"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds . . ." Wm Shakespeare

Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Day, Last Post of 2010

So here it is at last. How did I see the old year out and the new year in?? I stayed home, by myself and watched TV, played with the cat and on the computer.

Did it feel bad to be on my own? No, not this year. Oddly enough it was one of the most peaceful New Years Eve's I've spent and oddly enough, this year I had 3 different invitations out to party and celebrate with friends and family.

Being on my own, even in being entertained by the TV and the cat, I was able to do a lot of reflecting on the past year, where I was and where I am now. All in all, though it was a very tough year, a year of many big changes and much disappointment, I am doing so Ok.

Toward the beginning of November I began reading a book that took my Christian world and turned it upside down. It has taken everything I've believed and either enhanced it, made bits of it more real or blew other parts all to bits, nothing left but what God 'really' meant and how I am to live my life in Him.

Do I have it all sorted out? No, not a chance!! But in spite of seeing how much of a scumbag (a.k.a a sinner) I am, there is a rising sense of hope in me that God has His hand on my life and I'm going to make it to the Party at the end of life.

For so many years with one disappointment after another, there were times when I lost my hope that life could be better. Now I've discovered not only does hope still live, but I have a good sense that my life has purpose and God is teaching me so much about living in faith and hope in Him. Will my life finally turn out the way I hope it will? Probably not, because God's agenda for my happiness is much different from mine. But, in reading the book (66 Love Letters), I've found hope that His kind of happiness is way more than having a home of my own, or having financial security or finding that one certain man who will be my best friend. It's deeper, more secure and is not dependent upon these things we believe will make us happy. That is a hope I've never understood before, but now I have become single-minded in my search for God's way of life, the way He created me to live. Everything is second best therefore not worth so much energy in trying to make happen. I plan to take that energy and use it in seeking God and His plans for my life.

What direction is my life going in? I have no idea, but I know God knows and has a plan and that is enough for today! One day at a time eh? But although this path, this direction can seem narrow and rough, it is a path of unprecedented beauty and adventure.

Thanks for walking along this journey with me this past year of 2010 and I'll see you in the New Year of 2011.

God bless you on your own Journey
Girl on a journey of faith and trust . . . . :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Anticipation and Disappointment

Well, here I am contemplating the deep things of life again.

Today I am anticipating eating Duck for my main meal. I've not had Duck since the mid-1970's when it was more affordable than Turkey. Each year I gaze longingly in the freezer bunkers at the grocery stores but turn away when I see the inflated price stickers.

This year, to my absolute delight, I found a price sticker which is totally affordable and I bought it. It's thawing in a sink of cold water as I type this out.

However, I find myself wondering if the actual eating of it will meet the expectation I have for how good it will be, how it will satisfy the longing of years gone past. Or . . . . has the memory increased the anticipation that is unrealistic in proportion to what it will really taste like?

I think this is like life. We dream of events we hope will come to pass, yet find ourselves so often disappointed as time after time things unfold differently than anticipated. More often than not, they are so much 'less than' we hoped for.

I'm beginning to believe this is because we look for deep satisfaction from the surface things of life. We don't look in the right places for our hearts desires to be met.

Such depth of desires can only be met at depth, depth which only God can fill and satisfy. When we look to other people, when we look for possessions, when we look for financial security or when we look anywhere else but to the God who created us to meet those needs, we will be disappointed.

I find this to be such a challenge: how do I see things differently than what is the norm of this life? How do I change my thinking to reflect the truths I'm discovering when what is preached or taught or thought is so self-focused? How is it possible to see things God's way rather than the way of the world when so little is taught that is God's way.

My beliefs and ways of thinking are being so radically challenged and I hope God, through Holy Spirit helps me figure it out because certainly there has been nothing that has met the needs that are way down deep within me. Of all the good and most wonderful things I've experienced, not one has answered that need for "something more". I must then conclude there is nothing on this earth; not wealth, not possessions, and not great and wonderful love apart from God, will ever meet this need, thus I find myself wait on and looking to God to bring that depth of fulfillment and satisfaction. Just what that looks like, I have no idea.

My journey now takes a turn onto the path less trod, it goes off the main highway to a small dirt path winding up and up and up, away from the frenetic path I have thought as the right road. My journey now takes the path of adventure of finding God's way in each step of the trip. Having once thought I was following God and finding out I really was not, this is basically a trip into the great unknown . . . .

God's blessings for you as you find His path for your life.

Girl on a Journey

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Love ~ God's Way

Those of you who know me, know I've been reading Larry Crabb's book 66 Love Letters, a dialogue between the author and God. It goes from Genesis to Revelation with Crabb writing his conversation with God about God's message of Love in each book of the Bible.

To say this book has grabbed my attention would be a severe understatement. It has become my whole soul and spiritual attention, it is almost an obsession as it rambles through my thoughts regardless of any activity I'm involved in.

It follows me in observing others behaviors, it tracks in my mind during conversations I'm involved in and in listening to conversations around me. Questions and understanding revelations going helter~skelter through my mind, like a dual personality. I'm present on the outside to what is going on, but my mind is carrying on this dialogue with God on the inside.

Hard to explain but those of you who can be in a conversation with someone and be thinking of what you will cook for dinner at the same time will totally understand!!

Years ago I read my very first Larry Crabb book called Inside Out. It was life-changing to a degree back then, but I can see it was a very immature beginning to this life lived in and with God.

This book however, is calling for balance between a very loving Father and a most holy and righteous God. It's the balance He wants for each of us and reading it has turned my world Upside Down!

