Category Archives: A Door Ajar

Relationships are like doorways to our lives. When we close our doors fresh air, light and fresh perspectives don’t get in. Sometimes it’s best to leave the door ajar.

Reality Still

Shadow MLK
*

I’m not always the brightest bulb on the string. Sometimes I grope and grovel around to realize I must tighten my seat in the socket.

I occasionally misjudge – especially myself. Okay, I do that a lot, and can make myself fairly miserable in the process. Still working on NOT overthinking. My problem today is, again, fear – seeming like cowardice.

The latest shocker:

Meekness, non-violence is still often mistaken for weakness or cowardice. I recently confirmed this after yet another harsh self-judgement.

Digging into it I found the source of this particular fear; shame. I am sometimes ashamed for having occasionally responded to bullies and abusers ferociously.

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.“*1

Today me having to continuously confront my potential for violence may surprise some. It’s true. Preferring to avoid confrontations developed from those fears.

Constantly developing my trust in God helps me overcome that reality as I practice the way of the cross – strength through nonviolence.

Horrifying world events, and like many others, being “one paycheck away from becoming homeless,” I too could be steps away from crossing the line into madness, committing atrocities, and make deadly mistakes. Daily I must carefully consider and choose my way.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” *2

That’s my reality today. More than ever before I thank God, the Source of strength I easily take for granted.

Gandhi strong

**

I can live with appearing cowardly. Being slower than many people I admire is okay. Sure, to be a great thinker of stuff like many of my friends would be wonderful. I’m not. But I’m not alone either. God uses flawed humans, our friends, our heroes to shine into our lives. So once in a while, I have bright moments too. We are continuously faced with choices. Today I choose to make friends with my fear.

lincoln enemy friend

Practice makes perfect.

 

Reblogged (edited) from What Next 2016/07/21

*1 Romans 8:1 (NLT)

*2 Philippians 4:6,7 (NLT)

Images courtesy *FreeNeoWallpapers **Gandhi and Lincoln Images courtesy

 

 

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Squirrely

So, for the third time since fall CableCompany is telling us demon squirrels have destroyed the FIFTEEN-OR-SO-YEAR-OLD lines. Now they say they are replacing all the cables in our entire area.

Whatever.

What this means to us:

Our strongest INTERMITTENT speeds have been even less than our usual sub-standard (1.29MPS down/1.08MPS up) all week. So, I’ll be taking a long weekend to continue working my mobility and dexterity. I’m glad to realize improvement over last week. I also want to say that if I was sure 60% is God’s will I’d accept this as my new normal.

Not. Feeling. That.

I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, have a great weekend!

“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

 

Image courtesy Pinterest

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Off Day


Semi-awake for what seemed like moments, but was actually hours, something told me today was going to be different.

There was no golden light flickering from the stove, so I’d slept far later than usual. Only my body’s natural functions urging me toward the bathroom roused the slightest inclination to move.

*

I tried to think… Soon enough I had all the numbers right in my head.

The fall happened 15 days before. For several days any movement sent bolts of pain rocketing through my left arm and torso. With that I re-evaluated my priorities. For the first three days you can believe I took Flexeril morning and evening. After that I needed my brain back.

14 Days ago:

  • I wake feeling thankful that God spared me any skeletal damage.
  • AND THEN I attempt to move. BIG MISTAKE. I’m certain everything from my lips down broke. Where’d that doctor buy his credentials anyway?
  • Despite the alarming scream Cole heard from the main house (barn cats – honest), I assure him he can leave for work – I have his number and am not afraid to use it.
  • I thank God I can walk. And I’m thankful for ice packs (and did I mention Flexeril).
  • I’m very thankful for all the leftovers I routinely store in the freezer. And disposable dinnerware can be a good thing.
  • Note to self: Replenish Cole’s picnic supplies.

