Sunday, July 30, 2006

At Mom's House and other thoughts

I've been at my mother's house since Thursday, which was her 84th birthday. The Tuesday before, she went to the doctor and he told her she's going strong. Of course, she didn't mention that she's been down in the dumps. She just told him she's been so tired lately and he didn't pursue what could have been the cause.

Mom has lost a lot of people in her life in the last 8 years, starting with my father, from an accident with gasoline. Next was my father's 2 brothers, Uncle Leo and Uncle Dick. Earlier this year, her older brother--who she was quite close to, Uncle Dale passed away suddenly. Well, not unexpectedly, as he had had 2 heart operations and the last one was past the date of life expectancy. But it was sudden, since he was at the hospital cafeteria after Aunt Norine had finished her checkup and he just dropped his head back and was gone. Uncle Fred died earlier this month, and that brought back all of the sorrow and grieving which was never finished from the other deaths. The reason I'm writing this is because the litany of all the people in her life who have passed away is what we talk about when we are alone.

Grief can affect us each differently. I grieve out loud, in front of anyone who happens to be there and with lots of tears. Others won't even cry in front of anyone. How they can hold it in, is beyond me. I feel like it just explodes out of me. My emotions are on the surface, others have theirs under control. In fact, I am learning not to control my emotions, but rather to lay my feelings at the feet of Jesus. Because, sometimes, I can be overly emotional and say and do things that I ought not to say and do. That is why the Lord has brought to my attention my manner of speaking, both in word and tone.

It seems to me that the more I pray for guidance and enlightenment so that I may walk more closesly with God, He reveals more of my shortcomings to me. Each day, there is more to work on, more to surrender, and I am more aware of how disobedient I have been, how selfish, how rude, how unkind. You have to be aware of your character flaws before you can work on them, so I praise the Lord for all He has revealed to me. Bring it on, Lord, mold me, shape me, prune me and make me the person I can be through your lovingkindness!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Another Answer

I have posted that I get depressed and despairing. That I am a negative personality and struggle to stay positive. Joel Osteen's Daily word today in my email was my reply from my Heavenly Father to the posts I've written about this, in the text of the message it said,

"The enemy's goal is to steal your hope. He wants to get you down and discouraged so you will give up and settle for less than God's best. Don't be deceived! No matter how many disappointments you've encountered, God can turn things around for you in a split second of time! One touch of His favor can suddenly restore relationships! One touch of His goodness can solve that problem you're facing today! Just one touch from Almighty God can instantly change your life!"

Just last night at 8:30, when I got home from helping our friend work on a business plan and get set up on computer, I made some comments. After I finished talking, my husband said to me, "Can't you ever come home and say something happy? You always have something to bitch and complain about! It's pretty hard to listen to." I know I would not like it if he did that all the time. It's so hard to stop doing it. I want to, but the words have flown out of my mouth before I know it. I am going to have to spend some time when I drive home praying and praising God so that when I come in the door, I have a grateful, satisfied, gracious attitude.

We had a huge storm that hit us last night just as I arrived home. There was lightning, thunder, high winds and finally rain. I don't have to water the plants this morning--Yay! The storm was a little scary because I had to walk fromt the garage to the house in all that lightning. Just the night before, the news had done a segment about lightning strikes and so I was very aware what could happen being out in the open during a storm. In our county, the garage must be 25 feet away from the house--some wierd Maricopa county building code for garages that are put up after the home is already on the property. By the time I got into the house, I was sand-blasted, my eyes, mouth, nose and hair full of dirt. As we closed the door on the north side of the house, the wind hit with such a ferocity that the door sounded like it was being hit with buckshot. I was sure that all the plants would be gone or beat so badly they would die. Everything is still there, amazingly. A little worse for wear, but still there. Praise God for that. It all looks fresh and clean and best of all, no dust.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Book Fish!

When Carol at "She Lives" mentioned Pike Place Market, it brought to mind all the times I've gone there while visiting my friend who lives in Olympia. My next thought was of the fish market inside where they toss the fish through the air. Then I remembered reading the book called, "FISH". The goal of the FISH Philosophy is to learn how to boost morale and improve operational results in a business organization. As the authors put it "Enclosed are the keys to creating an innovative and accountable work/home environment where a playful, attentive, and engaging attitude leads to more energy, enthusiasm, productivity, and creativity." It can work at home too. BTW, I'm not saying it replaces reading the Bible or other inspirational reading.......

