Tag Archives: strength

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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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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Footing

“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”
Psalm 37:34, 35 (NIV)

Image private domain and not to be shared or duplicated (c) 2017 Julie Kirk Weatherby

 

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Stuffed

Late winter is my favorite season for baking. It warms the cottage while filling it with delightful aromas.

It was the last week of the month. With frozen, wet roads I had left the ranch only when necessary, so supplies dwindled. This is typical. I have seen hard times, so any day there is food is good and having choices is great! I take advantage of bargains and stock the freezer and pantry. Still, there was remarkable room in both.

That particular day I had to be especially creative. I was delighted to find all the makings for a pumpkin cheesecake pie – of all things! Hey, it includes all four food groups.

I gathered the ingredients and began making the crust. But when I went to roll out the dough I couldn’t find my rolling pin.

After exhausting every possibility I looked about for anything suitable for the task. Rolling the dough with a tall juice bottle, I mentally rummaged through lists of things I’d inadvertently left in Texas or Colorado last year.

I put the pie into the oven and began cleaning up. As I put things away I began to laugh. Without some extensive reorganizing I actually have no place for anything else. This cottage is stuffed full!

I know any time I need a rolling pin or baking sheets, I can walk 20 yards and borrow Kendra’s, but the situation made me deeply reflective.

Over my history I experienced some devastating losses. Yet, hard times taught three generations of my family to be resilient, flexible, inventive and most of all thankful for what we have.

It’s not my preference, but if I must I can fish and hunt. I know how to clean fish and dress out a deer, rabbit or fowl. More important, I adore growing vegetables and canning them.

Over the years, I learned to use a pair of forks or knives as a pastry cutter. A tall glass makes an adequate rolling pin as well as a cookie cutter. Since I needn’t make it anymore, a quart of yogurt provides me calcium and protein and a storage container as well. With friends I learned how to make cheese and delightful breads. Long ago, Moms passed their talents for making biscuits, tortillas and pancakes from scratch on to me. And hanging out with Kendra I recently learned to make candy.

Though some of my history is grievous indeed I’m glad for it all today. Because of hardships and heartbreaks, God and I are sufficient in all things. I am blessed indeed!

“I am not saying this because I am in need. I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances. I know how to survive in tight situations, and I know how to enjoy having plenty. In fact, I have learned how to face any circumstances: fed or hungry, with or without.” Philippians 4:11, 12 (The Voice)

 

*Image courtesy of ABSFreePics

All other images courtesy of Gigi @ A Warm Hello

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Big Two

2nd-anniversary

A two year blog anniversary isn’t exactly breaking news. For me it is a considerable milestone. Often I feel like giving up, at least take a break, but writing alone doesn’t afford me a living (yet). Writing completes me. Though blogging comes with more deadlines, I get to set them. Blogging flexes my writing muscles and the community is a marvelous perk I would never have imagined before I discovered the blogosphere.

Months before my target launch date, life took some more unexpected turns. As my deadline drew closer Sister and I grasped the reality that we were on our own. Instead of postponing the launch, I downshifted. Tires smoking, I slid in sideways right under the wire.

After moving two more times Roo’s Ruse met a second milestone, 300 followers. My goal was 100 readers per year.

There’s much one couldn’t initially see in my blog. If we’re grading on a curve I appear normal. I can conduct myself much the same as anybody else, but I actually am more unique than most.

In my mid-twenties professionals diagnosed me with dyslexia. That explained a lot. Some years later a specialist suggested I had bipolar disorder. I had four boys to raise and no “time for that crap.” Two divorces later another specialist did a comprehensive history, more tests and exams. He diagnosed complex trauma (C-PTSD) and traumatic brain injury. Finally. Nailed. It.

I researched every shred of information available to Jane Q. Citizen, worked harder, longer and was more determined than ever before. Over the next few years I eventually realized God wants me to simply do my best and let Him do the rest. He is still faithful.

The hand dealt me wasn’t the best and I made some bad plays. But I’m here today because God lifted me from what some wouldn’t have survived. Aside from occasionally late or lame posts, my uniqueness is not usually obvious. I’m thankful for that.

My guys grew into great men despite their parents, so my history doesn’t concern me much anymore. The stories will be available soon enough.

Today my sites are set on What’s Next.

