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

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

I Shall Not Want

Do you ever think of how God provided food for the Israelites in the wilderness? They had brought as much food as they could when they left Egypt, and until it was gone, God didn't need to provide for them. But, just as soon as they ran out, God sent them manna from Heaven.

Well, there were times when my kids were younger, I wished manna would come down with the morning dew to provide for my family! Especially when I just spent hours in the grocery store trying, sometimes in vain, to pick out things I knew were good for my family, good to eat and things they liked. Next would come a half-hour in the check-out line waiting to pay for it all *sigh*

By the time the girls were in their early teens, I had developed the habit of blowing the horn as I pulled into the driveway. I was hoping the music inside the house was not too loud and they would hear and know I was home, and gratefully pour out of the house to help their weary mother, that would be me, unload the car with 'this weeks' offering.

Alas, it was usually necessary to either blow the horn with more enthusiasm, or load myself up with at least four or five bags and go to the door overburdened! This was supposed to produce enough guilt so they would unload the rest of the car. It rarely worked!

After putting the puppy in the cage, the girls would help me finish unloading the car. It usually fell to the youngest to empty the bags; on the floor, the cupboard, the table or whichever had the most available space. The rest of us would organize and put the food away.

It was a time-consuming and wearying experience and I must admit it got to me at the best of times. I remember thinking I would rather vacuum, dust and clean the bathroom twice, than do groceries just once. I also remember thinking if anyone had graciously offered to get the groceries for me, I would have humbly and gratefully accepted!

God knows I was truly grateful for the selection and amount of fresh food in the grocery store and as it took time and effort for the Isrealites to collect their manna every morning, I too had to go out and collect our food. I guess one difference for which I was and still am grateful for is I only had to go once a week . . . . and I had variety!!

A Journey Girl remembers

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What does Security mean to you?

Is it money in the bank, a house of your own, a multitude of toys? Is it having a husband/wife and children to look after and having someone looking after you? Whatever it means, it can all be taken away in a single moment in time. Think it cannot happen to you? Think of Job and I can personally think of a good many women who have had it happen to them.

It seems the topic of security is very big in my life right now. At times it threatens to overwhelm and take me down to where I see everything in light of what I 'don't have'. I hate that. I would rather learn to be content in where I am right now, but I have to confess, it's a struggle at times.

Almost every little girl grows up daydreaming of what it will be like to have her own home and family. She alone knows what it looks like, right down to the least detail. In that dream lies her idea of what she needs to meet the number one need of women the world over ~ security.

For some women the daydream takes a different bend in the road. If her childhood home was not secure, no daddy, no stability, few new clothes and living hand to mouth, her 'dream' may be to one day be independent and provide for her own security. She will depend on no one.

I'm sad to say, almost every woman I know has had her dream shattered. Some during their childhood and some after reaching for the dream and finding ashes in their hands.

Some of us thought we found the right man and worked to build the dream into reality only to find out years later the husband had different dreams and it ended. With that ended her security, or the dream of what security looked like for her.

I lived my dream for the better part of 25 years and it turned to ashes. No, it wasn't always perfect as in my childhood dream, but I worked hard to do all I knew to do.

For the past 14+ years I've been on my own. I've tried to fulfill that dream many times over and never once did it work as I hoped. What happened? I really have no idea! All the right components were there, sans husband, but it never worked out. I've written in my journal, talked a lot to God and with trusted friends, but never could I figure out why that now-seemingly illusive dream of security could not be reached.

Then I remembered a couple of Scripture verses God gave me quite a few years ago:

Isa 50:11: "But watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires. This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon lie down in torment".

Jer 2:13: "For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water".

Now, I'm no Bible scholar and I don't know what that says to you, but basically what God was saying to me was He would provide for me, that if I strive to provide for myself, it would not turn out well. Silly me, I thought this meant God would provide through my own efforts!! Sometimes He does, but this has not been what He's been doing in my life.

No, it doesn't mean I sit back and do nothing, it means doing today what He gives me to do and leaving tomorrow to Him to work out.

All along, if you asked me, I would have said I was depending on God to provide for me. After all, I've rarely been out of work, I've always had a place to live, it's just, well . . . it never worked out in that permanent, secure way of my dreams, it always failed in some way or another.

To "lie down in torment", what does that mean to you? To me it means lying down not knowing how long I will be able to live where I am or if i can pay all the bills and still eat. To lie down in torment also means living all alone, for me anyway.

I see other women with the security of investments, with good homes, secure in their marriage and family, in the homes they've built. I see women secure in their jobs, their incomes secure to provide what they need. I see all this and wonder why that security has escaped me. Certainly I am qualified enough to have a good job, I have the smarts to provide for good job security but . . . . I am beginning to believe this is not the road to security Abba has me on. I'm beginning to believe He has something different, perhaps something more for me to learn and understand about His provision and care, that perhaps there is so much 'more' than striving and fussing and worrying about my own security. Perhaps this is how I come to know His love for me; in seeing how He provides for me when I stop plotting and planning and leave it to Him to show me the what, where and when of it all.

If I look at it all honestly, I can now see it's been me all along who has tried to make that childhood dream come true and it just isn't working! I have laid down in torment for more years than I care to think. I have manipulated everything (in the nicest possible sense) and worked myself into exhaustion to provide for my own security and it's just not worth it.