It's just that I am not a naturally positive and happy person. In my natural state, I tend toward the negative and gloomy side. I work very hard to stay positive. Sometimes I need reminders and some simple steps to "keep my sunny side up"!!!

The four key points of the philosophy are:

Play - have fun and create energy at home or at the office.

Make their day - how can you engage fellow employees, customers, family members and make each other's day?

Be Present - How can you make sure you are fully available and aware during conversations with people? It is about create a greater sense of intimacy between individuals.

Choose Your Attitude - Each day you choose how you are going to act or which "side of the bed" you wake up on. The choice is yours and, the way you act, affects others. How about the attitude of Gratitude to God for all we have?

The book is able to illustrate one point extremely effectively. It shows how attitudes can impact a setting and how many of us don't understand how our attitude impacts our work setting and quality of life. It's also hard to put into practice. I'm usually good for a week or two, then a series of "Job"-like (pronounced JOBE, like that guy who has a book in the Bible) events happen and my attitude gets stinky. Sometimes, I just need to be reminded that Attitude is everything. When I have a good one, no one can bring me down. When I have a bad attitude, everyone knows it--and runs!

Maybe some real cute post-its will help me remember that I choose my attitude every day. Just cause I stub my toe, I can choose to laugh instead of get crabby.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I'm Home and It's Sooo Hot!

These have the right idea! It is so hot. It hit 116 degrees today. and there are clouds--so it's humitd too! Ick!

I am finally home. They are having major monsoons in Tucson where my aunt and cousing live. But nothing like that here. No rain for the Sonoran Desert! They poured our patio today. Next weekend we will get the carport in front of the garage and the walkway from the garage to the house. We will be getting a quote for the patio cover and I will get a dog run from Lowes. Maybe I will get one of those freestanding pools that are about 3 ft. deep, as the tigers look very cool. We have A/C but keep it at 87 degrees, as it saves us $100/mo. to do that.

I spray myself with spray bottles because my hubby does LIKE the heat. Not 116 degrees, but he certainly doesn't mind the temp of the house. I am trying my best to tolerate it.

My cousin in Tucson has a pool and he uses 2 fountains that come out of the filtered water of the pool to cool his pool. The other option is to put a sprinkler on a floatie and enjoy the cool water. Soon, very soon I will have that pool. Or I will be knocking on Christie's door with my bathing suit on and my floatie and towel. Ha Ha!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Walking With God and Everyday Life

"Jesus came so that we might have and enjoy life, and have it to the full until it overflows." (John 10:10)

I just had to put this in my blog, because it means so much to me. See.......I am a complainer, especially about little repetive tasks and when things don't go as I EXPECT them to, which they rarely do. I read this today and it hit me right between the eyes. It showed me that I don't have to be "in my prayer closet" to worship God. I can do it every minute of every day--that's what I am made for. When I am not walking with the Lord, I suffer from negative feelings. So how do I solve it? By remembering that I am a child of God at ALL times! Thanks to Joel Osteen's daily word in my email--I was reminded of this.

Today's Word from Joel Osteen

A 17th century monk, Brother Lawrence, found the answer to enjoying the nitty-gritty of everyday life. He was a humble cook in a French monastery, but he authored a book entitled Practicing the Presence of God. In it, Brother Lawrence explained how he was able to turn even the most commonplace and menial tasks, like preparing meals and washing dishes, into acts of praise and communion with God. The key, he wrote, was not to change what you do, but to change your attitude toward what you do. When you begin doing these tasks, realize that you are doing them for God. Use it as an opportunity to worship Him through acts of service. When you do, you will discover pleasure even in taking out the trash.So don't let the enemy deceive you into thinking that you must get away from your daily routine in order to truly relax and enjoy life. Don't wait for your next vacation–enjoy today and every day as a gift from God. Enjoy getting up and eating breakfast. Enjoy going to work. Enjoy mowing the lawn. Enjoy going to the grocery store. Enjoy washing the dishes. You have to do these things anyway–why not choose to enjoy them? When you do, you will go through life with a smile on your face, a spring in your step and you'll enjoy the abundant, overflowing life of victory that God has in store for you.

