Weakness

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

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The Chief

More sad news yesterday. A family friend passed away. Garf, as he was known, was quite a character, and hadn’t been in great health for some time now, so it wasn’t a tremendous surprise, but still sad.

There will be no service for Garf, although family and friends may gather to share stories about him, which is probably the best way to memorialize him. I’m sure I’ve only heard some of the stories there are about him, like when he would take his glass eye out and drop it in someone’s beer, just to see their reaction. Garf was a hard man, and didn’t care much for women in general. He had many names for them, most of them not very nice, but he always called me, “kid” (I’ve known him since I was basically a kid… his twin nephews and I played in a band together when I was in high school). I guess it was a term of endearment, I believe, and he hugged me every time he saw me, so for some reason, he liked me.

I have one eerie story about Garf that I will share here, although I don’t think i would share it at a gathering. To be honest it still freaks me out a bit. Shortly after we were married, in the summer of 1995, my husband and I were at our friends’ house (Garfs’ nephews), late at night, having a few beers by the fire pit. The mood was melancholy, and I don’t remember how the conversation started, but somehow, we got to talking about Garf being a fire-fighter, and even the chief of police for one of the departments in the town in which I grew up. I mentioned to him that my brother died in a fire when he was a child, and instantly his mood became very somber. He choked up and he asked me when my brother died, and a few other circumstances about the fire and about where my house was. I’ll never forget the look on his face when, choking back tears, he said, “I was there.”

“Boy, I will tell you what,” he said. “A fire fighter never forgets a death, especially of a little child. Every one of us fighting that fire was torn up over that. Never the same after.”

My brother was just 3 years old in 1968 when he managed to get a hold of a gas can from the garage, and began pouring it into his toy riding car. Mom was running toward him as the fumes ignited. She used her bare hands to try to put the fire out. She was burned over 60% of her body and spent months in the hospital. David died. Mom wasn’t able to attend his funeral because she was in the hospital.

David died before I was born, but my mom shared memories of him with us from the time I can remember. I had a tremendous sense of loss and, although I had never met him, I always wished for an older brother.

I didn’t know what to say to Garf after we had the the realization that he fought the fire which claimed my brother and scarred my mother for life. I never told my mom about the incident. I saw a more tender side of Garf that night; a side that probably most people never saw. I am saddened by his death, and will always be grateful for his service to the local community and to my family. May he Rest In Peace.

Somberly blessed,

SB

Coffee, Tea, and Thee

I can drink coffee like the best of them and fall right to sleep. Except tonight. For some reason, tonight my mind refuses to rest, my thoughts bouncing around in my brain, ricocheting like pinballs from one random thought to the next. I toss and turn in bed, destroying and semblance of order in the covers, leaving socks and other clothes lying about, frustrated with myself that I can’t sleep. I know it won’t be long before my beloved canine wants to go outside, at which time I will likely retreat to my family room couch.

My mind quickly churns through the weeks events, replaying conversations in my mind, revisiting upcoming plans and schedules, anxious for things left undone.

Chamomile tea calms me and brings my thoughts into focus and I open my Bible ap to Psalms and begin to read

PSALM 20[r] For the director of music. A psalm of David. 1May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.2May he send you help from the sanctuaryand grant you support from Zion.3May he remember all your sacrificesand accept your burnt offerings.[s]4May he give you the desire of your heartand make all your plans succeed.5May we shout for joy over your victoryand lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests. 6Now this I know:The Lord gives victory to his anointed.He answers him from his heavenly sanctuarywith the victorious power of his right hand.7Some trust in chariots and some in horses,but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.8They are brought to their knees and fall,but we rise up and stand firm.9Lord, give victory to the king!Answer us when we call!

Am I His anointed? How do I know?

I realize I haven’t talked with God much this week. So it’s time to rest in His embrace and tell Him all the things on my mind, my work, my friends, my family, people’s health and well-being… yes, of course I am His. He didn’t go anywhere. I did.

Love You, my Father. Bring me back and help me to focus on you.

My hearts desire is truly that all know Him fully and my life plans are His to make.

