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.

Not Yet

I’ve been out of state and mostly out of touch for several weeks. I participated in a mission of mercy.

Upon my return an over-sized envelope, mailed to me by a close relative, stunned me. Two paragraphs detailed how the person does not “want to associate” with me anymore because, in that person’s opinion, me participating in that undertaking was “wrong”.

A long, long time ago I would have agreed.

Back then the person I had just paused my life to minister to had broken my heart, violated my family and then did everything possible to destroy me. For years afterward, staying close to my sons often took all I had.

 

But here’s the thing:

I didn’t mend my broken heart. I didn’t restore my demolished spirit. I didn’t drive away the demons or recover my life. Nor did my family.

Jesus saved me.

And then Jesus saved the same person who hurt my family and tried to ruin me.

What’s more, Jesus wants to save the person that now hates what I most recently did in His name.

“…And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on [Jesus]. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives along with the command, the love itself.”
― Corrie Ten Boom, The Hiding Place

I understand. If I allow myself I can still feel all the pain. Again and again I prefer to feel how Love wins.

Despite being rejected by a loved one, given the chance to redo the past month, I would do it again.

Had I realized the relative was still bound in the past I would not have mentioned I was away or why.

Not yet.

 

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Colossians 3:13 (NIV)

Images courtesy ABSFreePic.com

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BoldFinger

If you’ve been following What Next you are aware I’m laboring under some exceptional technical difficulties.

1) I’m awaiting parts for my four-year-old notebook which torments me by flashing like a slow-mo strobe in a discotheque (Gen X’ers, Gen Y’ers and Millennials click here).

2) In the meantime I try to keep abreast of the Blogging Community and Facebook via my not-so-trusty old (retired) cell phone.

What this means to you:

Typos. Many of them.

Commenting on the plethora of captivating posts by even more phenomenal bloggers from my phone is always exciting. Not only do my fingers fluctuate between bold, beautiful and entirely inept on the nanosized keypad, but it can randomly choose to further humiliate me by posting without warning – sans proofing, etc. Annnd lost signals. That’s always fun.

While this experience could be incredibly frustrating, I admit it’s actually become a source of amusement. I remind myself frequently how gracious this amazing blogging community is, in between praying for my new friend with mad hardware skills. Through it all I’m actually happy with the progress on my chapters lately on the very, very old Windows 7 laptop.

It’s good to slow down sometimes. Random House, get ready.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:6, 7 (NIV)

 

 

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Ladder-tude Adjustment

Despite my best Damage Control efforts, stuff wears out and breaks. Including me.

To avoid any further injury, I’d been mostly indoors, reading/studying in new spots around the cottage. One week I’d been admiring the collection of burl carvings that hang a good 12 feet up on the kitchen side of the loft wall.

Okay, not exactly admiring.

Morning light was illumining THE CRUD gathering on the carvings, the wall and the ceiling fan. Naturally I’d been obsessing over the layers of soot, dust, cobwebs and who-knows-what accumulated on the art and the portion of the wall. Forget dust bunnies, we’re talking gape-mouthed gargoyles.

For me this far exceeded water torture. I won’t bore you with the list of friends who insisted I not clean the heirloom masterpieces myself, but to wait till they could help me.

That. Never. Happened.

Initially I was very okay with the sensible suggestion. Unlike in my younger years (when I bounced quite admirably), I’ve developed a healthy respect of heights. I am now fearful cautious to avoid falls or other miscellaneous injuries at all due cost.

So, several times this week I literally prayed for somebody to pop by with a ten-foot ladder and nothing better to do than help me banish the unruly gray fuzziness hanging over my head. It didn’t happen then either.

Once convinced the dust wasn’t moving any time soon, I returned to the day’s Bible reading.

Hmmm… Numbers 13 took me to Israel at the outskirts of Canaan. Most of the scouts said the valley was indeed great, but they seemed like grasshoppers to the giant people there who would surely destroy them. But Joshua and Caleb urged them to take the Promised Land as God told them to do.*

Trust God. Hmmm… I needed to stop being a ‘fraidy cat.

I wrapped up my Bible time thanking God for the journey that brought me here and I thought about the different challenges along the way.

At no point had God NOT provided for me. During the journey here He led me to take on situations and circumstances I hadn’t before imagined. And here I sit, bothered by dust because I’m reluctant to tackle heights.

Hearing no objection from heaven, I drug a ladder from the barn. That took ten minutes.

Going up and down the rungs was not as easy as I remember. I’m sure initially my shaky legs made the ups and downs of it all far more dramatic. Even so, several hours, entirely unharmed or otherwise marked, and a good, slow workout later, I felt not only empowered, but redeemed. I’d evicted every semblance of the dust dragons.

Disclaimer: No carving or other art was harmed in the making of this story.

“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.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

*Numbers 13:16 – 14:38

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Devices

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Philippians 4:19, 20 (NIV)

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Proof

Just about the time I wondered if I could stand any more snow and ice the sun came out. Annnd now we have mud. Rather than cave to the despondency of a sad anniversary, I began my spring cleaning with my cyber space.

Essentially I cut and pasted my way through years of Facebook photos, notes and posts. The jury’s still out as to whether it was time well spent (since I haven’t gotten to WordPress yet), but I have indeed laughed.