A Prayer for Today
God, what an amazing and blessed day this will be when I choose to tackle every task with joy and thanksgiving. As I go through my to-do list, I will do so knowing that every day is a gift and I am happy to accept it from my Father in Heaven. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Monday, July 17, 2006

I'm out of town, but still reading blogs

I am keeping my aunt company, who just lost her husband of 59 years. I will be here until Thursday morning, when I will drive the 3 hours to home. It's hard for me to understand, but there will be no service, no memorial and even no balloons released(my suggestion). It feels so odd not to have a special time to say good bye to my uncle. My cousin and I ran some errands and he and I were talking about saying goodbye to a loved one. He understands that this is what his dad said he wanted.

But a memorial or a service is for the people left behind, not the one who died, isn't it? It's for us who are left behind to deal with the passing in some way. Usually a service in church--which was not an option for my uncle, as he was not a believer in God, or a memorial where friends and family gather to remember and say goodbye.

Maybe just my cousin and I will do something, cause I know that he would like to do something. I'm going to talk to him about it today.

See you all on blog!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Thank God for Blogging Christian Sisters(& Brothers)!

I admit it, I've been in a depressed funk for about a week. My uncle Fred died(he had been ailing and it wasn't unexpected). But what it did, was bring up memories of my Dad's death in 1998 and my favorite Uncle Dick's death in 2003. A couple of mornings ago, for no reason, I started crying and couldn't stop. Not wailing, just tears running down my face. Another time, I was alone with the dogs in the living room and the sounds that came out of my mouth, scared the dogs and me. It wasn't a wail, but such a sad, mournful sound. I couldn't stop it. It finally stopped. I've learned not to suppress mourning and sadness when it comes, but sometimes, I can wait for a more opportune moment to let go.

If I didn't read these posts each and every day, I could easily slip into a funk that could last for weeks. And, yes, I read my bible and also a spiritually uplifting book as well as 3 daily devotional and a book of prayers. But sometimes, when I am down, I can read, read, read and pray and it gets me nowhere, you know?

I say thanks for blogging sisters(and two brothers), because I read your posts daily and they uplift me. I don't always write comments, but each day, I read:
Gracious Home
Reverberate My Echo
Sting My Heart
Ben Kraker(youth pastor in Oregon)
Charles Lord (a pastor in Phoenix)

And several others that I check out from various posting's comments. These blogs save my sanity. When I can't concentrate enough to read and meditate on the bible, when it seems my prayers are dry and don't make it up to heaven(not really true, but when I get depressed it sure seems like it), when I feel hopeless and helpless......I can go to your blogs and read your thoughts that day. All of your posts encourage me whether it's humor or just a daily update. It gets me out of my own muddy puddle and looking around and up.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Working, working, working

We worked on the patio with pavers of various shapes and sized that we bought used, bark and rocks(called river stones because they are rounded). The big concrete things that are placed around the edge of the bark right now are called "castle blocks" and we are going to do a feature of some sort in the front yard with them. They kind of interlock to make different shapes and sizes of planters.

No sooner had we finished with the patio than a new project was begun. Sanding and refinishing the modular entertainment center. That's the thing laying on it's side.

My husband and I have been getting up early and working until it reaches 100 degrees, then we either come in the house and hibernate, go to town for whatever errands have to be run or we go visiting. Yesterday, we delivered a transmission to Hughes in the industrial area of Phoenix, went to Lowes and bought more bark and stones for the patios, bug spray, scorpion spray(we've seen a few) and stuff to do the refinishing.

I got up real early this morning and sprayed all around the house foundation and window sills. We've been having monsoon-like humidity(no rain) and it seems that increases the bug population. Currently, we have the plague of the beetles. Tiny black ones about the size of lady bugs but real slow and they don't seem to fly. They are very annoying because I can't seem to find a chemical to kill them. If they stayed outside, I wouldn't bother them, but they have ventured into the house. Now they are fair game in my book! They seem to be able to enter the house at will. Phil and I haven't been able to find out where they are coming in though. It's frustrating. I may have to call an exterminator. We have the 3 dogs, so I have to be careful what bug spray I can use.

One thing about projects, at the end of the day, you feel you have accomplished something and you are a good kind of tired when you do manual labor.