“…“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT)

 

Image courtesy Pixabay

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Bliends – Loving

Love, Before it’s Too Late by Mitch Teemley at The Power of Story inspired me yet again today. Getting to know Mitch and his family through his blog, his stories makes today’s crazy world more beautiful and far more fun. If you haven’t met him yet, do yourself a solid and catch up.

 

About Loving

warm-heart-4330x3112_21130

Love is not always something we do or feel. It’s not merely something we respond to and it is definitely not something we acquire. I know this because of the love I’ve missed in my lifetime.

I learned early in life to never take the people I love for granted. The details of my family history, some of the losses are public record. Aside from our numbers the love is not recorded. The ties that bind my surviving siblings and I are solid, indelible but they are mostly invisible.

valentine-heart-5992x2227_22848Emotions are part of the equation and work closely with love, but emotions are not love. I believe that like matter, love is neither created nor destroyed. And yet, it can be misplaced, as anyone that’s lost someone precious to them experiences. Death can create a gaping void, a hole in life that God alone can fill. But love goes on.

Not my first loss, my dad died suddenly, unexpectedly when I was nineteen. With our dysfunctional family dynamics I also lost my closest friend at the time. The ramifications of that event separated my siblings and me during our developmental years. And yet love kept us closely bound together. I can see Daddy occasionally; in my siblings, my sons and my grandchildren. Each time I again feel the love.

My husband came into my life. Love thrived – and then he left. I have not seen him since 2010. Though I was open to repairing our connection we failed. Yet the love lives.

Loving my family with all that I am made me appreciate love, relationships, free will and to never allow time to ravage the bond.

I mentioned in an earlier post, some friends slipped into my past and will remain there. Others remain close regardless of where on earth I pause. They choose to stay close and they act upon the choices. A visit, a phone call, email or text keeps the love we share vital. Whether we share the same genetic structure or are bound by our histories, I value love above all.

John L. Green Vera_Marie_Fuller

I’ve missed my parents for a lifetime. Mother left Dad, my siblings and me in 1966. She tried to reconnect until death took her in 2004. Through constant forgiving, commitment and dedication, we loved. My foster parents (pictures not available) passed months apart in 2005. They all continue to be a big part of me.

2014-05-09 09.34.35

 

My darling brother Seagh left us in 2014. I still feel his presence more often than I don’t. I miss hearing his voice, seeing his face and towering physique. Sometimes knowing I shall not see him again in this world feels crushing. But he frequently reminds me death is not the end.

We love.

 

 

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NLT)

Hearts Images courtesy Unsplash

All other images are private property and not to be duplicated or shared without prior written permission. Thank you!

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Expectations

house picket fence pixabay

 

 

When I was young I longed for a home, family, a simple life; like the neighbors and my classmates.

I was in primary school when I realized I am different. Root, branch and leaf, my family tree is complicated.

 

It would years before I remotely understood the astounding gene pool from whence I came.  Rather than portraits of nice, normal-looking people in their Sunday best with handsome smiles, our foyer was more like the one in Disney’s Haunted Mansion in Anaheim.

 

 

haunt mansion port 1 pinterest haunt mans port 2 pinterest  *

After my second high school reunion I felt like a failure.

Thinking about it, okay after agonizing over the event I noticed a few things:

At the reunion chatting with some of my classmates, the affluent especially seemed to have their lives prepared for them. Many divorced because of boredom. Some lived on alimony or careers laid out for them with “Daddy’s organizations.” There were some whose sole contribution to society was their fashion sense. Some boasted of homes in the better neighborhoods, clothes, handbags, shoes, etc. Those were nice, but didn’t say much to me about the characters, the individuals that owned them.

After my first tour of the room I had a great time with the group in the corner that shuffled shamelessly through photos of their kids and danced like nobody was looking.

I began to understand I had set myself up for years of bitter disappointment. I had wanted what the former set of my classmates had.

About that time I met Jesus and discovered the wisdom of the Bible. One verse above others stuck with me in those early weeks,

“…I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away.”  Job 1:21 (NLT)

That was my turning point. I began to realize when I was young the elements that felt like they would crush me, my hardships actually made me strong and independent.

Sure, my life actually was hard, tougher than most people I know. Anything I inherited isn’t noteworthy, but God gave me strength, grit, determination and ultimately taught me to respect and love myself.