I will make this observation for myself in reading this ~ I would have been plunged into the depths of despair had I not first known, really really known, how deeply I am loved by God the Father. I think for me, reading this book has come at the perfect time for me, for my life at this point in time. I can see this so very clearly and am grateful for it.

This book is not an easy read. It has the potential to challenge the very fabric of your life, as it has mine. Every chapter thus far, I'm at Ezekiel now, has been read a minimum of two times and most of them read three or four. I cannot take it all in with one pass by. I've been writing my observations and questions in my journal. I have pages of questions and more pages of my own dialogue with God. Some of what Crabb writes resonates with my own experiences, but it has generated many other questions and conversations between God and me and it's good.

  • Don't read this book if you like your life as it is.
  • Don't read this book if you don't want a challenge.
  • Don't read this book if you don't want to be uncomfortable.

But . . . .
  • Read this book if more than anything else you want your relationship with God to supersede everything else.
  • Read this book if life has failed to enchant you.
  • Read this book if you are disappointed in life and people.
  • Read this book if present relationships let you down over and over.
  • And, Read this book if you just wonder if there is more to life.

If you decide to read it, take your time, talk to God about it and write down your thoughts and questions.

It is often said in the Bible, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear", this applies to this book also. There are so many things to hear God say, so many truths to see and I hope if you choose to read it, you will give God every opportunity to open your heart and mind to all He has for you.

May God bless you and keep you. May God make His face to shine upon you and give you much heart peace as you walk one day at a time on the Journey of your life.

Blessings,
Girl on a Journey



Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tis the Season . . . . again

The end of another year is here once again and this year, as in many years past, I am not where I thought I would be, either in physical location, job or emotionally & spiritually.

Nothing in my life has stayed the same, but for me this is a good thing. I'm not sure if I would even know how to live in one town, in one home for too many years in a row or work at the same job for years at a time. It's just never happened, not since I was 14 years old and we moved out of my birth home, and left my birth town. The longest I've lived in a home is 4 years and that only happened 2 or 3 times.

Regardless where I live, what my job is or where I hang my hat and call home, the changes that mean the most to me are the changes to my character, my emotional well-being and my spiritual growth.

It's true. The older I get the more I realize the truth of Matthew 6:20 - 21 ~ 'but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in or steal, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also'.

I have very few personal possessions now. I gave most of it away, handed down the family heirlooms and purged things that really have no value to me any more. And I'm ok with that.

What I'm keeping for the rest of my life however, is my character, my emotional well-being and my relationship with God, these are the only 'things' I will take with me to the next phase of my life, the other stuff will not. The other stuff is what I will pass to my children and grandchildren, things that mean something to me and will remind them of a time gone by.

So, as I reflect on the past year I know it's been a tough year to walk through, but it's changed me in ways that a life of ease or of getting what I wanted may not have done . . . . and that's ok.

I'm looking forward, with anticipation, to see just how my life circumstances will change in the New Year, but for now . . . . for today, I am content.

Blessings to you as you journey into a brand new year full of change.
Journey Girl



Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Selfish Unfaithfulness to God

This topic has sent me on another quest to discover just how I live that is unfaithful to God . . . . it was and still is a painful journey.

For years I've known that God is to be my source, my provider for all I need, but it seems to be going deeper, it's getting narrower and it's becoming a pinch!

I understand He provides for all my needs, it's the definition of 'need' He has which is so different from what I think I need which is causing all my struggle, which is causing me to doubt at times His love for me, selfishly because I'm not getting what I want, or think I need.

I am beginning to 'get' that He is more committed to changing my character than He is to relieving me of any present challenge. I'm beginning to see that at times my biggest 'need' is to find relief when I'm in a situation I don't appreciate, a place that is painful, lonely, bored or sad.

So where does the unfaithfulness come in . . . . when I'm lonely and I'll do just about anything to find relief. When I'm bored I want relief so what do I do?? I fill my time with mindless playing about on the computer, watching TV or eating something, even if the 'something' is healthy but I'm eating to lessen the pain of loneliness or boredom. I seek out other people to find relief of loneliness. When I'm sad or lonely, I'll first think of 'who can I call, what can I do?' I use people to assuage my need more than I go to God, how selfish is that?

People use drugs, cigarettes, porn, sex, reading books to escape, partying, watching TV and other people to find relief from the difficult and painful situations we find ourselves in. We date and marry others, one of the most important life-changing decisions we will ever make and our motivation is often to find relief for whatever our need is; financial security, loneliness, that deep desire to be loved by a special person etc. We use other people for our selfish need to find that relief.

In a marriage we vow to love one another through better or worse, through sickness and health, for richer or poorer until death we part. I'm beginning to see when I look to other people to find relief from the above kind of situations, I am being unfaithful to God who has said He will meet my need.

I am unfaithful when He says 'no' and I turn away from Him.
I am unfaithful when He says 'wait' and I go ahead to provide it for myself.
I am unfaithful when He doesn't provide as I expect Him to, and go looking to get what I want.
Or worse still, I try to manipulate God into relieving me of any current situation which is causing me pain or pressures me in some way. In fact, the whole attitude of striving for relief and comfort is pretty big in my life and that is very disheartening to discover.

