I live in central Florida, after having “permanent” addresses in 6 states (the moves were in order: MI, IN, MI, IN, MI, TN, MI, PA, FL, CA and back to FL) and spent lots of time in about 30+ states (including a week in HI) and three countries abroad (London, Poland and Russia). Traveling has always been a rich and loved part of my life. It is meaningful to travel. You cannot appreciate our incredible diversity of our fantastic United States of America by just living in one, in my opinion. But there are always regional differences. For example, MI had snow, as did IN and PA, but TN had one small snowfall and roofs collapsed and things shut down and southern CA and FL have never allowed me to see any at all, not that I miss anything but the beauty of it lol. Soda pop is called different names in different regions… pop, soda, coke, soda pop, fountain drinks are all regional names for the fizzy drink. Scenery ofcourse is quite different in different regions… beaches, mountains, flatlands, hills, lakes, even desert, all closer than you think. Insects.are different. In MI and up north, you can lay in the grass, ah, but.try that in FL and nasty ants bite you ferociously. Also, foods are different and the Midwest had the most flavorful veggies, most fruit and beef whereas the citrus here in FL is divine and I miss the avacados of CA. One quirk is the Smoky Links. Of all things, I really want to bite into a good smoky link with my eggs in the morning but alas, they do not sell them here. No one even heard of them. They have biscuits and gravy and other things you have to season the heck out of to produce flavor, and I have mastered that. But I miss Smoky Links. Whoever makes them, please send some down to central FL. Thank you. ❤
I just watched and listened to Red sing “The Dance” on the Voice. https://youtu.be/B50LXIoetlg I rarely ever get to see that show and enjoy everything but the back stories and commercials. (If they sing the song magnificently, you can feel their back story, but that is another blog post lol.) But I digress. The thing is the song reminded me that if we knew things would end, would we go through with it if it was going to end in a huge loss? I wrestle with that a little bit. Do good times for a while make up for a steep drop afterwards? Do great memories make up for the loss of a loved one? And I suddenly felt great appreciation to God for not letting us know everything. I am thankful to not know what is next (except heaven, I am glad to know that is coming up). I believe even more that God blesses us by withholding the future. We are who we are and hold beautiful memories we would otherwise miss by living the exact journey we walk, rest and run. Our journey is beautiful not just because of the good memories and good decisions but moreso because of deep blows we overcame with God’s help. I am happy not to know. I am thankful for every dance. ❤
So, I am learning a lot about life and me from this pantry installation. It was years in the planning and preparation and saving up phase. Now that it is here, I am tending to rush it. Why? My impatience, my worst flaw, is in full force. I am putting the paint on too thick, trying to get it all done in one coat and realizing now I have to do another coat anyway and now have to paint the border of the inside of the door in my sloppy drippy haste. It does not pay to rush a masterpiece. You take one step, one thin, careful coat at a time in painting and in life practice the same measures. One baby step at a time. Purposeful. Meticulous. Rushing produces more work and time and a mess really. I am getting this messon finally. I guess better late than never. Lol Now back to painting. Lol 🙂
I have forced some just me time lately, not time being mommy or wife or friend or musician but just me. I determined that I needed that, going through some things lately in life, lots of loss and missing people and family back home and bff hurting and daddy declining in health, so many things. I don’t think alone time is selfish or greedy and can pretty much in my case keep me sane and better in every way. So I took some, insisted even. I found out some very interesting things. Turns out, when I spend time alone, I always impecibly end up spending time with God. The s out He loves me despite me being me and I felt that. Second thing is that I really like me. I know that seems odd but when so much goes on, it is easy to get unsure, I secure, feel really ugly and discarded, feel really really alone, and it was an amazing and refreshing energy that rebuilt my heart and I realized that the me that God made is still there shining. I am still there under it all. Not the me people see, so perfectly crazy (OK, so I added the perfectly part) and strong in consistency while sweet. I don’t mean that. I mean the inner core, the fighter, the artist, the leader, the thinker and inventor, the mechanic, the doctor and healer and scientist, the lover of people. I am still there. I am not less for my wear but deeper. I am stronger with experience a d not damaged from it. And I thought how very thankful I am that God allows me growth because so many count on me. If I always had great things happen, I could never ever achieve this depth. God seriously loves me and this is why He allows badness in my life and I follow like a little rabbit down a hole. He allows it not because He is mean but because He loves me so very much. He knows I respect and learn from that which breaks me. The strong willed, and no one is more so, require God’s intervention to tame and break and develop. You break a horse to make that horse fit for service and useful. Evidently I am the horse in my Analogy. Lol Should have thought that one through a little. Ha! Needless to say, friends of mine, if I am teetering on crazy, please send me away to be alone. It is far better therapy for me than anything else on the planet. Praise God He showed me that!! He is so good!!
