Tag Archives: confidence

Intermittent

With exceptional ISP challenges continuing to frustrate folks almost as much as the Presidential Alert trickle down this week, I’m spending extra time helping with seasonal chores.

This week among other tasks that come around in autumn but are best done before the first freeze or snowfall, we addressed the woodpile. While this can be physically exhausting work (less so this year with the new log splitter), I’m glad for the way it helps me realign my priorities. The wood stove, my heat source not only keeps me warm all winter, lends a pleasant ambiance but, like it or not, it forces me into a whole-body workout daily.

The fact is I actually like the work. As many of my peers are slowing down substantially I’m delighted I can still keep up with the youngsters and run the cottage on my own.

“Prosperity knits a man to the world. He feels that he is ‘finding his place in it,’ while really it is finding its place in him.” C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Despite the most recent disruptions, I’m assured that I’m exactly where God wants me today. When beauty grips me in the most remarkable places I often believe I can feel God’s presence surrounding me.

At the woodpile, for example:

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 – 13 (NLT)

 

All images (c) 2018 What Next: Behind Roo’s Ruse, div. Rapture Practice! Publications, Invaluable Beauty 1/18/2018

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Handiwork

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 New International Version (NIV)

Background derived from Pixabay image.

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The Queen is Dead .

Aretha Franklin

R E S P E C T and love forever for an amazing woman, and a life well lived.

A too quick overview:

In my youth Aretha rocked me into self-awareness (Ya gotta love that opening lick):

I can’t lie, my all time favorite:

“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

Matthew 25:21 (NLT)

Feature Image courtesy Pinterest

Audio/visual clips courtesy YouTube

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Too Hard

The newest addition to the lots is a little S10 pickup truck. It arrived on a crazy-busy day so the movers left it (tow strap and all) at a perpendicular angle across the line of other project vehicles. This was not an issue for Cole, but the rude angle disturbed both Izzy and me. Daily. Seriously crazy making.

Over this weekend, Izzy and I decided to restore order to the universe starting with the S10. As Cole moved lengths of pasture fencing (truly, much higher up the priority ladder than the lots), Izzy circled the truck, eyeing the best destination with minimal effort. I unlocked the steering column, checked the hand brake and put the gearshift into neutral. Then she and I began pushing the little truck over the sandy soil.

Neither of us commented on the surprising exertion required from both of us to make the slightest advancement. Seriously, nudging the empty mini truck a few inches took our combined maximum effort.

Immediately I wondered when I became such a weenie. I prayed Izzy wouldn’t realize how daily my list of can’ts grows exponentially. As if.

YoungerMe pushed or helped push vehicles since I was tall enough to see over a steering wheel and I proficiently “popped a clutch” in grade school – a very long time ago. This week those days seemed like someone else’s life rather than mine.

But when we paused that morning Izzy also seemed irked. I assumed it was because we had to take a breather so soon into what we thought would be an easy task for the two of us. I mean, we’re tough. Right?

As we panted, I ever-so-slightly began to slip into an I’m-a-useless-old-woman puddle. Unwilling to accept that inevitability yet I walked through our task again from the top.

“For crying out loud!” I blurted out as we heard the familiar “pop” after I tested the hand brake release…

Ever gracious Izzy laughed aloud. Moments later, the task completed, we exchanged hi-fives and toasted the newly restored universal order.

Naturally I’m mulling over the experience today. Like in The Man and the Bolder story, God didn’t tell me to move the truck. He told me to help Cole and Izzy. My big ideas thumbed a ride.

But here’s the thing I almost missed – God saw that whole scenario before any of us were even born. He saw I would immediately condemn myself and that I would not consciously think to ask Him for help. Instead of brow-beating me or allowing me to, He led me to retrace my steps.

Sure I felt silly – again. So what else is new? I’m thankful God gave me a sense of humor that allows me to enjoy myself – literally. Bit by bit He’s teaching me to trust Him more in the most subtle and unimaginable ways.

“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

 

Angle chart courtesy Khan Academy, Free Google Images

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Hope and Trust

Winter shall give way to spring, but nothing invigorates like the first breath of both.

 

“Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.”

2 Samuel 7:28 (NIV)

 

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Hide and Seek

I’m very careful of myself in public – in fact, leaving the ranch can sometimes be so overwhelming I will avoid it altogether. Leaving the routine, the comfort and safety of the ranch – my hideaway – to face people, to be seen or worse, to be judged can sometimes feel like too much.

