My musings, my rambles and I welcome you.
LIVE WITH INTENTION.
WALK TO THE EDGE.
CHOOSE WITH NO REGRETS..
DANCE IN THE LIGHT
APPRECIATE MY FAMILY & FRIENDS.
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26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
The Advent Adventure for 2011 is entitled “How Far to Bethlehem?” It is being approached a spiritual journey. And as in any journey, preparation is the key. What do I need for an actual trip to the Holy Lands? I need a passport, luggage, money. I need to check to see if I need to update my immunizations. I need to make arrangements for my house, my job, my dog. And those are the preps just the ones off the top of my head. I’m sure there are a thousand and one other details that need to be woven into the itinerary so that the journey is safe and successful.
What do I need to prepare for a successful spiritual journey? I need a planned study hence the Advent Adventure. I don’t do well without some kind of structure and accountability. A quiet and uncluttered space makes it easier to focus on the spiritual rather than the “I gotta get it done now.” A block of time set aside just for the study is a must. Finally, I need the ‘WANT TO’. Even if I have everything else, if I don’t have the ‘WANT To’ to be doing the journey, it makes for a miserable and unsuccessful trip.
Preparation and patience: I think those might be God’s middle names. He waited 400 years to speak from Malachi to Matthew and/or Luke. The world turned into the Roman Empire during those 400 years. An empire whether they knew or not would assist God in fulfilling prophecy. He waited for a “good man” like Joseph to care for His Son. He waited for a girl like Mary to be the Mom. All conditions were perfect when the Angel made his amazing announcement.
Speaking of patience, God seems to like to do the Texas two-step with us in our spiritual walk. You know one step forward two steps back. It doesn’t seem like you can get very far do a walk like that but sometimes a step or two is necessary and strengthening. Sometimes a step back will take you in a different direction, get your attention or just get you to regroup.
“In the sixth month…”
To answer Bud’s question, I always thought it meant Elizabeth’s 6th month of pregnancy. I always took an earthy and more mundane view of that timeline. I figured that God wanted Jesus and John (his cousin) to be close in age. As they grew up, the cousins would see each other at least yearly for the feast days. They could play together, talk things over and be boys who both had a powerful call on their lives. When Jesus was twelve and lost for three days, he was found in the temple among the teachers. I always wondered what John was doing. Surely Jesus stayed with his aunt and uncle until his parents came for him. Well maybe thirteen year old boys don’t talk to twelve year old boys especially ones geeky enough to be talking with teachers.
But all of this shows God’s preparation and planning.
I have been wondering recently where is that sweet young Christian woman that I used to be. She would do almost anything God asked her to do. I’d like to think that I am older and wiser but that’s not true. I am more cautious, more anxious less trusting than I used to be. I think one of the reasons for this is that I am less prepared for the spiritual life than ever. I would never leave on trip without luggage. Why am I not carrying my spiritual tools? Because the spiritual life takes time, energy and attention. These things have been in short supply in recent years so my tool belt is empty.
So please saddle up and join me to journey to Bethlehem
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Now all of this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the Prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."
I am going to be doing the Annual Advent Adventure so the blog is about to get spiritual and personal. I need this right now as a have wandered around, walked close to but not on the path God has laid out for me. Or at least the path I think He has chosen for me. I need some clarity and I hope by heading to Bethlehem, I will find it.
The first verse to contemplate is from Matthew 1 21:23.
These verses don’t really mean a whole lot to me. And before you gasp in surprise and call me callous, I was raised Catholic. Every Christmas, these verses were pounded into us as well as anytime were to be reminded that we humans were born of sin and Jesus was not. And I do not mean this in an envious or bitter way, but as “You are scum and God had to dirty His hands to save you.” I see now those sermons and lessons were not to be taken in such a way but as a child that’s how I heard them.
However, when Bud mentioned that there was an interesting story connected to the promise, I went looking for it. It’s in Isaiah Chapter 7.
King Ahaz and his people of Judah were frightened because the king of Israel and the king and the Aram were getting ready for war. God tells Ahaz not to be afraid but to ask for a sign. Dumbfounded, Ahaz refuses.
I understand Ahaz. God wants to talk to me? To test Him? This could be very good or very bad. What do I do?
Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you[c] a sign: The virgin[d] will conceive and give birth to a son, and[e] will call him Immanuel.[f] 15 He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, 16 for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. 17 The LORD will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria.”
So God chose for the king and Judah. He makes a promise that cannot help Ahaz even if it were to fulfilled right that very minute. God basically says “Since you didn’t ask, I’ll give you want you need instead of what you want.”