Focusing on what we hope for as human beings, what we feel, what emotions we express and flow from, there is a great deal that we believe will make us happy. In time, these things may change because of environmental factors or changing of minds of other parties involved or time or even those emotions. And these changes can be sudden and life altering, in my experience. And for a bit, devastating, because when you put your heart on something and believe in it and it is part of you, when it is suddenly removed, hope disappears for a while and the change feels overwhelming and very difficult to process. But what I have found, also in my experience, is not the corny overused statement that “When God closes a door, He opens a window”. I mean, who wants to jump through a window, and if you even can depends a lot on the size of the window. So ignoring that annoying phrase, I have found that God directs our path. There are no accidents. There are no changes that He does not authorize. He knows everything. He is God, isn’t He? Kind of a prerequisite. So, when there are these sudden, disruptive, hope crushing, heart wrenching changes inflicted upon us, our amazing God of the universe and my life always produces a new beginning. That, He reminds me, is just that phase of life, albeit wonderful and meaningful and feeling, it is always with Him a new beginning. He can give a new hope. One that lifts your spirits back up again, one that builds you back from the blow, one that begins a new phase of worship or service or just life. He provides a new rest for your soul from unrest felt. He provides a new ageless hope of heaven in place of hope on a circumstance or person. He provides joy just after you swore you would never smile or laugh again. God does all that. No one else is God so no one else can do what He does. No one else even wants to. lol So, in the face of a sudden shocking blow, prepare your mind and heart to feel His beckoning you on to a beautiful new beginning. It can only go up from rock bottom. And there is no limit to the up.
Being of intricate and ever thirsting for knowledge mind, I have been quite amazed at an abundance of amazing discoveries that have crossed my path in the last few days. For one, watching the opening Olympic ceremony was so fascinating and I realized just how many countries exist that I have never heard of. Now, as I teach my son geography I will no longer mourn that I did not mentally attend geography classes myself as a child or thereafter (except the US) and will be pleased to learn with him. Secondly, I discovered that love means very different things to different people, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse, but God’s idea of love is the right one. That amazes me and gives me much comfort. God’s type of love never dies or judges or throws people away like refuse. He is so faithful when we are not faithful or when we are and good when we are not or when we are. He is constant regardless and that is amazingly beautiful and comforting and amazing. He doesn’t throw anyone away ever. Thirdly, I also discovered that sometimes people will compromise too much for a gamble and not enough for true love. Amazingly, God sacrificed everything for people who hated Him and that amazes me and gives me great comfort and respect for Him. Fourthly, I discovered that God forgives so generously when humbly asked that it is difficult to stay wounded for too long in His presence. Appreciation heals better than any healing salve or lotion or potion or emotion. Did I just turn into Dr. Seusse for a minute? It is truly amazing though how well appreciation works. My Grandma had told me to count my blessings and the song with it and I thought that was rather simplistic. But another thing I learned is that simple is by far better and more powerful than overcrowded, overworked and overstressed. Amazing discovery! The last one is how much free time I have because I simplified our schedule, got off facebook, took on fewer responsibilities, kept a cleaner less cluttered home and relaxed with my kids. No need to become so distracted and deterred from the Good. If there is no time in the day to listen to the Lord’s leading and obey and help people around who need me, I have failed and missed the big picture. Amazing discovery!
Bonus thought, some people will feel it necessary to throw their pearls before swine and return to the scene of the crime hoping for a different outcome and there is not a single thing you can do about it but pray from afar and love them if/when they return. This is an individual choice and you cannot ever push a rope. On that, my son gave me great insight in that although you cannot push a rope, you can shorten it so maybe they have less effort to pull when they are ready. I thought that was a pretty amazing insight. Discovering the depth of my child is an amazing discovery. I am a proud mama.