‘Fact is, over the years humans hurt me so that occasionally I avoided the species entirely. I’m glad to say those few seasons were short. And the older I get they become farther between.

Truth: I actually enjoy people as much as I adore my feather and fur friends.

Over these long winter nights I came to realize that this reluctance to leave, the instinct to hide is about my secrets:

  • I desperately want to belong
  • Sometimes shame seems to choke me
  • My beloved family is a big, hot mess
  • I’m broken
  • I’m vulnerable

More important than anything else I may feel is what the Bible tells me:

“All y’alls messed up somehow. Ain’t nobody’s perfect. Nobody.” *  Paraphrase mine.

The pivotal point here being All.

Some flaws are more visible than others is all. The strongest, most organized, confident and fashionable people are messed up somehow. That includes me! So my secrets are no more offensive to God than anyone else’s. “All” is everything Jesus took to the cross. All includes every single mistake, ill deed, every bad knee-jerk response, intentional or otherwise, victim and perpetrator. Every. Single. One.

More importantly, “..now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.”**

So, compared to God’s opinion of me nobody else’s matters. What’s more, I can dismiss my worst feelings and opinions of myself. When God looks at me, all He sees is Jesus. I can now focus on seeing myself the same way.

Sure, I realize this is a process. I’d been seeking out hiding places longer than I can remember. I still have so far to go to get an edge on seeking God’s truth first, but when I make Scripture my focal point and not my fears or feelings the sky’s the limit. My friends can vouch for that.

Do you ever get to feeling weighed down, tired of trying or reluctant to try again? Come on by Our Place and let God’s peace help you.

* “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.’ Romans 3:23, 24 (NLT)

** Romans 8:1 (NLT)

Images (except for chickens) courtesy Pixabay

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Acceptance

I love it when You take over my mind as I wake.
Sincerely.

And usually I love Your perfect timing, especially with the extraordinary things You bring to my mind.
Seriously.

You consistently guide me toward peace in the madness. And You let me think its all my doing. You lead me to build and cross bridges I could never do alone. Your peace reigns freely in my otherwise nonsensical world.

You are marvelous.

And yet, to be honest I was angry and upset most of yesterday. I got used to Scout popping in after his “property inspection” every morning. All summer through late autumn I enjoyed his visits. Come winter, I liked opening the door to find him waiting to be let in, and how his circling through the cottage and then leaving again became welcome recesses.

You are Faithful.

Of course You know, me constantly missing Seagh had subsided. Then yesterday I remembered how every day he’d open the slider bringing Scout in the main house for his early morning nap. I cried and then laughed at how that routine – scant minutes after I’d finished cleaning the floors from the night before – annoyed me back then.

You are patient.

Now that I think of it that was all You, gently reminding me I’m actually not the boss of me, to take a break.

You are gracious.

And now that we’re talking about it – okay, now that I’m venting at You – I realize that was also You yesterday:

The storm broke just long enough for the sun to irradiate the landscape. In that breath before twilight my body seemed to become weightless – an answer to other post-holiday prayers, by the way – and I was transported almost into the blinding light, but stopped short of it.
All in a single, timeless heartbeat Seagh was walking with extraordinary ease away from me, just out of my reach. Scout trotted along at his side, tail wagging, ears up, lips stretched back and tongue dangling in happy anticipation. They were like two stark silhouettes against the brilliance and yet I saw their every detail. I wanted to walk with them, but without stopping Seagh turned to face me, one flat hand raised to his waist indicating I should stop. Walking backward he lifted his head in an upward nod. In our wordless manner I understood him, “I got this.” I raised my arm to wave an acknowledgement, but couldn’t move it any more.
Then he turned around again as Scout too did a full spin. I could feel their delightfully pain-free exhilaration. In that same instant they walked away together as their forms vignetted into the glorious light and then disappeared again.

 
You are indescribable.

I trust You understand my sob and those tears. I completely appreciate You giving us that wonderfully unexpected, but final goodbye. I understood instantly that I won’t see them again until heaven. And in that same instant Your amazing peace returned to me.

You are gentle.

So now I see how You consistently layer all the loss and heartaches throughout my life with immeasurable joy. I get it; the harder the hit, the greater the glory. Looking back at my tantrum over the previous day, I’m humbled – yet again embarrassed.

I am loved.

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.”
Romans 8:18 (NLT)

Feature Image by permission, (c) 2018 Julie Wetherby not for duplication without written permission.

