Monday, August 16, 2010

Bullfrogs and Butterfles

Does anyone remember that song from childhood? "Bullfrogs and butterflies have both been born again...."! I was reminded of it recently when I found myself surrounded by butterflies. I have to go back several days, to share the whole story.

I had gone out behind our pool to turn on the filter. While there I looked down ,and on the ground was a small butterfly. It caught my eye because of it's beautiful color. As I stepped a little closer to get a better view, it flew away. I was disappointed by the missed opportunity. A day or two later I was getting ready to run an errand, and my husband asked, "What's that on your leg?" I figured he noticed the peeling skin from a sunburn. Then, much to my delight I saw a small butterfly very similar to the one near the pool! It then flew from my leg and landed on the top of my foot. I had a few seconds to get that closer look. I felt the moment was a precious gift from the Lord. I cannot adequately describe why, but I guess the Bible says it best in James 1:17, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

As I mentioned in my last post (about the chickens), this has been a year full of loss (actually several years). The loss of so many things; loved ones, animals, dreams, hope, joy, peace. It has been a battle for me to look at my life and deal with the anxiety, depression, and guilt that has tried to come in and take over. I am not much of a fighter, but in my weakness He is strong. He will not let me go. In the midst of all of the pain, I realize that God is still on His throne. He has not forgotten me, though at times it has felt very much like He has. I am a work in progress, much like a caterpillar in a cocoon. Maybe the time is approaching that I too will emerge from a cocoon a beautiful butterfly ready to take flight. Time will tell.

To wrap this up you must hear the end of the story. A couple of days ago I was getting ready to run to the store to pick up a few things. As I walked outside and down our deck steps onto the ground, all around my feet were butterflies! Not just a couple, I'm talking twenty or thirty of them swirling around my feet! One of my girls opened the door about that time and also was amazed at the number of them flying around me. It was awesome! Words cannot describe the joy that I felt in those moments. Thank You, Lord, for the amazing reminder of Your redeeming love, faithfulness, and beauty.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Chickens and Children

My husband and I have four children. We are crazy about them (therefore, we are not completely responsible for some of the things we do on their behalf). One boy and three girls, they range in age from 13 down to 7. We also have one Miniature Schnauzer and two cats. A few months ago, as if it were not enough of a zoo around here, we decided to let the kids (who had requested the opportunity), incubate some chicken eggs. What in the world were we thinking?

Our next door neighboor has chickens so he gladly donated twenty eggs! We started the process and in the end were fifty percent successful and found ourselves the proud owners of ten baby chicks. Chicks are cute. I will grant you that. Soft, fluffy, cute little critters. But like all critters, they grow, and begin to make noise, not to mention other things. Once the house began to take on some strange odors it was time to send the chickens outdoors. I was quite ready for that transition. May I just say for the sake of disclosure, I am not much of an outdoorsy hands-in-the-dirt (and chickens) kind of girl. I greatly appreciate farmers and all that they do. I am glad that my children have had this educational opportunity. However, I am just going to cut right to the chase here and announce that I am beginning to hate the chickens!

They seem to bring heartbreak to my oldest daughter and that just makes me mad. Don't mess with my kids. You know what I mean. She has been so sweet to her chicken (which turned out to be a rooster)! His name is Romeo. He scratched her arm the other day. But then, and this is what really has me mad, he chased the girl around the yard until she was scared to death and in tears. Thank goodness for Millie, the Schnauzer! She protects her kids. Ran the fowl bird (pun intended) under a tree! I guess I am not the animal person I was when I was a kid. However, I do remember how much they meant to me then. That's why we have allowed our children to have them. It's like a right of passage. The opportunity to bond, learn about God's creation, etc. Having expressed all that though, I'm going to have to stick with the fact that I am not liking the chickens!

Six of them seem to be missing. More tears from my oldest daughter. That's the kicker right there. She was so upset with her chicken the other day, but the thought that something might have happened to him has her so sad. Dumb chickens. Well, I don't know how this saga will turn out, I just know that it has been an incredible year of loss for this family. So, I will simply close with this...

God, would you send those silly chickens back to their little house so my little girl will not be so sad? And while You're at it would You work on restoring this grown up girl's heart that it might be more tender and compassionate like that of my sweet daughter?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Life's Difficulties: A Chance to Grow

I have a desire to write. Yet, feel I have nothing to say. I have been through so much in the last few years of my life, but find it so difficult to express in words. The last three months of my life have been especially eventful.

In February of this year, we had to place my father in a nursing home. He had dementia, and had become incontinent. He had been living with my family for almost three years. As difficult as it was to put him in the nursing home, I really had no other choice. My mother, who has Alzheimer's was still living with us as well. Taking care of two parents with dementia while trying to homeschool my four children was becoming an almost impossible task. After my dad moved to the nursing home, his dementia seemed to kick into high gear, as did my mom's. Dad passed away on April 17th, after 72 days in the nursing home. Even though I know it was not my fault, there are incredible guilt feelings for having put him there. However, I am so thankful that he is now no longer suffering the indignities that came with that dreaded disease. He rests in peace with His Lord and Savior. I miss his smile.

