Saturday, November 18, 2017

Daughter's Anniversary

Surfer Girl and her daughter with a close family friend

Today I am sharing the link to a post I wrote two years ago for the wedding anniversary of my daughter and son-in-law. It was a fun post to write and the joy of their marriage continues today, on this, their 11th wedding anniversary.

Since that post was written, they have added one more pup to their family and we have moved out of snow country to the Land of Flip Flops. (we no longer have to buy a plane ticket to see them!!!)

Happy Anniversary, Surfer Girl and Surfer Boy!

Click on this link to see the post:  A Completely True Story

P.S. If the allegory of the post leaves you clueless, leave a comment and I'll explain. 😉

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A Discourse on Anger

an old house, like old people, has a lot of memories
Perhaps you have seen that cartoon on Face Book of some gray-haired, wrinkle-faced people where one of them is saying, "We didn't get this old by being stupid."

Truth be told, those same people most likely did their share of unwise things along the road of life, but to reach their age, many of them probably learned from their experiences and did their best to avoid more missteps after that.

One lesson that's been hard for me to learn, but very beneficial, is to not hold onto anger. Scripture tells us to "be angry and sin not." (Ephesians 4:26) That tells me a couple of things:

1) it's not necessarily a sin to be angry. Anger is a feeling, an emotion that rises up when we experience injustice or pain or other unhappiness of some kind. It just comes, usually without us looking for it. It just does that. 

2) there is a tendency to sin when we are angry, but we don't have to. It's a choice we make, how we respond to anger.

3) since anger tends to bring out the worst in us, we have to work hard to not let it take control of us. Anger is very powerful.

Those are some conclusions I've made while turning that verse over in my mind. But then there's the practical application. Learning what to do with anger is a big deal. We are all too familiar with examples of those who have not handled their rage wisely. Unfortunately, we are seeing examples of that on an increasingly serious level nearly every day in the news.

I have had anger about some things in my life. In my more sane moments, I have prayed about it. I have asked the Lord what I am supposed to do with the burning emotions that churn in my midsection at the very thought of particular injustices in my personal life.

Some of those memories stem from decades ago, some more recent. All of them figure around scenarios when I was doing what I thought, in all honesty, was the right thing to do. Yet people and/or circumstances responded in ways that knocked all sense of peace out of my mind. 

How did I respond?

One time I was very hurt and felt helpless to stick up for myself, so I licked my wounds and retreated. The relationship was permanently damaged and we've been doing our best to just keep the peace ever since. That's one way to deal with anger.

In another time with another person, I was much older and although I stood up for myself, my response was not accepted. I spent many months in depression, and my physical health began to deteriorate. I was miserable with my anger and made those close to me uncomfortable as well. A misunderstanding of my motive caused a burning anger that pasted a scowl on my face, although I was not especially aware of it.

Resolution of that situation came when an innocent comment was made to me and I flew off the handle, letting loose a tirade of words to a completely innocent person. 

Thankfully, that same person was understanding of such behavior and was able to lead me to understand that my anger was not resolving the problem and was certainly not hurting the one who had offended me. 

Yet I was slowly destroying myself with my negative emotions. I learned to let the matter drop, to cease from replaying the event over in my mind and to walk away from the problem. The one who started it all was not going to come around to my way of seeing things, so to preserve myself, I would have to just let the matter go. I did that and surprisingly, immediate peace flooded through me. People told me the scowl was gone. It was a dramatic thing.

Sometimes repressed anger comes back to the surface many years later. I don't know why that is. I guess it just can't stay pushed out of the way indefinitely. It eventually has to be brought out in the open where we can examine it, perhaps now with the years of maturity.  

That happened to me a few years ago. Old emotional garbage surfaced and I realized I would have to do something about it. Repressing it again was not the answer, nor was continuing to be angry. 

In that case, I gave a lot of thought about the people who had brought me such pain. I considered in as an unbiased a way as I could muster why they would do what they did, why they said what they said. Admittedly, being a lot older helped me to see things better from their perspective 

I was able to conclude that although their actions and words were truly not the best, they were doing the best they could with the circumstances in which they found themselves and the information they had been given. The choices they made were not what I would have chosen had I been in charge, but that is the way it went and it affected me accordingly. 

What really brought sense to all of this for me was the realization that nothing, absolutely nothing, comes to me that is not first filtered through the hands of God -- and God loves me! 

Yes, I could say (and I have!) that He has a funny way of showing me His love when He allows certain things to affect me.  But the truth is, He does love me and His reasons for allowing the bad stuff are, right now, beyond my understanding, but nonetheless good.

For those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and allow Him to be the Lord of our lives, we have to believe that He is working out all things for our good. (Romans 8:28) The tough stuff makes us mature, wise, caring, compassionate, and so many other good things. 

But if we allow ourselves to replay in our thoughts the hurts over and again, we harm ourselves greatly. We turn out to be our worst enemy.

Then there is the matter of forgiveness. We have to forgive those who have offended us. Do they deserve forgiveness? 

Of course not! But we have been forgiven by God and we didn't deserve it, either. We need to not hold the offenses against them because God is not holding our bad stuff against us. 

We need to let them go and let God deal with them. We may not be able to see how He is dealing with them, but since He is faithful to deal with me when I'm in the wrong, I am sure He is dealing with them as well. Just let them go and move on. 