If I liken this to
being faithful in a marriage, what if every time my spouse did not meet my 'need' or didn't give me what I wanted, and I then go looking for another to meet that need? This would be very detrimental to us building a deep, satisfying marriage together. In fact it's one reason, I think a very big reason, why divorce is so prevalent. 'We' don't get out of it what we need, so rather than loving sacrificially and asking God to provide for our needs while still in the marriage, we find a way to 'get out' of it and go looking for someone else who will meet our needs. To me, seeking marriage as a way to having my own needs met is a very bad motivation (I can say this because that was my motivation for a while). I Cor. says Love does not seek it's own, but I want relief from being alone, from not having a companion to enjoy things with, to assuage my loneliness rather than to give and love as Christ loved the church (a topic of discussion too big for this post).

I think I am like a baby who wants to be fed, to have a full belly to feel good, so I cry. I'm like the toddler who wants 'that' toy so I pitch a temper tantrum to get what I want to feel good. I am like any other scenario you can think of which describes someone who wants relief in some way and behaves poorly when they don't get it.

I read the following which says better what I'm trying to say:
“until you fall into the dignity of despair where words about Me mean nothing to you and where service for Me seems futile; until the wisdom that comes easily fails to stir you with hope; until available pleasures, legitimate and illegitimate, moral and immoral, no longer satisfy or even bring more than temporary relief to your empty soul; until whatever wealth you have accumulated, whatever possessions litter your life, whatever achievements decorate your resume, until all of it leaves you with the realization that more will not fill the emptiness in your heart; until time with friends doesn’t energize you as it once did’ until sacrificial deeds of kindness that win the applause of many no longer have the power to help you feel worthwhile; until the drama, passion and activities of church become lifeless and dull; until you have nowhere to turn for the satisfaction for your soul’s desire, not to the Bible, not to prayer, not to music, not to friends, not to church; until all this happens, you will never dance to heaven’s music as I designed you to dance. You will hear not My song of love as clearly and beautifully as I sing it. You will not know that every moment of your life is a perfectly tuned note in the eternal harmony." Larry Crabbe

When everything but God has more importance in my life in meeting my need to find relief to any of my situations, it is being unfaithful to Him, it is turning to someone or something other than Him and that is idolatry.

I want things from this life that most people want or if they have them, take them for granted.
I want my own home again where I can entertain, have my kids and grands over for holiday meals.
I want gardens both vegetable and flowers.
I want a clothes line to hang out laundry (I know, sounds weird).
I want a good husband/marriage relationship.
I want a car that isn't falling apart, bit by bit and isn't held together by the grease and oil that covers it.

I want, I want, I want . . . . selfishly, to bring me relief. But I'm beginning to see they are a temporary fix at best and a trap into more selfishness at worse. I can look back at my life and see it is riddled with decisions that should have made my life easier, better and more pleasing, but in looking back, it did little to satisfy or meet those 'needs'/wants. What it did, that I did not realize till now, was give me a sickening attitude of entitlement and one of 'deserving' and that is so not pleasing to God. (
Please don't misunderstand, I am not against marriage, having friends, having a home and all the things we enjoy in this life, I want them too. What I'm talking about is our motivation to selfishly find relief and above everything else feel good about me.)

But what does God want for me? He is more committed to changing my heart attitude, to changing my character, to making me more into the image of His Son Jesus than He is to giving me a temporary and eventually-dissatisfying relief for my present discomfort.

As Christians, we want the same thing right? We want to be like Jesus. But it's the journey to 'becoming' we find so incredibly difficult and most of the time we are not even aware that the wanting of all these good things is often the hindrance to becoming more like Jesus and to building our relationship with God into a deeper, more intimate and infinitely more satisfying relationship. And, as long as I continue striving to provide for myself, I rob God of the opportunity of providing for me, in a more rich and satisfying way and I rob myself of an opportunity to grow my faith and trust in God.

It's not an easy trip, there are so many roadblocks, some of which I don't even know are tripping me up. I guess I'll just leave it to God to show me them when necessary ~ as He did with this selfish desire to find relief.

Here's to each of us as we travel our own Journey. May the Provider of all our needs draw you closer and be everything you really do need.

Blessings from a Girl on a somewhat-painful-portion of this Journey called life.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

God's Character

As alluded to in the last post, I began thinking about the character of God. If I am to be holy as He is holy and if I'm to have the character of God then I needed to find out what His character is . . . . so I went hunting.

It was easy at first because I immediately thought of the Fruit of the Spirit.

That certainly fits.

The next thoughts were of all the 'one-anothers' that are listed throughout the New Testament, mostly in Paul's letters to the Church.

They certainly fit also as do the characteristics of Love as described in 1 Corinthians 13.
Wow, this is a very long list and it is not going to be easy when I'm in the midst of a hurting situation, to 'be' whichever characteristic the situation demands. It's going to take practice and grit to choose to respond with these attributes of God.

I know, I know . . . . I have the Spirit of Christ within me. I 'know' I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. But!! And that is a big BUT, I also know what it's like to be betrayed by someone I trusted and just how challenging it is to respond with my spirit rather than react from my flesh. I believe this is the biggest battle our souls will wage.

So, lets get on with the list, like I said, it's a long one, but if you look at each one, you will see God in every one of them. This is the standard.

Patience, kindness, loving, joyful, peaceful, steadfast, gentle, good, patient and self-controlled.
Encouraging, exhorting, supportive, strong, devoted, builds up, accepts, admonishes, cares and serves others. Tolerant, speaks truth in love, forgiveness, comforting, stimulates to good deeds and is hospitable and fellowships with us.
Merciful and compassionate, abundant in loving-kindness, meek and lowly, assertive, just, restful and peaceful, serene and slow to anger. He rejoices with truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. God covers our sins and never fails.

