names down, Relyn :)
  • patience
  • pictures, videos, and FaceTime with my girls
  • a loose pink nightgown I purchased prior to surgery
  • a clean house thanks to my niece
  • any sort of GOOD news
  • stool softeners (I am whispering)

This morning is the first day I awoke and felt a tad bit more like myself.

"I am going to spend this morning with the Lord."
I announced to Hubby today as he went off to the shop. I did and it was wonderful.

I'm pondering if I feel well enough to persuade Hubby to take me to the movies this afternoon.

Thanks for your prayers, dear blog sisters. It's good to be back.