12 Days ago:

  • Tried to tie my long hair with one arm. There are worse things than loose hair. Everywhere.
  • Keying hurts no matter how I position the keyboard. (Note to self: Practicing Speech-to-Text will help build the S-T-T vocabulary.)

11 Days ago:

  • Thank God for automatic transmissions! Drove myself to church.
  • Note to self: Get over yourself. Allow those who offer to help me. just say thank you

10 Days ago:

  • Stitches came out of my face.
  • I dare anyone to try applying ointment and butterfly closures twice daily – with one arm blocking the mirror.
  • Makeup?  Oh, funny girl! BwaHaHaHa!

5 Days ago:

  • I daydream about cutting and donating my hair sooner than I’d planned – before the fall.

4 Days ago:

  • Almost 50% range of motion on my left arm and shoulder.
  • This helps explain why the right arm aches too.

2 Days ago:

  • My Doctor and I got to chatting and forget all about my injured left arm. Until she raises it.
  • We’re both over it now.

This morning I realized that for 15 days I kept up with my routine single-handedly taking only two extra hours per day AND I’ve expanded my Speech-To-Test lexis.

Thanks God!

Once I fully wake today I shall enjoy a special day off to simply be.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless.”

Isaiah 40:28, 29 (HCSB*)

*Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.

 

* Image (c) 2019 RapturePractice! Pub.

All other images courtesy Pixabay

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Mistaken

It’s not something I prefer to talk about, but I may have mentioned I deal with some tremendous sadness. Now and then it can seem like too much for me. Sometimes I like to say, “Hey, let’s stop the pain train.” Even when I’m trying to be funny, I’m usually serious about that.

I hate to admit it (but hey, it’s just us here), sometimes I want to just quit – though that mostly happens before coffee.

The trouble with quitting is

1. I still don’t know how, and
2. I can’t imagine explaining to God how I couldn’t trust Him any more.

My life’s main accomplishment has been to prove how easy it is to drift off-course, to lose sight of even the nearest, biggest, most important goal.

Seriously, from the time I was about three for thirty-odd years, I often felt I was a mistake.
Circumstances and developments can seem like too much, but at least now we recognize and understand PTSD.

My personal game-changer happened when I was thirty-something. I rediscovered that I love God. I’m not talking about sitting in sanctuaries where my family met every Sunday, First Friday or Holy Day, nor the beautiful buildings filled with art that I fawned over as a child. I mean I cried out to the Creator of the Universe, God. He answered me and He showed me He had never actually left me.

He stayed with me and since then God consistently proved to me that relationship with Him is the best way through this world.

Today I’m all about appreciating that God does not make mistakes. Not even the devil (evil, et. al.) was a mistake. (How else would we appreciate God’s goodness?)

More than ever before I appreciate that I’m actually co-piloting my journey. Like most everyone else I know, I will likely continue to diverge – occasionally often. Yet, I can unreservedly trust that God, my Pilot will continue to make continuous adjustments, redirecting me back to His intended route. And He does it constantly for me and innumerable other souls, all the time.

So, I can sum up my whole point today in three words:

I’m. No. Mistake.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5, 6 (NIV)

 

 

Video, Mistakes by Influence Music  

Images courtesy Pixabay

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Catch It!

I honestly could blame it on Cole – he brought it home.

I’m hyper-vigilant about protecting myself from colds and flu but this year I let my guard down.

Part of running errands for Brother last week included picking up a remedy and taking it to him on the job in town. Standing at the truck door, he popped the pills into his mouth and took a big swig from the water bottle I’d taken from his ‘fridge in the main house.

He swallowed hard, coughed, shook his head and then fussed about the water tasting awful. Saying he was being silly, I took the bottle from his hand like a bottle of tea on a hot afternoon. Then as if God hadn’t given me a lick of sense, I masterfully waterfalled a mouthful (a college-day drinking technique, pouring without a lip touching the bottle).

What a shock to instantly discover the water was effervescent!!