From Philippians 4:8 we have honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, worthy of praise and excellent.

What God is not . . . .
Complaining, does not speak against, not moved by circumstances, has no guile or deception, not passive-aggressive or abusive, does not distance Himself from us. Not arrogant nor does He brag, does not act unbecomingly, does not seek it's own, is not provoked, takes no account of a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness.

Well, like I said, it is a very long list, but if God's plan in our lives is to make us be more like His Son Jesus, then these are the attributes He is looking to build into our lives. This 'list' is what He is looking for when no one is around, when we are hurting bad, when someone cuts us off on the highway, or snubs us at work, treats us with contempt or in any other situation we find ourselves in.

I'm starting to get the point of James 1:2-4 when he says "consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have it's perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete and lacking in nothing".

When I think of testing on a practical level I think of all the tests I've done in my life. What made me successful? I had to practice over and over until I got it right.

Oh, NOW I get it!!! That's why I've had to go around some of these mountains more than once!!! God was letting me practice!

Well, another time I will write what the above attributes look like to me in any given situation. I think I've got enough to think about for today.

God bless you as you walk the narrow road of being changed into the likeness of Christ.
Journey Girl

Friday, November 26, 2010

Following, Trusting & Believing *sigh*

I've been reading a book called "66 Love Letters" by Larry Crabb and it is really challenging me, a lot. Every chapter I go back and re-read at least once and sometimes twice. I am discovering this book is re-writing the very wrong teaching I've been handed by many preachers and pastors. I'm finding my whole understanding about God, the 'big picture' of my small life and how it fits into the larger plan of all Eternity.

To write more of what this book is doing for me would be to write a whole 'nother book and since that is not the purpose of this blog, I will write the following snippet which gives just one small portion of what God is doing in me and for me. It's just a book, written by another human being, but as God speaks through it, that is when and how this heart is being changed.

I love it!

One thing I'm beginning to understand is, we will not often understand why God requires of us what He does, or what He is trying to accomplish except in the larger picture of His plan.

Blind obedience is only possible because we trust His character. So, even if it makes no sense, even if it's very painful for us and even though it looks totally ridiculous by our own sense of what is right and wrong, or what makes sense to us as humans, by trusting His character, by trusting His love for us, by trusting and believing, sometimes against all odds, that He is for us and not against us, we can say, "never-the-less, not my will but Yours O God" and follow along the path He is showing us, just like a little lamb.

I know this goes against the grain of all the cultural norms of today, but really when you come right down to it, how has doing things 'my' way worked for me, or how is it working for me right now??

It isn't! It hasn't and I have no confidence that it actually ever will!

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of trying my best only to find it very often a sti
nking failure. Thus, my determination is to ask God, in every situation I don't understand, in every situation where I've been hurt, abandoned, betrayed or simply let down by others, and in every situation where I want to go one way and He's showing me another less desirable way, to ask Him, "what does holiness look like in this situation?", "how am I to respond?" then with as much trust as I can muster, I will follow Jesus example and declare, "Not my will but Yours dear Father" and behave, or respond, as is right and as holiness dictates.

Even though it hurts to follow, in this will I trust also . . . that he will meet my need to be comforted and give me that peace that by-passes all understanding.

Now, this opens up another point . . . . if I am to trust God's character and believe He is for me, that leads me to wonder, just what are the characteristics of God? That is a journey of discovery each of us must take, but perhaps I'll write about that trip in another blog . . . .

Blessings to you as you follow the Journey He has for you
Journey Girl

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Family

I just came home from my trip to Switzerland . . . . I found my roots and you have no idea the profound affect this had on me.

At first I grieved at all I had missed through the years. I grieved for the fact that my great-grandfather was the one of 14 siblings to make the move to Canada thereby robbing me of growing up in Switzerland, missing all the cousins, aunts/uncles and missing the roots I never really understood I had. I grieved for so many things it made it difficult for me to enjoy the beauty of the land around the family farm.

Then I let it go.

Everywhere I went I saw family. Everywhere I went was a piece of history that belonged to me; the bakery shop my great-grandmother Adele owned and worked in, the apartment where my grandmother Jane-Louise (Granny) learned to knit her stockings from the age of 5, the round church, Chene Pacquier where Granny attended on Sundays. I lived on the family farm and it was the most peaceful place, the place where I sat on the balcony and looked over the land to Lac Neuchatel and the Jura mountains . . . . I could breathe the peace and beauty of it all.

One weekend I spent in Lausanne, in an apartment with 2 cousins. Their balcony overlooked Lac Leman (Lake Geneva) to the Alps in France. I walked the streets (with camera) for a couple of hours and again the beauty of their streets, their apartments; balconies overflowing with flowers, the shops, very European and I fell in love. I walked through the same park my sister did when she lived in Lausanne. She walked through this park on her way to the hospital where she worked and I was allowed to share a little in her life when she lived here.

But the City I fell in love with the most was Yverdon. It was a 15 minute drive from Demoret, the farm where we stayed. Yverdon was the most beautiful little city sitting on the edge of Lac Neuchatel, and it stole my heart. It was charming. It had a river running through it, streets where motorized vehicles were forbidden, street-side cafes on cobbled stones and every store imaginable with everything you could ever want or need. And, it had a Chateau right in the middle of all it all, a visual demonstration of the history of Yverdon. I could have spent days walking about, exploring and enjoying the essence of what Switzerland is.