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Lighter Dawn

On Friday I felt better than I have in weeks. The morning before texts began arriving announcing that rain had begun falling near the Eagle Creek Fire.  There was hope the weeks of smoke would soon end.

Smoke cover across the Columbia Saturday, Sept 9.

 

Smoke cover across the Tri-Cities Wednesday, Sept 5

 

Maybe it was because Kendra and Twelve-Year-Old had stayed the night before. It could also be that for a rare moment Brother Cole shared coffee, tea and the smokey sunrise with us on the patio. And it could be that for a rarer moment we were relaxed, tranquil, rather than hurried or annoyed by who-knows-what. For those few minutes together we all felt light and happy.

“Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” Psalm 55:22 (NLT)

Aside from the weeks of ongoing smoke from the wildfires, the atmosphere was similar to the first weeks after I arrived here last October – before the changes.

Taking in the peaceful morning glow, our words were few but meaningful.

We agree, we don’t know where this story is going. We’re certain it will be amazing, so we’re glad for these peaceful, quiet moments.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:5, 6 (NLT)

 

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Rough Seas

One of my uncles recently sent a slide show to me entitled, Rough Seas. This uncle and I share a passion for photography and especially appreciate the unusual. Yet my first inclination was to delete the file unseen. Instead I left it sit in my inbox for a few days before viewing.

Now, that may seem strange considering I lived my pre-teen, teen and early adult years in coastal Southern California. As a kid and as a single working mother, I spent more than the average time at the beach or the marinas and lived on a sailboat one entire summer. Stroking a whale off the port side of a sailboat is still my most thrilling memory. It was cheap recreation when the cost of gasoline didn’t consume a third of our paychecks. It’s safe to assume I would love anything about the ocean as I did when I was young.

The truth is I was an idiot back then. Although I wasn’t fond of snagging seaweed and kelp with my feet, even getting caught in powerful undertows did not hinder my love of surfing and especially body surfing with my young boys. Yet, with maturity (in truth, sobriety) and Hollywood’s high tech, graphic movies, I developed a distinctive respect for the ocean and the Great Lakes. Images from Jaws, White Squall, The Guardian and my personal favorite, Joe Versus the Volcano initially gave me a healthy respect for the waters and it has aged into fear. So, even amazing photos of giant ocean vessels plunging into monumental, sunlit waves give me the willies.

And yet, from my youth my life has been one series of rough seas and horrific storms after another. Early on, my heart had been broken so often I aimed my rage at the God I loved as a child. For several years I denied His existence. Years later I still marvel at how He understood me, forgave me and walked with me through all my turbulence.

Most recently, when the doctors told me they were air evacuating our ten-minute-old grandson to the pediatric hospital/medical school, I indeed felt the sea rise and the winds blow. But I quickly remembered another day when other doctors told me to prepare myself to lose another of my sons after he was wounded in Iraq. I knew then too I was in Good Hands. I knew so by my initial recoil, to set those so-called experts straight – it’s a healthy reaction under the circumstances. Like the scene in Forrest Gump where Lt. Dan shouted into the hurricane, initiating his square-off with God – I am a natural redhead. In both of my instances, with deepest conviction I told the doctors very confidently, “you only say that because don’t know Who you’re dealing with.”

Both times doctors feebly tried to prepare me for the worst, I warned them to prepare for a miracle. Both times, they smiled condescendingly, and both times they wound up amazed that I knew Whom I was talking about. My confidence is not in human ability; not even that of great physicians and the amazing people that have come through my lineage. Both times the medical professionals had to deal with the Peace Speaker, the one that calms storms and makes the worst scenarios turn out gloriously.

his stills storm

Not everyone gets to see the marvels I have experienced – in some cases that’s a blessing indeed. Today I wonder if that’s all so far beneath my surface it’s hard to see now. It would still take a direct order from the Heavenly Father Himself to get me on an ocean liner – with a confirmation from an impossible source that it was indeed His order! But when I sit on dry ground marveling over photographs from hurricanes or simply read the internet news sites, I thank God for the storms I have survived – and that they were all on land.

“When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.”
Author: Edward Mote, c. 1834

Source: Original publication on Roo’s Ruse, 12 March 2009 http://roosruse.blogspot.com/2009/03/rough-seas-one-of-my-uncles-recently.html
He Stilled The Storm Image courtesy, Pinterest.

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