Friday, February 24, 2006

I can't believe someone would put a bulldog in a bikini! I needed a laugh today and this picture always makes me laugh--out loud!

I'm having visitors again, because my husband is at the races and won't be home until Monday. So I managed to talk my mom and son to come for a quick visit. This time, maybe my son and I can go the the Wildlife World Zoo. We never made it last time they were here. Our weather is perfect for a zoo visit, as it's been in the high 70's, even in the low 80's in the daytime. It gets pretty cool at night, sometimes dropping down into the mid-30's, but to me that's good sleeping weather!

When they get here, we are going "to town", driving the 25 miles into Avondale. When I say going to town, I always mean Goodyear and Avondale--never Phoenix. I try to avoid going there as much as possible. It's got worse air quality than Los Angeles and the traffic stinks too. There's no good time of day to drive into Phoenix, but rush hour is horrible. There's always accidents(in my opinion, because truck--even tractor-trailers can drive in any lane and have no restrictions on speed limit). Think of L.A. traffic with a tractor -trailer in the fast lane going 65 to 80 mph. Then come to a screeching halt--where's he gonna go but right over the top of you.

I have no idea why I was talking about traffic, except I took Phil to Chandler to Firebird Raceway yesterday and I was anxious to leave so I would miss the after work traffic. I left the track at 2:30pm and only had a few slow downs. The Phoenix valley has extreme pollution alerts fairly often, because there is nowhere for the bad air to go unless there is a breeze or wind. As soon as the wind lays, the bad air settles in. I am glad that we live "in the sticks" cause we still have clear air. NO RAIN for 130 days. That all the news talks about - it's some kind of record.

Goofy blog today. Not a very spiritual day for me, I guess. More concerned with worldly affairs today. Working on the house. Getting walls spackled where I took all the pictures and fans down. I rearranged the great room a little bit too.

Lord, I love and worship you. I praise you for other Christian women's blogs, like Diana, Veronica and Amy. I pray for spiritual strength to keep moving forward holding on to your strong hand.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Yes, Virginia, There Is A God

Guess I don't know how to put pictures on this blog. I can do one just fine, but putting 2 didn'y work out so well. The one with the pink is more to the north of us and the other is directly out my kitchen window at the sink. I was going to put several pictures of the sunset that I look at nearly every night out my living room and kitchen windows on this posting, but with the dial-up connection I have, it would take too long to put all of them up. A couple of nights ago, I was preparing dinner and I looked out my kitchen window and saw this sunset. One of the reasons that I got a digital camera was to take some pictures of the spectacular sunsets that we get. I know people say this all the time, but the actual event was even more beautiful. I'd need a better camera and a way bigger space to put the picture to actually give you and idea of how really beautiful this sunset was. Every evening's sunsets are beautiful. It's just that sometimes I miss the sunset altogether. Or sometimes, I get a last glance of a really pretty sunset, just before everything in the sky loses all the color and goes grey.

I love that the Lord shows me the beauty in nature. I am constantly surprized and delighted by the naturally stunning things in nature. How can someone look at that sunset or a flower or a butterfly and most of all, at how wonderously humans are made and not believe that there is a God? I see His Hand all around me. I feel His Spirit in me. I read His Word and He speaks to me as I pray and listen for the Still, Small Voice. I know within me, I am made to worship the Lord and I am incomplete and unfullfilled when I choose otherwise. When I move away from God, I get unhappy, I know something is missing and I try to fill it with something from the world. Anything that I put in that missing space, never fills it. The further away I go from my Heavenly Father, the colder and harder my heart gets. I try to soften it up on my own, and I meet with failure.

Reaching out to Jesus, my Lord and Shepherd and letting Him lead me on His path is the way that my life is serene and fulfilled. I cannot find anything else that makes me feel this way, except to be in communion with my Lord. I know this and pray that I will not forget it--ever.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Here It Comes! Now What?

You are buried up to your neck in the sand and you don't know how you got like that and here comes the big wave.

Thanks to journalling in this blog and reading other Christian women's blogs, I have had major revelations from the Lord about the way I had gone the wrong direction. I had taken the reins of my life from Him and was busy burying myself up to my neck in my own selfishness. And here comes the big wave of self-pity and feeling of victimization.