If I were to describe one thing that made the biggest impression on me (excepting the beauty of the land) I would have to say the people in Switzerland; family, friends or absolute strangers are the most congenial, friendly and polite people I have ever met. They know and live the Bible verse "esteem others higher than yourself" and it was demonstrated in a very heart-warming way.

This is one journey that has changed my heart. I don't know everything it has done for me, but one thing I do know . . . . I will go back and I will learn to speak French, for as much as I understood, as much as they gave me grace to understand and involve me, I don't want to miss a single thing when I'm there again.

I can only hope each one of you has such a life-changing experience sometime, somewhere in some way that opens your heart to the beauty of another land and another people.

Blessings from a Girl on a Journey, home for a little while . . . .


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Coming Home

It's said that you can never go back home again, well I'm here to say, yes you can.

After being away for 5 years, I moved back to my home town. I was pretty sure I didn't want to move back here, in fact I was dreading it. So being the pro-active gal that I am, I asked Abba, "Please give me something to love about this town ok, otherwise I'm not going to make it here."

I can tell you within one week, I was finding things I 'loved' about this place and a short time later found myself feeling quite happy and content and yes, even grateful for being back here. WOW, count me surprised!!

Another thing I discovered which was a surprise to me was that I belonged here. I don't have my own place, I'm living in a room at my sis and bro-in-laws, I have only a part time job, my stuff is in storage and I'm trying to figure out my life. But the reason I feel I belong is, even though I don't have a place to call my own and don't 'belong' to any work group or church or a home I belong in, I have a place in the hearts of my family and friends. They have made room for me and I can tell they truly do enjoy having me back, not just in the town, but back in their lives.

Basically, the reason I belong is because I belong in the heart of those who love me.

So yes, you can go back home again and perhaps find it a richer environment than when you left in the first place.

Blessings to you as you find that place where you belong, whether in hearts or an actual place.
Journey Girl

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Loving God Unconditionally II


I was recently, actually this morning, reading a blog of another 'blogger' and found this poem. It's copyrighted and used with permission so I cannot re-write it here for you, but I'll post the link where I found it for you below . . . . anyway . . . .


It is exactly what I was trying to convey in my blog about loving God unconditionally in the good times and bad.


Not paying lip service, saying 'of course I love God' in a heads-only kind of assent, but when things are harder than we believe we can handle, knowing God can get us out of it but, for divine reasons He alone knows, He chooses not to ~ well, can we look Him in the face and love Him anyway when He withholds that from us?

She talks of sulking and ignoring Him, trying to freeze Him out , trying to manipulate Him into giving us our own way, yet still He loves us.


Here, I'll just let you read her poem and please do follow the link to her webpage and read more if you care to . . . .


I think I have a lot to learn about loving unconditionally.

Continuing my Journey of life . . . . Journey Girl

Go to: http://www.lifestream.org/ follow down to Wayne's Blog
Look through the August archives to: Words of Life from a World of Pain
Scroll down to her poem called "Held" this is the poem to which I refer to above.

If you like, go on . . . read through all of the things she writes, I bet you are challenged =)
See blog on Journey through Poetry on God knows my Need as it speaks to trusting God and believing he knows what is best. To me this is more on the theme of unconditionally loving God and being loved by God, a challenge to be sure.
blessings . . . . Journey Girl

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My First BIG Trip

Big as in overseas, long flight and living out of a suitcase!! Does any of that bother me? Not in the least, it's all an adventure to be experienced.

I'm hoping this is the first of many overseas trips, the catalyst that shoots me off to ports as yet unknown.

I'm travelling with my Mom and we're heading to Switzerland. We have our passports and tickets in hand and are now beginning to assemble all the things we need to take.

One thing I'm looking to purchase for this trip is a backpack, one that holds both laptop and camera et al. It's going to be quite an expense, but well worth it when you consider how much I can fit in there and it won't be a heavy weight on one shoulder. They are suited for such a trip as this and everything I have to take on-board will fit in this one bag. I've done a bit of searching and I'm impressed with the quality of the packs thus far but there is one more shop I want to check out, then I'm going to make my choice, never easy when spending this kind of money, and get it packed . . . . that is when I think I'll really become excited!

Another purchase I've made is an e-reader, a Kindle by Amazon. These are amazing little pieces of technology. Now, I may not understand how all this technology works, but I understand I love it and know how to use it!

It is so compact it will easily fit into my backpack and I can take along several books on this lightweight reader as opposed to trying to fit in enough books for the whole trip.

OK, you are wondering 'what the heck is she taking books on a trip to Switzerland for???' right? Well, this is not the kind of trip where I want to pack into every day as much sight-seeing as possible, tripping here and there all over the country. Although there are certain things I want to see, it's more a trip where I want to 'experience' life in Switzerland. I don't really care to visit the chocolate factory, but want to wander around the city centres, shooting the buildings and people as they walk to and fro.

But, back to the book thing, there are going to be times when my head is just too full of everything I've seen, heard and experienced and I know I'm going to want some down-time to just veg. That's when sitting on a mountainside with a cool drink or hot cup of tea, maybe even a glass of wine, and reading comes into play. There will be many times I will just shoot the scene and sit quietly, pondering the amazing fact I am actually sitting on the side of a Swiss mountain!

The Chalet above? That's the side of the mountain I'll be sitting on as we are planning to spend a few days there.

So those are my thoughts about the trip I'm taking. I have a few business details that need to be looked after before the trip, but as soon as they are dealt with, my only business will be getting ready to go.