In Him,

SB

Copyright Journey For Life 2019. All rights reserved

Don’t Cry Outloud

I was a kid when this song first came out. I remember learning to play it on the piano.  It evoked so much emotion and passion from me that I would literally make myself cry as I played it.  Shy and introverted, but with passion and creativity to paint the world a better place, my quiet mind imagined all sorts of scenarios and basked in deep emotions.  I grew up with a very stoic Irish mother, who let only a single tear fall as she broke the news to my eight year old self the morning my father passed. She was strong, and held herself together with dignity after his death.  As I got older and focused more on my schooling and career, my passionate, creative, feeling side took a back seat to my Type A personality.  Over the past few years, I’ve been trying to reconnect with my passions and creativity.  I recently rediscovered this song  and the words of this song became my lifeblood.   Baby is an awful lot like me…

Don’t Cry Outloud

Baby cried the day the circus came to town
’cause she didn’t want parades just passin’ by her.
So she painted on a smile and took up with some clown,
While she danced without a net upon the wire.
I know a lot about her, cause you see,
Baby is an awful lot like me.

Don’t cry out loud.
Just keep it inside, and learn how to hide your feelings.
Fly high and proud,
And if you should fall, remember you almost had it all.

Baby saw that when they pulled that big top down,
They left behind her dreams among the litter.
The different kind of love she thought she’d found,
There was nothing left but sawdust and some glitter.
But baby can’t be broken ’cause you see,
She had the finest teacher — that was me.

I told her,
Don’t cry out loud.
Just keep it inside and learn how to hide your feelings.
Fly high and proud,
And if you should fall, remember you almost had it all.

Don’t cry out loud.
Just keep it inside and learn how to hide your feelings.
Fly high and proud,
And if you should fall, remember you almost had it all.

Lyrics by Peter Allen, Carole Bayer Sager

Copyright © Woolnough Music Inc., Irving Music Inc., Begonia Melodies Inc.

Always Never Changing

On Sunday afternoon, we spent hours simply relaxing and watching the waves crash on the sandy beach from the giant picture windows of our beach house in Virginia. Over and over again, the waves would crest then crash, spilling water onto the sandy beach, and then flow back into the ocean. Seagulls combed the shallow waters looking for meals, and occasionally, in the distance, we’d see porpoises make their loops out of the water and back in again. Never ending, yet always changing. morning, noon and night. Each and every wave is different yet the same. The ocean never sleeps and the waves never cease. The monotony of this cycle comforts me, yet its similarities to life challenge me.

Do we sometimes settle in to monotonous routines, getting comfortable with the cycles of our lives? The comfort routine of breakfast before school or work, the meetings, the extra curricular activities that fill our time, the friends we’ve had for years, etc. etc. Until one day, when the world changes around us, like a hurricane disrupting the routine of the sea, and we are forced out of our comfort zone, into new challenges and routines.

The death of a spouse or friend, a health issue, the loss of a job, a new relationship, a promotion, changes, both good and bad ones, can really shake us up. Perhaps we had settled too long, and forgotten how to adapt to our ever changing world. Perhaps we’re afraid of failing in our new uncertain roles.

In a recent conversation with a friend experiencing some significant changes i their lives, they said, “I just want my life back”. While I sympathize, I also realize that, for that person, their life may not every be back to what they once knew. They will, eventually, settle into a new routine, a new norm, a new rhythm, before their world is eventually changed again by something else.

Be comforted in knowing change is inevitable, but that you can handle it. Like the storms that pummel the beach, change will come and shape us more and more. Embrace the change, knowing you will emerge with new comforts and new routines, developing you for what you need to be.

Be blessed today, my friends!

Blue Horizon

This weekend we spent in Virginia Beach in a gorgeous beach house named “Blue Horizon” celebrating the marriage of a family member. Aptly named, for the horizon of the new union stretches far in front of the nuptial couple, a blend of both blue and gray hues, some clouds and some storms, in the vast expanse of sky that stretches before them, like a canvas waiting to be painted.

As I write, I am sitting in front of a bank of windows, staring out at the Atlantic Ocean, mesmerized by the never ending crash of the waves. Even in the brisk temperatures of the February air, the calming effect of the gray-blue waves and white caps soothes my soul. This moving painting never gets old; I’d be content to be here forever, giving my heart and soul to the sea.

We have enjoyed our time with family and new friends, celebrating and enjoying one another’s company.

The evening was filled with special moments, funny moments, tremendous laughter and much love 💕

Tomorrow, it’s back to reality for us; the hustle and bustle of conference calls, even as we return home, followed by a week of meeting planned, after school activities, evening lessons, etc.

Back to reality for the newlyweds as well. Both the bride and groom have been previously married, and bring children into the union, and so far, family blending has gone well. As anyone married for more than a month knows, though, life is hard. Our thoughts and prayers are with Hannah and Michael as they navigate these waters.

Best wishes, Hannah and Michael. We’re thrilled for you!

The horizon is blue

SB