Jesus was coming. God had promised Adam and Eve at the fall. The promise would have been given of the birth of Christ. It’s just so typical so human that what we need has to be wrestled out of us.
I am so there. I am going to wrestle with myself and find out what I need and earnestly ask for it from God. For Christmas this year, I want clarity, the will to accept what I see and the WANT TO to do it.
|She went to bed after him. A million things on her mind, she found she couldn’t focus on the bodice ripper she had picked up at the supermarket. An exhausted sleep finally overtook her.
Surprised to be waking as she felt she had never been asleep, a warm touch caressed her shoulder. The caress stopped when she shifted a little and then continued down her spine sensuously. When it reached her buttocks, two hands began kneading. She stifled a groan.
“What the f%$&?” she murmured.
“No, that is what I want to do to you,” he said at his most persuasive.
“I was sleeping dammit,”
“I thought you wanted me to be more spontaneous? You know, like those books you read.”
“Not in the middle of the night!”
Fuming, she turned away stealing the covers. He laid there confused at what just happened. But both of them were thinking the same thing: romance novels lie.
|“The water is here.”
“The water is rising.”
“It’s okay. I can handle it.”
“Child, the water….”
“I KNOW! I CAN HANDLE IT! See, the shore is right there.”
“What happened? The water is over my head! How will I…”
“Child, how long will you drown in you own pride?”
|A friend told me that she wrote a letter to sugar, breaking up with it and it helped her emotionally. She had her own word picture. So if you will indulge me, this is my break up phone call with a drinking buddy
Hey you. I’ve been meaning to talk to you. First I want to say, “Thanks.” You’ve been there for me. Through thick and thin, highs and lows, I could always count on you. I have to admit though it’s not been good between us recently. Hangovers, highs, lows with the occasional splat to bottom, those I could handle. Hell, it’s all I’ve ever known. But this weight I’ve put on recently is all you. It is the ultimate betrayal. You were suppose to comfort me not add to my stress. It’s like I never knew you or rather my eyes are finally opened.
Stay away from me. I will not listen to your acid lies or taste your sweetness.
No, I don’t remember when we met. I do remember my mother complaining that you were cheaper than milk at the corner grocery. Imagine choosing you over milk because pennies mattered for us.
I have to say you helped me through a rough childhood. Middle school taunts bounced off the flab you helped me keep. Your sweetness eased pain, softened memories and dulled responses.
High school *sigh*. No, you didn’t help me loose weight. No, you didn’t. I was working almost full time. There was no time to eat. So it was by default.
College, nursing school and years of night shift. I don’t think I would have survived all of that without you and your friends Mountain Dew and southern Sweet Tea. All night study sessions, finals, working, the 4 a.m. droop just before the big 5 a.m. push for morning care would have been much harder to overcome without you. Thanks.
Then we had our first break-up. Who knew caffeine leached iron? I spent a year in doctor offices. You and your friends caused an anemia so bad that I had to send you away. This was the first betrayal and I should have learned from it.
You stayed away seven years. How did you sneak back? Oh yeah, ADD. I had a class and couldn’t focus. I felt so out of control until you brought me back to my center. Your cleverness saved the day. And I thought I could handle you. That you would not breach my defenses and get out of hand again but we both know how this ends.
We’ve had many break-ups since then but you always sneak back. Or rather I let you back. I think this is because I had not found an ADD medicine that worked for me. Caffeine works pretty well so I let you stay. This new med I’m on is working so I don’t need that part of you. In fact you’re not playing well with the med. Heart palpations are not fun. It’s time for goodbye.
Because of your sweetness, I crawled into your bottle like a drunk on a binge. I wrapped myself in your sticky tastiness, the first half of this year, hoping for relief from the pain of grief. I finally freed myself a few weeks ago. As I look around, I see that my grief is still there to work through and I have 50 extra pounds to shed.
So this is good-bye. I don’t need you. Your comfort is false and costly.
I'm happy to report since my *breakup* I have lost 10 pounds and have not touched a drop of Cocoa-Cola in 40 days. Hi my name is Lani and I am a Coca-Colaholic.
|Everybody knows if you are too careful you are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something.
- Gertrude Stein
Gertrude Stein’s quote definitely applies to ADDers and serial killers. As I am not a serial killer, here is what it is like to have Attention Deficient Disorder in case you are wondering.
“Don’t do anything stupid. Don’t do anything stupid,” I muttered to myself. It was one in the morning and a cop in his patrol car sat opposite of me. The traffic light remained red as I continued to pray and wish otherwise. As a new driver and the grand old age of 18, I didn’t want to be caught making any rookie mistakes. My father and brother had filled my head with stories of what cops did with lone female drivers. I certainly didn’t want to get groped or worse or perhaps thrown into a cell with a tough woman named Butch. More seriously, I didn’t want to get a ticket and have to explain it to my dad.