Another journey, another adventure for this Journey Girl. I can't wait!!
Blessings . . . .

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Clean or Blurry Lines

I recently tried to shoot the Canada Day fireworks from the balcony of the 9th floor apartment where I'm hanging my hat these days.

It was a bit frustrating in that I didn't really know how to set my camera to shoot as quickly as needed to capture the fast pace of the light show, but I did it anyway.

What I ended up with was better than I expected and more than I hoped . . . . cool!

Here's what I was thinking about when I looked at the end result ~ beauty can come in the form of imperfections, failures and blurred lines!

So much of my life has been a struggle to do things 'just right'. It's how I was programmed as a child, do it right or else! I learned the lesson very well, too well it turns out as it has hemmed me in and kept me from enjoying a good many experiences. Always trying to please others, do it 'right' from their perspective.
Well, when was it ever going to be right from my perspective?? When was it going to be ok for me to do it 'my way'?
I saw things as either well done and worthy of praise or as a mistake I should be ashamed of.
This lesson was reinforced during my marriage and it's taken me many years to slough off the lie and embrace the truth that everything creative, whether colored perfectly within the lines or blurring beyond, has a beauty of its' own.

I'm learning even mistakes and failures can still have a sense of rightness when looked beyond what it was 'supposed' to be to what 'is'.
I'm learning life has to work for me too, not just everyone else BUT me.

Life is not about doing everything perfectly. Life is about experiences which include good and not-so-good experiences, it is even about making mistakes ~ mis-takes ~ and failing to do what I wanted. Life is taking everything at face value and accepting the value of each attempt to explore and experience it.

I've come to the conclusion it's impossible to experience life perfectly, cleanly and within the boundaries of perfection as others dictate it 'should' be, coloring in the lines drawn by others.

I'm done with 'should' cuz if it 'should be' then it would be, that's backward thinking and I'm into forward thinking.

I'm done with rehashing and second guessing how I should have done or said something that would make it better. Would I do things differently if I knew how it would turn out?? Possibly! But the thing is, I did not have this knowledge back when I made the decision, so it wasn't possible to do it 'then' as how I would do it 'now'.

Each experience is a learning experience. Sometimes I learn how I would do something differently or that I did it just as I wanted to. But, whether it turned out differently or not as good as I hoped, it does not negate the experience or the creativity of it all.

One other thing I have learned is to be gentle with myself. I have no manual to show me how to live my life, so I choose to go to the One who gave me my life, follow the directions He gives.

Those times I don't follow the Manual and screw up, well it's not for nought either. I've learned a great many things from my mis-takes in life. Mostly I've learned it's ok, I'm ok and it's all good.

There is a time and place for coloring within the lines, but right now I'm daring to see what I can create while coloring randomly all over my page of life.

Blessings on your own Journey of life . . . . Journey Girl

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Loving God Unconditionally

We know we are to love one another unconditionally, after all this is how God loves us, right?

This to me, is a very multi-dimensional task, yes task because honestly it takes work, and for me it's the biggest challenge of my life ~ most days!

It means loving others when they are not behaving in a very lovable way.

It means loving others when they are spiteful and mean.

It means loving others when they ignore me.

It means loving others when I disaprove of their lifestyle and decisions.

It means accepting others just as they are; regardless of my opinion!

When they frustrate me, make me angry and just generally piss me off! Still I'm to love them, accept them and treat them as if they never did anything to make me want to NOT love them.

But, here is one thing I've never thought of, till this morning ~ do I love GOD unconditionally?

I love God, no question about that; it's the 'unconditional' bit that has caught me off guard!

Do I love Him when I know He could change my circumstances and doesn't?

Do I love Him when things don't go well for me or others I love?

Do I love Him when I'm in pain and don't understand why He doesn't answer prayer to take it away?

Do I love Him when I don't hear from Him right away?

What does it look like to me, to not love Him (or others) unconditionally?
I ask myself these questions:

Do I distance myself, cold-shoulder Him? Do I ignore our relationship and spend more time with others or by doing any other thing rather than talk it out with Him? Do I figure He's too high maintenance ( you define what this means to you :) ) and walk away altogether?

Isn't that what I'm tempted to do with people when I am angry with them or they have hurt me?
Just how unconditional is my love anyway??

If you've been following my posts, this would seem to be the million-dollar question that's been plaguing my thoughts these days . . . . *sigh*

The challenge in loving unconditionally just went from huge; in loving people, to monumental; in loving the God of the Universe ~ unconditionally.

Blessings to you on your Journey of loving others unconditionally . . . . Journey Girl

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Parting of the Ways

Ya, it's almost time. I can see the signs this relationship is coming to an end!

It's a death for me, but I cannot mourn because it was such a wonderful relationship of provision. But it's time to anticipate the joys of moving on, knowing this relationship has served me well and a new one is waiting to continue this journey I have taken for the past 12 years, with the last one.

For those of you who know me, I've been having a 12-year love affair with my Honda. I got the sad news last week that I will get the winter out of this wonderful car but then must bid adieu and continue my journey of life with another vehicle. She was the 4th Honda I've had, need I say more? There is a good reason why Honda owners are so loyal!

On my way home today I passed a Dodge Journey and it got me thinking ~ what kind of vehicle will I be driving to continue the next leg of life with me?

I always thought I would be a Honda owner the rest of my life and have wanted a Honda CRV for forever, but it's been brought to my attention there are many other makes and models that would serve my needs just as well and are as good as Hondas!