Once I recovered, gifted as I am, I showed him by proceeding to drink the remaining few ounces.

After Cole.

Who just took cold medicine.

Yeah, ’cause his mouth on the bottle didn’t contaminate it. I’m that smart!

 

So, with the cold now racking it’s way through my body I’ll share the remedies that usually get me right back to, well, right:

1. Salt water gargle immediately, then 2 – 3 times a day.
2. Honey for sore throat and cough.
3. Crystallized ginger snacks (or juice)
4. Elderberry syrup
5. Bee pollen
6. Steam with Eucalyptus and peppermint oils (and topical oil application)
7. Yogurt
8. Fresh Garlic-Ginger-Chicken soup (Chicken soup is not just a wives tale)
9. Epsom salt bath

And best of all, rest!

Honestly, I thank God not only that I’m strong and healthy, but for time to rest, and maybe catch up on some pleasure reading. Oh, and some extra wisdom in the future, .

Zinc up friends, ’tis the season!

“The Lord sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness.” Psalm 41:3 (NIV)

Plush bear image courtesy Needpix.com

Sneeze Face image courtesy Pixabay

Healing Garlic-Ginger-Chicken soup recipe courtesy Genius Kitchen.

Featured image courtesy image courtesy Productivetothemax.com

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Red Faced

For the first time in way too long I took a vacation.

I don’t mean a road trip on the way to my next home, a wedding or a funeral. For two years I saved for this leave. Even with the kids’ help my carefully planned time away from home included lots of air travel departing during inconvenient hours. Most important, it provided down-time with my darling offspring.

Since I would not be available to help gather the tomatoes, they had to be harvested before I left.

Seasoned travelers and most smart girls know to get together with friends the week before a vacation. Together you shop, update your wardrobe, enjoy a meal or two, and they share the little details that enhanced their recent journeys.

Instead, Izzy and I spent that time spreading tarps beneath tomato vines. Then we shook and cut the vines, loosing tomatoes. This also scattered THE DUST that collected since the sprinklers stopped rinsing everything clean daily. And then we drug and lifted the loaded tarps into wheelbarrows, stirring up the dirt that had been drying for a week.

Yeah. We know how to have a good time!

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:12 (NIV)

Despite masks and goggles, the dust set me to sneezing, with my sinuses filling and then draining profusely. My skin also itched terribly – especially the tip of my nose. The following day, my apex nasi* became tender and by the next day it was incredibly sore. *I looked it up. It’s a thing.

And did I mention RED? Not a flattering shade either.

The day before I was to depart on the next length of my travel, despite all known precautions and remedies, the redness became deep purplish-red. Yes, a painful heat radiated from above my columella. (*It’s the flesh that separates the nostrils.)

Makeup barely concealed the colors resembling orangutans backsides. What’s more, it needed touch-ups every couple of hours…

As I boarded my first flight I felt like Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer guiding the last remaining passengers onto our plane. Still, I actually appreciated people quickly averting their eyes from my bleak beak.

During the flights I imagined AlmostSixYearOld taking one look at my face and bursting into tears in fear of this unfamiliar, scary-looking person. I could well imagine EightYearOld staring in wonder or stifling giggles.

Unfair as it was, I was determined to enjoy time with my gang – and to shop around the airports between flights for a miraculous concealer, mask or perhaps a stylish niqab. As anticipation rose, I imagined the heat and pressure on my face did also.

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

To be continued…

 

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Support

Have I mentioned the frustratingly unstable internet connection here in my cottage? I often miss the good old days, hard-wiring Ethernet cables into the backs of desktop computers. They were buggers to move about, but the connection was usually dependable.

*

Annoying as the unreliable cable/WiFi repeater service here often is, I get by. I utilize my laptop, my smart phone and my tablet. By tablet I mean my old Galaxy S (ahem) 3.