I pray I never stop forgiving, appreciating every aspect of my life and never stop working to be a better human. Amen!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

The House With Picket Fence image courtesy Pixabay

*Disney Haunted Mansion Images Courtesy Pinterest

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Reality

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.

In the midst of all the global violence, something about my recent Throwdown experience bothered me. That’s putting it mildly. Days of praying, talking it out with wiser minds, reading, reflecting and praying some more led to some profound realizations.

I occasionally misjudge – especially myself. Okay, I do that a lot making myself fairly miserable. My problem du jour was fear – disguised as cowardice.  The latest shocker:

meekness, non-violence is frequently mistaken for weakness or cowardice. I confirmed this in my self-judgement.

Friends, yeah and my trained, professional counselor showed me the source of my fear; shame. Occasionally in my past I responded to bullies and abusers ferociously.

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

Clearly I must continuously confront my potential for violence. Avoiding confrontations is a natural result from such fear. In my world trusting God helps me overcome that reality as I practice the way of the cross – strength through nonviolence.

I believe that’s partly why I feel the agony of these worldwide events so deeply. Seriously, I can’t stop thinking about them. It’s horrifying because I am as guilty of violence as the next guy. Like many of us are “one paycheck away from being homeless,” I could have been steps away from crossing the line into madness, committed one of those atrocities, made one of those deadly mistakes. I must choose.

“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

 

*1 Romans 8:1 (NLT)

*2 Philippians 4:6,7 (NLT)

 

Images courtesy *FreeNeoWallpapers **Gandhi and Lincoln Images courtesy Pinterest

 

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Cloudbursts

The forecast in our region was for cooler temperatures – yeay! That’s due to scattered thunderstorms. Forgive the pun, but it put a damper on some of my plans.

Undaunted, I took my hourly walks around the neighborhood despite the forecast. Between cloudbursts I had a revelation: The preeminent times of my life occurred between cloudbursts.

Storms are a mixed blessing. They not only nourish and cleanse the earth, freshening the air, but they can also cause some astounding damage. That pretty well describes my family’s history. Metaphorically, tempests formed our lives – together and individually. Winds brought limbs down, lightning started fires that consumed everything familiar, burnt us and tore our family apart at times.

And yet we lived. Can I hear a hallelujah?!

Most of my family members enjoy above-average lifestyles now, despite having experienced several very close strikes and some direct hits. You’ve probably never felt like you needed to throw or hit something lest you explode. We feel that way sometimes. I’m not especially proud of my 78 m.p.h. pitches. We still freeze at the sight of some old photos or some familiar-looking strangers. Then there are those moments when we go from serene to raging tempests in a heartbeat. Or mention certain names and my mind goes blank as if it had just been erased. I came through all that while trying to understand letters and words that rarely looked or sounded right. Still, I learned.

“But you are a tower of refuge to the poor, O LORD, a tower of refuge to the needy in distress.  You are a refuge from the storm and a shelter from the heat…” Isaiah 25:4

Twisted as it sounds, I like to remember the moments after my son returned from Iraq in four-plus pieces – after the surgeon told me to prepare myself for the worst. I wondered if they actually rehearse those insipid lines. I recall unintentionally staring the man down for what he later described as “an uncomfortably long pause.” I remember thinking through what he’d told me, wondering who on earth does his hair, and recalling everything God promised me. All I said to the doctor was, “You obviously don’t know Who you’re dealing with.”

And I love to remember Nathan’s second first steps weeks later.

Around and in between all that I:

  • danced alone in the rain along the Mogollon Rim,
  • loved with abandon,
  • surfed,
  • sang to the Blue Mountains at sunset,
  • looked into the eye of a whale off the starboard deck,
  • coasted down Jerome, Arizona’s roads at midnight by moon light only,
  • ran with wolves, wolf-dogs and mustangs,
  • watched my sons learn to dive, hit home runs, graduate, be inducted into the military and fire houses, drive cars, trucks and tanks (God spared us all), fall in love, weep as they became fathers and paced the floors with their babies,
  • and a hummingbird rested on my knee as I rested during my yard work.

Though Seagh actually went on ahead without the rest of us, he’s safe and at peace now. We’re all still standing. Some days we’re stronger than others, but we dance in the rain and breathe easy between cloudbursts.

What brings it all into perspective is my family is only one minute particle of humanity, and yet, God cares for us as if each one is His only child.

“I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” Psalm 91:2 (NLT)

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