THAT was not easy to say :) It all started one day in 1998, I was driving the 401 with my daughter and told her it was time to buy a different car.


I told her I was hoping to find a Honda Accord sedan as I needed the 4 doors and the trunk. A/C would be nice, but not a necessity, love a 5 speed tranny and had to have Cruise Control.

Those were my hopes and as you can see, I got exactly what I was hoping for, including the A/C!! What I could not have foreseen was the 45 km/g, the very low cost of maintenance and how utterly faithful this car has been!


I know this car was provided for by God, so here I am once again, saying what I'm hoping for this time and as before, waiting to see just which vehicle I'll end up with. I figure, if He gave me such a great car the last time, He is just as able to provide another 'best-for-me' vehicle again.

I've been wanting an SUV-type vehicle for the past 5 or more years, dreaming of the day when I would actually get one. I like being higher up and know I now prefer the open space in the back over a truck I have to bend into, it's just easier as I grow older ( did I say that with my outside voice??? :0 ).

As for makes and models, I've been looking at the KIA as a serious contender and I am seriously impressed with what I see!

It's really quite exciting for me, after 12 years, I'm getting a new vehicle.

The one thing I'm hoping though, is this new one is not brought about in the same manner as the last one was!!

Blessings to you ~ Girl on another new Journey



Friday, July 30, 2010

If . . . . Then

If today I have time and the means to visit a friend . . . .
Then I am blessed

If today I have food enough to eat that nourishes me . . . .
Then I am blessed

If today I enjoy good health . . . .
Then I am blessed

If today I have a safe place to live . . . .
Then I am blessed

If today I have Family & Friends who love and honestly care about me . . . .
Then I am blessed

If today nothing changes in my circumstances but I know I am deeply and totally loved by God . . . .
Then I am blessed

Just for today, I have all I need . . . .
I am blessed

Blessings to you on whatever Journey you are on . . . . Journey Girl

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Today I Dare

I picked up the following quote from another Blogger and it is very relevant to the journey I am on ~ by David Whyte, in The Heart Aroused, regarding The Via Negativa. (I think I need to read this book!)

"The Via negativa is the discipline of saying no when we have as yet no clarity about those things to which we can say yes. We take the via negativa when there is not yet any sign of the via positiva. But in the continuous utterance of the no, is a profound faith that the yes will appear -- not just because of the law of averages, but because we have said no to so much. In a way, if we treat our destiny as a potential marriage, it chooses us as much as we choose it, and like a seeker for our hand, deems us to be serious about it through our continued refusal of the wrong suitors. We create in effect a kind of energetic vacuum into which something we recognize can appear."

I have been dealing with something I began but has only been a source of great stress for me, something I should not have started in the first place. I've been wrestling with the thought of just giving it up, walking away and putting into the file of 'lessons learned'.

Truth be told, at the time I was considering taking on this particular project, I heard this very still, very small voice, very deep within that said, "just wait", but either I didn't hear it loudly or clearly enough to cause me to pay attention, thus I began.

Today I am daring to say "No" to this thing, quit, just let it go. Does it add to my life? No. Does it create peace and contentment? No. Does it protect or prolong my health? No. There is nothing in this that is a positive for me. It needs to go. Today I dare to fly in the face of others opinions, travel the path less traveled and dance to the beat of my own heart.

I know some will think quitting is a bad thing, that once you begin you finish. But I have long learned my motives for beginning some things are not healthy motivations and when realized it was a bad path to go down, it is healthier to admit the mistake and just turn around, let it go and get back on a path of rightness and health.

Thus, today I am acknowledging I made an unwise decision. I'm stopping the walk on this path, turning around and heading back to a path of more peace, less stress and more wholeness. In saying No to this particular activity, I'm daring to say Yes to things that nourish my soul and bring a greater sense of peace into my life. Even if nothing positive comes along, the stress is gone and that in itself is good. That alone is something to say Yes to.

What will you dare to say No to? What is it you will now have time and energy to say Yes to?

Blessings from a Girl on a Journey to wholeness and peace.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

An Old Realization Made New

I just finished setting up photo folders within a main folder in preparation for my trip to Switzerland in September. They are all empty now, but the joy of making them lies in anticipation of filling them!

Each folder will hold a days worth of photos. I've made one for Mom also and when we get back, I'll drop her photos onto a DVD and she can make hard copies or put them on the TV to watch. Perhaps my brother-in-law will add music in the background. Whatever, she will enjoy this for years.

While I was doing it, the thing I always knew about myself came up as a new thought, "I would rather make empty folders in preparation for a trip than do any other mundane, non-creative activity". What this means to me is, it is creating. Yes, in a very simple form, but there is this driving need inside me to create. I am happiest when I'm creating something; writing this blog, baking (not cooking), making photos, cropping and organizing and designing a home or decorating a room.

Each whole is a putting-together of small details and it creates in me a wonderful and deep sense of satisfaction and fulfillment.

This leads me to the realization, the memory, of each time I've done the right brain / left brain testing, I consistently score in the middle ~ I use each half of my brain equally and equally well. I can see not only the big picture of the complete, but the detailed steps needed to create the whole. I am as creative as I am analytical.

While this may not seem so amazing to you, it is a welcome awareness of who I am.

My challenge lies in, how do I make this work for me in working for others and earning my living? Finding that would be an answer to a life-long question for me: what is the 'thing' I was created to do that will provide the answers to survival in this world?