How do I get away? Pull my arm out of the sand and reach for the Lord. Long before we moved from the coast of CA to the middle of the desert in AZ, I knew was that I was terribly unhappy. I was unfulfilled in my job and didn't really care to much for my spouse. He didn't like me much at this time either. I had become bossy, nagging, nasty-tempered and unpredictable. If he tried to say anything helpful to me, I got insulted, often bursting into tears. My mental state was in turmoil and I was not sleeping well. I was a mess. I would pray for others but not for myself. Something was wrong with me and even though it was apparent to everyone, I still denied it. I thought that I was the victim of circumstances--but I didn't recognize that I was the one who had set up those events. So, what better time to run away. We sold our house and moved to the desert west of Phoenix.

Once we moved in, the same scenario started all over again. Except, now, I was unable to find work. Here I was stuck at home, in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do. One day, I could not take the way my life was going any longer. I cried out to the Lord that I wanted to die--but really I just wanted O-U-T of the situation. What did I want? I didn't know. I went into the Lord's hands broken and humble(finally). I sincerely admitted that I was prideful, thinking that I could direct my life and my spouse's. I asked the Lord to take control of my life, all of it. By prayer and meditation, little by little the Lord has revealed to me what I need to be doing--not all of it, though. I trust Him each day as I pray to show me the way to go through that day. He led me to reading my neice's blog and from her blog to other Christian women's blogs. He led me to Billy Graham's website and to Annie's Armor of God and to The Purpose Driven Life online. I decided that I must read the Bible every day and it has paid off as the Lord leads me meaningful verses that affect my life. There are daily miracles of revelations, pure joy and serenity.

I'm doing the leg work and the Lord has given me His strength to find self-discipline. I check the paper for jobs, sending out resumes, trusting the Lord will direct me to the perfect job. We are selling our house in the middle of nowhere and moving closer to the big city. In preparation for the sale and move, I have been going through possessions and realizing how much importance I have placed on having things. I have been a packrat and have spent way too much money on collecting things, buying too many things and loading up the house and MY LIFE with things. Part of the stress in my life has to do with things. Getting things, having things, dusting things, finding places to put things and getting rid of old things. The word from the Lord for me today is "simplify". I am going to learn how to sell things (my collections) on E-Bay. I will begin to divest myself of so many "things".

I am excited, Lord, to simplify my life. I pray for your guidance in doing this. And Lord, continue to make this weak and lazy person that I am, into someone supported by Your strength, experience discipline and resolve.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine to the One Who Means the Most

Valentine's Day is about love, isn't it? I pray for friends and family, God's Love on this day and all days.
When I was a teenager and young adult, I thought love was that feeling that gave me butterflies in my stomach. I couldn't wait to see that person again and there was an ache, almost a pain in separation. When I saw them, my heart would leap, beating fast. I became lightheaded and hypersensitive to every word and expression of my beloved. When those feelings went away, I thought that I had fallen out of love. That person became a non-entity, someone that I couldn't get away from fast enough.
Now I understand that feelings fool us. Love isn't a feeling, it's an action, a choice, a commitment. My feelings can get me into trouble. I most often "feel" love, contentment, serenity, anger, frustration, disappointment, disgust and dislike. My feelings are strong and can pull me up and down like a roller coaster. I can be up on a cloud one minute and down in the pit of despair the next minute. I have learned that the ups and downs are just part of the circus in my head. Feelings and emotions don't get me through life, they complicate it. Love today is a choice to put God's love for me into action. I have not yet learned to love unconditionally, but daily(and even hourly)give up control to the Lord by placing my emotions/feelings in His Hands.
I always had very strong emotions and my feelings would overpower me. Today, with God's help, I understand that I chose to not have self-control(completely different than trying to control others, BTW) over my emotions and developed a bad habit of having outbursts of emotion. I used to say, "Oh well, that's just how I am", but now I see that I was being selfish and lazy when it came to expressing myself. I didn't care how it affected anyone else, I just spewed out whatever passed through my head. In my heart, I was holding a lot of resentment and bitterness for what I perceived had been done to me(the victim). Now, little by little, The Lord is revealing my character flaws to me and giving me a chance to change them through His grace.
My Valentine today is to my Lord and Savior, Redeemer and Gentle Shepherd, Jesus. I love you, Lord and give you all the praise for the changes you are working in my life.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Visitors and Illuminations

I just love this picture. I scanned the card that my son gave me about 10 years ago on Mother's Day. I like to scan my cards cause that way I can keep them without the paper.