Old houses and old people. Both have seen a lot in their lifetimes. Both have many stories to tell. But the best stories are the ones that end with letting go of the hurts, turning them over to God, and getting on with our lives. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Observing November in the Land of Flip Flops

our front door
We continue to make note of the differences between living in Colorado and Florida as the seasons come and go. My family and friends out west have told us about the snow storms they've already had in recent weeks, while we decorate within spitting distance of tall palm trees in our still very green yard. There is no traditional autumn color here but the shades of green are beautiful.

wrapping Christmas gifts

Christmas gifts are getting wrapped and the grocery list for Thanksgiving dinner has been made without any concerns for a debilitating blizzard to put a snafu in the plans.  They tell us hurricane season doesn't officially end until November 30th, but the forecast looks like we'll be okay from here on out.

yes, that is clean laundry neatly stacked on the bed

The afternoon sunshine filters through the blinds on the west side of the house with intriguing patterns. I often have to just stop and marvel at the beautiful sight. 

beside St. Johns River in downtown Jacksonville
This past Sunday after church and lunch, we changed our clothes and drove downtown. We wanted to settle the question of where to park when we take out-of-town guests to the river walk.

The Lone Sailor statue at the Southbank Riverwalk, Jacksonville
After living in the Rocky Mountain west for so long, it has been very interesting to poke around the nautical sights of our new home. Jax is a big Navy town.

Jaguars' Everbank stadium
We don't claim to be Jacksonville Jaguars fans (although our Denver Broncos are a sorry team this season); but we did enjoy the cheers of local fans wafting across the river as we strolled along.

my veteran
Speaking of football and recent controversies, we hung our flag out for the first time in this new house on Veterans Day. Yes, we believe people should stand for the national anthem.

LED Cafe lights on the back porch
Beloved hung lights around the ceiling of the screened-in back porch and then built a ladder to hold the remainder of the string. I added some silk grape vines. I plan to buy some plastic grape clusters from Hobby Lobby to fill in the blank spots, giving our private refuge from the world a bit of an Italian ambience (neither of us are Italian, but we like to eat at The Olive Garden).

Beloved grilled our dinner
We love this quiet hide-a-way nestled near the forest. I still marvel at the Lord's goodness to give me this particular desire of my heart.

our local mall decorated for Christmas
We made a trip to the mall where, as I raised my camera, Santa waved to us from the lower level.

Did you know much of the Thanksgiving decor at Hobby Lobby
is on sale now for 80% off? 

As we prepare for Thanksgiving, Beloved reminded me of a cartoon where the turkey is telling Santa Claus, "Wait your turn, fat boy!"

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD,
and to sing praises unto thy name,
O Most High:
To show forth thy lovingkindness in the morning,
and thy faithfulness every night.
Psalm 92:1-2

Monday, November 13, 2017

In Case You Thought I Forgot .....

the Pilgrim People
..... the Pilgrim People made the trip with us from Colorado to Florida this past summer. MANY things were purged from my collection of stuff, but these friends were carefully packed away in a box for the relocation. 

making their entrance

Whereas they used to be in a box stored in the depths of our gigantic basement and every November they had to climb up the stairs to the main floor; this year their box is kept in an upstairs closet, hence, this year's grand entrance was a trip down the stairs.

 facial expressions say so much
Last November, an out-of-state move was one of the farthest things from our minds, so when the Pilgrim People were packed away in December, they had no inkling of what would happen as they slumbered among crumpled sheets of packing paper.

"a merry heart does good ..." Proverbs 17:22
I'll just say that the reactions to this surprising move were varied, reflecting human nature where some are cheerful most of the time and others are cranky more pensive.

a peek into my personal dressing closet
One bright little personality caught a glimpse of a sign I keep in my closet and took the cue to be positive about this change. She and her hubby took up their assigned stations with an attitude that set a good example for the rest.

Speaking of assignments, some locations have more prominence than others, but I appreciate their willingness to serve.

I'm still looking for just the right wall decor to go below the cabinet 
Others are now residing near the family room television and in the kitchen (where their assistance with mealtimes is appreciated).

what will it take to make them happy?!!!

So yes, I have remembered the Pilgrim People and they are adding to the Thanksgiving theme we've got going in our new Florida home. I am glad to have them on display. We love living here, but for the most part, the flora and fauna outdoors still look like summertime. It's good to have the oranges and browns of my ceramic, resin, and felt friends to add autumnal color.

decor pillow purchased at Hobby Lobby

Friday, November 10, 2017

Thanks for Our Military

Beloved with some of his military awards
Photo edited for reasons of privacy
Last weekend Grandson #4 texted Beloved that he had a school assignment requiring him to interview a military veteran. We searched hard to find a suitable photo with Beloved in his uniform and couldn't get it done with the deadline looming up fast for completion of the assignment. 

We did the next best thing and staged a photo shoot with some memorabilia from that chapter of our lives, sending that along with a description of duties assigned during the 6-years spent in the Air Force (in addition to four years in ROTC on his university campus).

Wow, that was such a long time ago. It was during the Viet Nam war, but thankfully, Beloved's assignments were always stateside and deep underground. For four years he kept watch on Minuteman missiles for the Strategic Air Command from a bunker some 60 - 90 feet underground (depending on the soil).  Then for another nearly two years he worked inside a mountain that housed a multi-story building that rested on huge springs for shock absorption. 

During those early years of our marriage, I was busy having children and helping to care for my ailing father-in-law. I knew the work my husband did was very important and he couldn't talk about it much. It wasn't until decades later that I realized the many implications that came with his duties. I was stunned and humbled, even embarrassed at my naiveté. 

The military has changed a lot since then. Due to political reasons I won't explore in this post, many of those changes have not been for the good. I fear that the days of widespread patriotism we once knew may never be regained and it will take a very long time to re-build to the strength we once had.

I am thankful for those who are willing to serve in our armed forces now and for those who have served in the past. Many of their sacrifices (and inconveniences) cannot be discussed for reasons of security. It is good to recognize our military and to show them appreciation. They most certainly deserve it.