When nobody else is home and the cable service isn’t down – yet again, I can also carry my laptop up to the main house and log in there. And when all else fails I can drive into town and connect at the local library, book store or coffee shops. Above and beyond security risks the latter comes with a myriad of distractions and diversions. One of the perks to being me is having nothing anyone else wants. Still, public WiFi is an absolute last-resort.

I consider myself blessed to have options.

This all brings me to another reason why I especially appreciate the blogging community. It’s another aspect of how marvelously God draws like-minded people together.

  • Like me, most of my blogger friends strive to post only seasoned, final drafts. Even so, sometimes mine have little errors. On the rare occasions I don’t catch an “oops” between scheduling and an actual posting, at least one of my fellow blogger friends (knowing I’d agonize over such a thing) will shoot a heads up my way right away. Typically mockery and witticisms ensue at both ends.
  • The same friends also realize I often comment from the aforementioned GS3 device – with not-so-nimble fingers. They kindly correct obvious keying errors before approving them (yeah, typos).
  • Then there are the ever-so-fun Speech-to-Text translations that can hijack an intended point, confusing the cleverest comment – often hilariously so. These same friends intercede as necessary.

*

So finally, my point (you’re welcome):

We all experience times when life and technology seem to get the better of us. Life itself is a learning process. In the grand scheme of things, however silly I may feel, I’m delighted to find that often I’m not the only silly soul around. I believe God orchestrates us to bring out the best in one another. This helps us get over ourselves in the kindest ways possible.

 

“Most of all, love each other steadily and unselfishly, because love makes up for many faults.” 1 Peter 4:8 (The Voice*)

 

*The Voice Bible (VOICE) Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.

*Image and Feature Image courtesy Pixabay

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Acquiesce

I was to board another plane soon. Nothing new: hurry, clear security, find the right gate, and then wait. Walk around. And wait…

With planning and foresight long journeys have never been that big a deal. But as this third departure date neared the deal felt huge. Traveling on an unforgiving budget required me rising at ungodly hours. By ungodly I mean – no matter how I tried to rest – I’d drag my exhausted self up 60 – 90 minutes after I finally drifted off to sleep.

Despite all my forethought and intentions, as desperately as I wanted restful sleep before traveling, my mind unfailingly kept me awake. The beast is simply unruly.

*

I was packed and ready to walk out the door. And yet hours after praying and retiring as I’d planned I was still awake, rehashing my mental check list:

  • Clean house.
    • Why? First thing upon returning I will clean again.
      • Wait. Did I vacuum under the bed…
  • It’s been too long since I visited the grand kids. Skype and Phone calls don’t tell all.
    • What if they don’t like their gifts?
  • What if my hand washables don’t dry in time – a first ever since the 1960’s?

This is crazy. I  MUST sleep.

  • Did I chuck perishables from my ‘fridge? I don’t want foul ‘fridge when I get back.
    • I refuse to get up and check.
  • What is that smell? Did I overlook something?
  • Crap. Did I pack the new underwear?
    • I am NOT getting up to check.
  • Did I send the final version of my last submission?
    • (Still haunted by that time I actually posted a first draft by mistake,) a panic-stricken Roo sprang from the bed, unpacked the laptop, started it up… Yes, I’d sent the “final.”
      • I repacked even better this time.

Before long I wondered if I dozed through my alarm. My phone blindingly insisted it was after midnight. Hmmm… The date was the 29th.

My flight is at oh-dark-thirty – on the 30th.

I laughed out loud. And then prayed again, “Okay Lord, the joke’s on me. Please, please take over now.”

With that amen I was sound asleep.

I awoke the next morning refreshed, energized, all packed and ready to go. After a great work out I hiked the river trail and then gathered from the garden. When it was time I went right to sleep and woke as planned.

You’d think God planned it all that way.

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time He will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:6, 7 (NLT)

 

*Image and Feature Image courtesy APSFreePic.com

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Sweet Harvest

 As the garden grows into full production we are all putting in even more hours than before. This week we not only contend with broken sprinkler pipes, (so hoses again) and weeds, but we now must harvest daily for peak ripeness and to maintain maximum production.