Speaking of mothers, mine has been with me all week. My husband has been gone all week and my aunt Norma, my son, Chris and Mom have been with me since last Monday. It's been really nice and even though we didn't do any of the sightseeing that I had lined up, we still had some very relaxing time together. My Aunt went home yesterday morning.

Mom is the older sister of Norma and they argue all the time. They argue about everything and most of the time they are arguing the same point but from different directions. I got to see how it seems to my husband when I want to argue with him. It is tiresome! The Lord just keeps bringing me miracles. He shows me what I need to work on by illustration in everyday life. I am finally seeing and hearing these things because I have opened myself up to it through prayer(my own prayers and the prayers of others on my behalf--thank you all!)

I am also finally seeing that life doesn't have to be a series of struggles because of my desire to be in control of it. The struggle is taken out of life when I lose my deathgrip on control(or rather the illusion of control). It's a hard habit to break--but that's all it is--a bad habit.

With prayer and the Lord's guidance, I will break this bad habit--I can feel it coming.....Halleluia

Thursday, February 09, 2006

It's For Your Own Good

Don't make me go there!
Sometimes, just because I can't have my way, I grab the door frame and won't go thru a door that the Lord opens for me. It's a control issue, of course! That's the battle I fight every day. I want to be led by the Lord but if I don't like where He is leading, I won't go thru it. Or sometimes, I go thru it, resenting having to do it or kicking and screaming.

I know it's for my own good and I know that it's the way I should go, but instead I choose my own way. The more I practice doing it the Lord's way, the easier it will become for me to follow His lead. The very hardest thing for me to do is to make my husband the head of our house. Today's culture says, "I earn the money, I have a right to say what's done with it". I have a sense of entitlement to direct our marriage. I can see that if I make my spouse the head of the house instead of constantly struggling with him over which way is the right way to do things, that both of our lives would run more smoothly. It is up to me to change my attitude with prayer and supplication to the Lord. Only He can do an attitude adjustment on me. I have tried on my own a zillion times with no success.

Lord, Jesus, today I pray for You to take my attitude about control and adjust it to Your standards. I release the stranglehold I have on controlling situations and people and lay this burden on You. Mold me, Lord.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Here's The Real Issue

This is funny, but so true! This is just the seatbelt that I need when we are driving. I cannot refrain from telling my husband how to drive. I try to read a book or work crosswords to keep my eyes off the road, but usually I manage to look up and make some comment about his driving. If you've every watched the British comedy called "Keeping Up Appearances", I can be compared with Hyacinth telling Richard, "Watch out for that pedestrian" or "Turn here". It's funny to watch it on television, but not so funny in real life. It annoys me when my husband tells me how to drive or complains about how I drive, but when he is driving, I feel free to comment and warn at any given moment. I am an uneasy passenger in any vehicle, car, bus, train and plane. I have said that I am afraid of flying, but my sister told me that if I was flying the plane, I wouldn't be afraid. It's a more a matter of control rather than fear. She's absolutely right!

Now that I am praying for the Lord to lead me and having a spirit of willingness to be led, it seems that every time I read the bible or an inspirational book, or listen to the Christian radio station, something jumps out at me! I was reading in Genesis, which referenced a verse in Galatians. I turned there to read and saw the thought for the day written by Rebecca Manley Pippert, Titled, "More Myself" "Christianity isn't a narcotic that dulls you into obediance. It involves battle--IT'S EXCRUCIATING TO GIVE UP CONTROL. But that is why we must not feel despair if we are struggling. To struggle does not mean we are incorrigible. It means we are alive!"

This is just what I am working on in my life through the Lord's leading. He gave me this verse in Galatians 5:1--"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." The slavery for me is the desire of control. That affects how I speak to my husband, so doing the battle of my speech pertains also to control.

Thank you Lord for leading me and giving me a spirit of willingness to be led.