Four days after my father's passing, my mom's dementia took a huge turn for the worse. I could see a change even in her eyes. It was the first time I had not been able to draw her back to reality. It seemed she had checked out. As difficult as it was, the next day, which happened to be my fifteenth wedding anniversary, I had to call 911 and have them come take my mom to the hospital. It was not safe for me to have her in my car, as she had threatened "to take us both out" if I were to try to take her to a nursing home. (My mother would never have done anything to hurt me in her right mind). Dementia takes that from people. April 26th, I had to place my mom in a nursing home. The next day our family hit the road for Oklahoma to hold a memorial service for my father.

Some days I still feel like I am in a fog straining to see ahead of me. Then the sun shines, and I breathe a deep sigh of relief for some freedom from the daily struggle with dementia. It is not completely gone as I still have to deal with the fact that my mom is half an hour away in a nursing home living in an alternate reality, but it is not a 24/7, 365 days a year reality. I am beginning to get back the rhythm of family life that was missing.

So, to those who are caregivers, I have walked that path, and feel some of your pain. Though our journeys are different, let us support one another through prayer and encouragement. To nurses and those who work with long term care facilities my hat is off to you for the job you do every day. I thank God for giving people the desire, knowledge, and compassion to care for those in need. I could never have been a nurse, and after caregiving these last three years have an even greater respect for those who are.

I know those were not eloquent words. All I know is, I needed to get some of that out. I am still a healing work in progress. Life is hard and full of things we would never have chosen. God knows best, and will teach us as we are willing to learn. To my Heavenly Father, I say, "My spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak." You already knew that! Thank You for your eternal patience with me, and Your unfailing love that sustains me each day."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The New Journey with Beth Moore

In 2009 it was Scripture memorization. This year it is a journey through Beth's new book, So Long, Insecurity: You've Been a Bad Friend to Us. There are about 6,000 women taking part in the weekly reading and "discussion". Already, I am excited to see the number of women participating, as well as the honesty with which they are answering the discussion questions. I am blessed to witness some very brave women stepping out of their comfort zones to find healing.

If any "Siestas" stumble onto my blog via the LPM blog, just know that I hold you in the highest esteem and pray that God will do a mighty work in each of our lives as we journey this road to security together.

My own struggle with insecurity goes way back to my childhood. Actually, I can't remember a time in my life when I haven't wrestled with it in some form or another. It has changed faces through the years, but it is most definitely a bad friend, no matter its disguise. The childhood days carried with it taunts about my big hair and being overweight. The teen years, much the same, added on the experience of rejection that became eerily consistent. My twenties allowed for a time of growth and healing in some areas, but deeper insecurity in others. I entered my thirties by getting married. Married life has made old insecurities resurface and given others a whole new platform from which to grow. Whew! I am exhausted just thinking about it.

Now I am in my fourties and I have four children added to the mix. God has been dealing with my heart for some time, but I didn't realize just how bad things were (in regards to insecurity) until I became a parent. Anger was the tell-tale sign that something was just not right. So, I began to go deeper with the Lord in search of an answer to why I was so mad all the time. That's when I began to see the pattern of rejection and failure that has been a constant companion for far too long. I have read many books, sought good Christian counseling, and talked to God often in my desire to heal and grow to be a secure woman. There have been break-throughs and break-downs and I am sure there will continue to be more, but I am not the woman I used to be. I am also not the woman I will become. That gives me hope. So here is a shout out to anyone who is dealing with insecurity. It is worth the effort to overcome. When you fall down or get knocked down, get back up. God is always there to give a hand. Actually, if you are His child he always has your hand anyway. Psalm 73:23 says, "Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand." If there were ever a thought to help with insecurity, maybe that simply profound phrase could help. You (the God of all creation) hold me by my right hand....

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Death of a Dream

Last night kicked off the new season of American Idol. You may hate the show or love it, but if you are like so many people, you watched it! My children and I did (hubby peaked in occasionally) and as usual found ourselves immersed in witnessing some people's dreams dashed to the floor while others got a burst of wind under their wings to allow their's to live another day.

After the show was over and everyone went to bed, I found myself restless, needing to write in my journal. The subject: dreams.

My own dream of one day being a singer, has died a thousand deaths. I have asked myself every question imagineable. Why do some people achieve their dreams so easily while others struggle? Should this even be my dream? Am I too old to still have this kind of dream? If there is a question to ask about my personal dreams, I'm pretty sure I have asked it. More than once. The problem is there are so many possible answers to each question. Our mood, the weather, other circumstances can cloud the answer on any given day. Separating fact from fiction, truth from lies, can take some serious concentration and lest we forget, much prayer. Laying it all before the throne is the best way to pursue any dream. So, I continue to wait. My dream may or may not be fulfilled this side of glory. However, the One who holds my dreams is also the One who molds them. So, if it is truly a dream that God has birthed in my heart, I will leave the details and fulfillment to Him. Easily said, but not always so easily done.