So, after all these years of living alone, trying to make my own version of 'the dream' come true, I've come to the place where ~ I give up!! I have decided to live 'today' doing what I know to do and let God worry about tomorrow, it will come soon enough. Hmmm, see Matt. 6:34.

If and when God says to move, my first question will be, "where to Abba?" Then wait for His answer.

I finally 'get' that security cannot be in people or possessions or the homes we live in; they can only be found in God, in His wise provision for our lives.

So I shall endeavour to let Him provide the place for me to lie down; my home, and I will let Him be my Living Water; my provision for my daily needs.

Psalm 4:8 says, "In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for you alone O Lord make me to dwell in safely." This is my goal, to lie down and sleep in peace and live in safety.

I don't for any reason imagine it will be easy giving up my ideas, my dreams, but this I know ~ God is so much bigger, smarter, wiser than I am, so I figure He can do a better job.

Let me sum up, in all my striving and manipulating life to provide for myself, it has never worked, therefore, it is now God's turn!

The bottom line is this, I have never lived under a bridge in a cardboard box. I am secure, I am provided for and none of my efforts accomplished this. For those of you who are interested to know, I am currently living in a room with all my personal belongings in boxes in storage. I don't have my own living room, my own kitchen or utensils or my own bathroom. But, I am not living alone and neither do I lie down in torment!

And . . . . I am still not living under a bridge in a cardboard box.

Blessings from a Girl on a Journey, a whole new journey.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Joy of having Girlfriends

Lately I've been pondering the rich relationships that are uniquely forged between girls.

I've heard about 'girlfriend power' and slowly I'm beginning to understand the value of having such relationships. They are completely different than being friends with men; honestly the two can hardly be compared! Now I totally acknowledge the need for healthy male friendships and they have a purpose and a place in our lives. When you find one of value, your life is truly enriched. But, it's the depth and richness of my girlfriends that keeps me going when all else fails and they play a role no man can play.

I just got off the phone with a very lovely and very dear friend of mine. It was both refreshing and deeply satisfying. We consider ourselves to be 'like-minded' and kindred souls, so it makes no difference at all that she is in fact 34 years younger than me. The depth of sharing we enjoy comes from the heart, not from age or experience.

The thing I've begun to appreciate about such friends is . . . it really doesn't make any difference the age gap as the friendships transcend the superficiality of age and gets down to the nitty-gritty of what real life and real community with others is all about.

How rich am I to have such a young friend who keeps me young and who is as enthusiastic about life as I am.

How rich am I to have friends around my age who 'get' who I am.

How rich am I to have friends who share similar life experiences, and they of an assortment of ages. We understand each other as no one else can.

How rich am I to have friends who are older and more experienced and can teach me from their vast experiences!

Over the past 10 years I've discovered the depths a friendship can go to and yet, of the handful of women I count as friends, one is in her early 20's, the other just into her 40's and only a couple in their 50's like me. Recently I've been blessed by being reunited with a girlfriend who is in her 60's. It truly is from the heart that such connections are made and the only thing I am missing are women friends in their 70's, 80's or beyond!!

Only one other thing that adds to this mix of friendships is building friendships with my daughters and granddaughters, but all of my friendships are an on-going and ever-involving journey.

I hope your journey is blessed with the loveliest of all friendships, GIRLFRIENDS!
Girl on a Journey of . . . . friendships

Monday, July 12, 2010

Procrastination *sigh*

This has been bothering me for a few days now, so I looked it up and this is what it means:

1. to defer action, delay: to procrastinate until an opportunity is lost.

2. to put off till another day, time; defer; delay.

Well, as seen by definition, that is exactly what I am doing today.

Usually it isn't a big problem for me. I'm usually a 'get-at-it-and-gitter-done' kind of girl, but I've taken on a project that has me a bit bogged down and discovered, as I face the beginning of it each day, I can find a dozen other things I'd rather do, including writing about procrastination!

I wonder what our earth and all its creatures would look like if God procrastinated when He created it all.

Would there be parts of the world that didn't grow any vegetation because God was daydreaming how He was going to create the next thing on His list?

Would some animals have parts missing or not function properly because it wasn't finished in the exact timing because God got bored and went for a walk??

Would there be certain stars or planets that didn't spin in timely fashion and would our earth spin on it's axis as it's supposed to in order to sustain life?

The slightest hesitation on God's part could have had very far-reaching consequences for us all. Thank God He got it done and done right!!

Certainly my procrastination is not life threatening nor will it affect anyone's life but my own, but it does cause me to think about the whole concept . . . .

What if a bank teller procrastinated each morning when she was to open her till?
Most assuredly, the line-up of people would be inconvenienced leading to their frustration and she could end up losing her job.

What if a traffic cop daydreamed about better things to come as he enjoyed a coffee and donut, thus making everyone wait or causing traffic chaos while he put off the job he was to be doing?

I know I need to just get it done also. I know I'll be happy when I've put in a good days work on my project. I know I'll be glad when it's finished and I'll have that sense of well-being I get when I've done my best.

I also know it takes more energy procrastinating, thinking about starting it than actually working on it will . . . . . if only it didn't take me so long to just get at it ~ I'd probably be done now!!

Ok, ok . . . . I'm going to stop writing this and just begin . . . . .

Blessings as you walk along your own journey today ~ Girl on a Journey