Comically, we all work on different schedules, so for about a week we assumed much, but none of us actually knew what the others were doing. Izzy was giving away surplus at work and the livestock was enjoying some overgrowth.

And then I slowed down one morning this week. Yeah, you’d think I’d have learned to do that more often by now…

Unbeknownst to me Izzy and Cole had been harvesting in the cool of the morning before they leave for their jobs in town – while I’m either keying away or snoozing in my cottage. An hour or so later I’ll unknowingly check the same sections of the garden and then harvest what they didn’t get to. But that particular morning when I put the house dogs back in I noticed their harvest in a crate. Doof!

All this time I was bringing the day’s collection into the fridge in my cottage thinking Izzy knows to check there every day.

Error.

Ordinarily, over the weekend and some evenings we girls touch bases or simply chat over a relaxing beverage.  I suspect their week away at the Lake put a hitch in our giddy-up so we miss a keystroke here and there.

I had to notice the crate in the main house kitchen to realize we’d do well to tweak our system again.

Done.

Eventually this scenario brought to mind one with the apostle Paul and the new believers in Corinth. First, duh – everyone was a new believer in Paul’s day. Similarly this is our first co-op garden experience. We usually talk about what we want to do next and what we’re learning from our agri-expert friends. For a few days we seemed to have dropped our communication signal.

We’re caught up from the vacation now.

“I (Some of us) planted the seed, Apollos (the rest of us) watered it (and weeded), but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”  1 Corinthinans 3:6 – 9 (NIV – added paraphrase mine 😉 )

 

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Love Long Distance

Despite the unusual few weeks leading up to this past weekend I had an exceptionally nice two days – which was welcome after a rough week.

Typical for this time of year, schedules must be juggled. Sometimes we must reschedule my “Grand Dates” (regularly scheduled time where my grand kids – all long distances away – bring me up to speed with the previous week). For the past two, maybe three weeks everyone I usually talk with at least every other week was unavailable to Skype, Duo, talk or text.

With the days getting longer and warmer I sorely missed our times together. I stayed busy with our gang, the pups, the pastures and the gardens. Still, I wondered how my grands fared without my input, encouragement and advice – or if they even missed visiting with me. I prayed long into the SansGrands silence.

On Saturday Izzy and I rescued our patio tomato plants from curling leaves, moving them to The Garden. Knowing the move wasn’t ideal timing, we assured our precious nearly orange tomato-lings to hang in there, they’ll feel far better despite the shock of moving.

Okay, so maybe my empathy wasn’t as much for our tomatoes. The day’s gardening finished, I returned to where I’d left off in my Bible:

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?” Romans 8:35 (NIV)

The relationships I share with these amazing young humans are strong and endure occasional separations – no matter how they may feel sometimes. Still, I consider how anxious I get when my time with God gets shoved down the priority ladder. I’m a grown up (mostly) and yet I feel the burn every time my prayer time is rescheduled – or dropped.

After praying again, God’s assurance that the grands shall continue feeling the love comforted me.

I was no sooner into other chores when my phone rang. A couple of hours later two sisters and I caught up with one another. Then FirstBorn called. While waiting in a backed-up toll booth line he realized how long it had been since our last talk. We mostly prattled and reminisced some as he drove from Wadsworth to Milwaukee. By my bedtime I felt far better connected than I had in weeks.

On Sunday SecondSon’s Firstborn called. He reiterated every exciting detail of the last two ball games – that sent his team to state. And his sister, FiveYearOld, could hardly wait to describe a new growing thing she discovered in astoundingly accurate detail.

Maybe it’s just me – the ways God uses the garden and my family to bless me is amazing. Though I could hardly wait between their calls, He assures me it’s all gonna be just fine.

“And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.”

1 John 2:28 (NIV)

 

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