All of this was flowing through my head and I was still chanting my manta when, to my horror, I found myself making a left turn on red. I couldn’t believe it. What possessed me?
Blue lights flashed into my rear view mirror. I sunk into my seat even as I looked for my insurance card and driver’s license.
“Ma’am, did you see that the light was red?” asked the officer.
This is the only time an 18 year old will ever be called, “Ma’am”.
“I’m sorry sir. I thought it was green.”
The cop looked at me long and hard. The sweat on the back of my neck turned cold. Finally he sighed and said, “I’m letting you off with a warning but,” and here his voice turned hard, “pay better attention. Good thing it’s so late or you could’ve killed someone or yourself.”
The breath I was holding escaped with a long sigh as I drove away. I’m not sure why the cop let me off with a warning. Maybe because he didn’t find any evidence of alcohol or drugs. It was 1 a.m. Maybe he didn’t want to be bothered. I dunno, but I am grateful.
And ADD sucks. I was paying attention. Almost too much attention if you ask Ms. Stein.
There is an old saying or proverb that says “God looks after children, old folks and fools.” I’m pretty sure I was somewhere between childish and foolish that night. Thanks God.
|I wrote this list in October and posted on my Weight Watchers Blog. I thought it would help me focus on the goal. I thought it would help to keep the prize in sight. At least that is what the book I was reading told me. After I posted the list, I didn’t go back to the blog or to WW. I couldn’t focus on anything, not the book or weight loss. That damn list crushed me with Expectations. I set myself up for another failure. Again. I have a hundred reasons for not losing weight; in November I got sick with my asthma, in December Christmas and in January well, grief and stress make for a bad time to start something…and on and on. I can’t do this anymore. How many times have I said that to myself and yet still cannot fight my food addiction. I dunno what do next except maybe burn all my diet books. That would make quite a bonfire if it weren’t illegal. It really is one day at a time. No more lists or promises that’s a….never mind. Pass the carrot sticks.
Reasons I Want to Lose Weight
1. I don’t want to be ruled by food anymore.
2. I don’t want to be embarrassed by my size anymore.
3. I want to travel comfortably again especially on airplanes.
4. I’ll look better.
5. I’ll be able to wear more stylish clothes.
6. I’ll be able to wear a smaller size.
7. I’ll be happier looking in the mirror.
8. I’ll be able to shop in a normal store for clothes.
9. I won’t feel so self-conscious.
10. I’ll be able to exercise without discomfort.
11. I’ll feel better.
12. I’ll be more physically fit
13. I’ll have more energy.
14. I’ll enjoy sex more.
15. I’ll want more sex.
16. I’ll be in more control
17. I’ll feel I’ve accomplished something important.
18. I’ll do more things like go to the beach or hiking
19. I won’t mind eating in front of others.
20. I’ll have more confidence.
21. My feet won’t hurt so much.
|In the shadow
of my Lord,
the shade is
Away from the
denial and lies
Just something I'm working on. It's not quite right. Comments welcome
|Prompt: Running toward her, scooping her up in his arms, he held on until the last goodbye.
Tears, more tears than he thought possible ran down her face.
It wasn’t forever for god’s sake. Just a year, but who knew these days…Jesus he hated these goodbyes. It was his job. He couldn’t change things even if he wanted to. He belonged to the U.S. Navy body and soul. Not his heart though. That was hers.
She was quieter now.
“I’m so sorry. You’ll be late,” she said.
“That’s okay. They have to wait for me.”
“Yes, I suppose they do, Commander.” She smiled a little sadly now. “You’d think after all these years it would be easier.” She wiped the last of the tears away so she could look at his face, memorize his smile, and remember their love.
“Well, at least I know you care,” he replied with a smile.
She lightly punched his chest and took a step back.
“Go on then, you big lug. And come back safely to me.”
|I’d like to say that I have never played out this scene with my mom, but it wouldn’t be true. I will say I have never seen her toss her hair in a Mrs. Brady way or stop at a single word when making a point. Mother passed away last month. When I have sifted through the regrets, confusion and emotions, I will write something better for her. Right now the wound is too raw.
You stood there,
at the top of the stairs
and with a toss of your hair
as you destroyed my world
with a single word.
Said with a mixture of
firmness and exasperation
arms folded across your chest,
you said it again.
With kindness now
as if you could see the damage
you had done
you’ve destroyed my life!”