As ever . . . . a Girl on a Journey

Friday, July 23, 2010

Yea Though I Walk . . .

So, here I am again, talking about God providing. For me it's the not-so-fun side of provision, this is where faith really comes in.

Remember the Israelites? They trusted the manna would show up every morning. I have to wonder, were there people like me who wondered if the manna really would show up? And, if it did, would it be what they wanted or hoped for? What would they do if it didn't? What if . . . and on and on and on.

On God's part, it continues to be a daily thing, on my part the challenge is just living 'today' in what He has provided for this day only.

As people we are taught to believe it is the prudent and wise that plan for our future. We are taught to believe if we do nothing we will have nothing.

I am not so sure about that anymore.

As I look back on my life of faith, since the day I walked out on my own, I see many examples of trying to provide for myself, to make life work for me. After all, I was on my own now, with no one to look after me, plan for me or provide for me. Fourteen years later, although I see many good attempts, many practical and wise moves that should have succeeded, it just never accomplished what I hoped, what I thought it would and I am left wondering why?

So, back to the Israelites, they were provided enough for one day only. The New Testament tells us to 'not worry about tomorrow', 'don't worry about the clothes we wear, the food we eat' and I'm back to thinking maybe I've had it wrong all these years, that perhaps we've had it wrong all these years. Perhaps our futures are not found in RRSP's or GIC's or investments of any sort. Perhaps our futures are not all about a 401K plan.

Am I being too simplistic? I don't know, were the Israelites being too simplistic to expect God would provide that manna every day? Why would God inspire such words in the Bible unless He knew we needed to hear that He could do better than man's plans? What if He wanted to point us to a better way? What if He didn't want us to plot and plan our future security because He knew it would cause us stress, and because He knows He's got it all figured out and already has our needs all looked after, present and future, regardless what the world believes?

If Scripture is to be believed, God wants us to simply be His child, not worry but trust in faith that He, our Father, is going to look after us, as we look after the needs of our own children.
So, what does that look like? I believe it's different for every individual. If He is our Creator then He surely must know what we need, personally.

I see people all around me striving to make it in this world, like I am, but I don't see it working for them much better than it's working for me.

What would happen if we quit trying, if we stopped plotting and planning and worrying about it all? A verse that comes to mind is Matthew 6:25-32 where Jesus talks about worrying about tomorrow. The one that particularly strikes me is Matthew 6:27 - "And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life"?

Would we be happier people? Would we enjoy our lives more? Would we be healthier, less prone to the diseases of stress and worry?

Unless I try this 'day only' faith, how will I ever believe totally that He can be trusted to provide for my future?

I guess the real questions are: can I stop worrying? Can I just live in today? As each day comes and goes with no change in circumstance, I do wonder how my particular issues will be solved. How will I pay my moving expenses? How will I pay for the storage unit here? How will I ever save enough for first and last month's rent to move out on my own? What job will I have to meet my needs and work for me emotionally, physically and financially? How do I plan for the day I have to buy a new car, or will He provide the right car at the right time as He did the last time? If He did it once won't He do it again?

I know I have to work, that's not the issue. The issue is, is faith simply doing 'today' what is in front of me and letting Him decide when it's time to move to something else? Is faith working the hours He's provided for each day and letting Him give or take away clients as He knows is best?

What about all the things I 'want' to do, that I don't need physically, but are every bit as important to me emotionally and psychologically?

Is it wrong to want a newer car, a good home to live in and the financial ability to travel as is my hearts desire? Is it wrong to want enough money to take my Grands to a movie or have pizza and a sleep-over? These things don't even compute when I have so many other things that need to be resolved. Yet, they are every bit as necessary to me as the others are, certainly more of a priority than paying bills, but they need to be shunted aside to pay for the things which are staring me in the face, demanding to be taken care of.

See what I mean? It's not so easy living just for today. If you've noticed, every one of those questions (or worries) is about the future! If those Bible verses are to be believed and adhered to, then I am simply to do what is on my plate for today and not worry about those very real issues of tomorrow. Am I simply to ask Him to provide the ability to take the Grands out, simply ask and wait for Him to provide? What if He doesn't think it's a need? I could worry about that alone!!

Ok, if I don't try to solve them, if I trust God to work it out for me and I just walk daily as He shows me to, does this mean it will all work out? I guess this is where faith comes in. Or does it? What is God's definition of faith?

I confess for a gal who likes to take charge and solve problems, who's always had to, this is not easy. I see money going out, not enough coming in and I'm just to relax and let God work it out?

If you've been following my blog at all, you can see I have many challenges in my life right now. Loving others unconditionally, leaving God to deal with my security and not worrying about tomorrow and just basically living a life I never thought to live, a life I don't even like at times, well, these are a few of my challenges. Maybe I will like my life better once I learn to live by faith and not spend time worrying about tomorrow!!

Simplistically, I think it all comes down to, how well do we know we are loved by our Father? How well do we know the character of God, that He will do what He says He will? How much do we know we can believe and trust Him implicitly? Now that's a challenge, and a daily one at that!

Final questions: how do I live in this world where very little goes right and keep faith that God has it all worked out and I can just relax and not worry? How do I live in this world when everyone says you do it this way but deep in my heart I hear, "no, this is the better way" but looks completely out of sync with what's going on around me? I'm thinking this takes 'dancing to a different beat' to a whole 'nother level!!

Well, I never did like the dance I was on, so maybe it's time to try slow dancing and do it one day at a time.

Blessings from Journey Girl