From a Facebook meme:

I’m relieved to see I’m not the only one that forgets to proof before posting.

Have a great week!

“We all stumble in many ways…”

James 3:2 (NIV)

Featured Image courtesy Productivetothemax.com

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Hit the Brakes

Is it just me or the is it the world around me?

This week we have some major factors working against one another:

  • Time change – do NOT get me started on how ridiculous it is to continue this practice.
  • Files disappear and then reappear again
  • I gave up coffee – Patricia, you’d be proud of me.
  • The back castors fell off my mobile, stand-up work station – they simply fell off within 24 hours of one another. Enter now the 2nd week of dialogue with Houzz customer service reps.
  • Intermittently soggy socks now bring to our attention the fact that last summer’s repair work hasn’t entirely prevented melting snow from trickling across my kitchen and bathroom floors

And finally, with spring 8 (count them, eight) days away,

  • We have an ice storm, followed by even more snow.

Yes folks, Snowmaggedon 2019 Hoodies are selling like hotcakes at Amazon.

So, finally finished dealing with customer service reps while stepping around my desk, I realized I had skipped right over my quiet time with God – a huge faux pas. This practice reminds me I’m not God – we know this because for years I tried to be God, only to prove I suck at it. That valuable life lesson cost me some twenty years of my youth, so I’m shocked when I slip back there again.

So, late into this morning I was feeling a little frustrated, isolated and, I admit, slightly neglected when not one response to this morning’s post appeared anywhere.

I grabbed the only cell device that was not charging and saw I hadn’t received the notification advising me about my most recent scheduled post…

This, friends, is why paper calendars can be problematic. Our phone calendars simply do not mislead us. At that point I was shamefully near panic mode, sprinting around the cottage in search of a pair of good glasses. Passing a mirror I realized I really must stop.

Just stop.

“I said, ‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.*”

Yep. I’d scheduled today’s post for tomorrow. What would have been today’s post is now rescheduled. So now I’m going to go make a snow angel. Or maybe something else that doesn’t require keying or more puddles.

The entirely silly point to sharing all this:

My life is good. I can slow down or stop without fear of hurting or harming anyone. And the world will keep going. God has this, so I needn’t try to control it. My loved ones are all well, I have food, a warm home, a car… I’m breathing deeply.

Peace, my friends!

*Isaiah 41:9(b)-10 (NIV)

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A Revised Beaten Path

Updated from 2015:

walk

Despite my rebellious nature, I’ve become a slave to routine. Where my young, healthy body once took life as it happened, I now must deliberately prepare myself for each day. This takes me considerably longer now than ever before, even longer than when I had my four young boys in tow.

With the aging process grinding away on my physical self, my routine somehow became unforgiving and unappreciative of my mental self. One little skip can result in an almost immediate blunder, frustration and sometimes bruises.

The new routine is grudgingly predictable:

1. Wake up – This can take a while.
1.1. Take a thorough inventory of every joint and vertebra, then gently move them.
1.2. Be sure my brain is also awake enough to rise without injuring myself or others while getting to the bathroom and then the kitchen. Prayer typically comes into play here.

Note: I’ve come to accept (not like) the sometimes intimidating, frightening, occasionally surprising, (and embarrassing when involving witnesses,) waking process. I often inadvertently successfully integrate other tasks – mostly for fun. I.e. Prayer while in bathroom. Shame or pride? Omniscient. Omnipresent. Look them up.

2. Clean soot from floor and counters. Wood stove heat. Enough said?
3. Water and coffee (slamming sixteen ounces of water before coffee seems cruel, but empirically it’s a good practice).
3.1. I like Krups (yeah, when affordable).
3.1.1. Who are we kidding? Refillable K cups require forethought and more motion. Default to Mr. Coffee pot and microwave to reheat.

4. Bathroom time. Again, this could take a while.
4.1. Contemplate actual need for visible eyebrows.

5. Fuel – The most forgiving point, interchangeable with items 4 – 4.1. Rather than burn muscle on my power walk, I must force down food and supplements.
5.1. Disregard notion about forgiving. Do not forget fuel. (Um, I’m Out of Gas – Again story (c) 1995).

6. Stretching – With bursitis, tendinitis and joint pain I’ve learned to not minimize the importance of stretching or give into temptations to “stretch as I go”.
6.1. There are better ways to meet the neighbors than screaming, “Call 9-1-1,” from the ground.

7. Sun block. Should have learned about skin cancer attending grade school in central Arizona.
7.1. By this point the searing sun will be above the tree line. Surgical excisions are costly. Do not trifle with this.

8. Lace up, walk toward door.
8.1. Yes, you turned off the lights. If you left the coffee pot on, you need another one anyway.
8.2. Everything else can wait an hour, continue walking through the door.
8.3. Just walk away.

9. Incorporate socializing and checking on family while warming up (before heavy breathing begins).
9.1. Offspring and siblings sufficiently annoyed. Now punch it, Chewie.

10. Shower, deodorant, lotion, dress, then get to work.
10.1. I work at home, clothes are optional.
10.1.2. Gravity is rude. Forget 10.1.

All of this reaffirms my philosophy: Relax and enjoy the ride, no one gets out alive.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”

2 Corinthians 4:16 (NKJV)

Go Readers. Redefine life along the way.

 

Featured image courtesy Pixabay

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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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