Transitions

 

clouds

Transitions…the word can create instant anxiety.

I haven’t done any writing in a long time. Not really on purpose, not really too busy, just not really wanting to, but really wanting to at the same time.  That probably makes sense to some.
I guess I feel like unless I’m going through some big storm and have words of wisdom to share, I should just keep quiet. Because my life, well it’s pretty boring (to some)  now and uneventful  and I’m loving much of it. No one wants to hear about ho hum.

They only want to hear about your misery. Oh evil one, be quiet.

So I had a big transition in my job last year, and the position that I thought I loved went away, the company sold the offices I managed, new folks came in and at first I thought I would be okay. It became pretty apparent very soon in that it was not at all going to be okay and definitely not a good fit and besides, they had no intention of keeping me, except to smooth the way with the staff and customers. They weren’t real slick in their communications and I did come across several items and slips of the tongues that laid it out for me. That’s business, I guess. But it was also my life, or a big part of it.  I had to let that go and my old company created a position for me but it included a substantial cut in salary in the process.
Here’s the thing, early into that transition back to my old company and with the lessor salary, I realized that I didn’t seem to be wanting for anything. God was encouraging me to take a big slice of humble pie and get off of my “I’m a big deal” mountain because friends, I was not that at all. There is only room for ONE who is ALL THAT and the center of it all and it’s NOT ME!
God sometimes needs to strip us of ourselves so we can begin to see Himself. God shows us that there is no way we can fly this life plane with Jesus as our Co-Pilot because we’re going to crash and burn. JESUS is our pilot!



Our identity is never in ourselves but is always rooted in Christ.

So I ate that humble pie and found service to others was pretty rewarding.  Being a support employee instead of a lead employee is incredibly rewarding and a whole lot less stress.

Just recently, in the last several months, my husband and I resumed tithing, which took a sort of hiatus while we were trying to figure out the reduced finances.  Boy was that dumb.  Within 2 weeks of kicking that off, the Lord blessed us with a surprise salary package that allowed for me to obtain that prior salary (and more) with the addition of a bonus package.  I need to work for it, and that’s a good thing.

 

I was watching the National Geographic channel last night and it there was a video of a large brown bear in Alaska, waiting for the summer tide to roll out so she could dig for clams.  She would need to consume 1,000 of them a day to keep up her caloric intake, and during those hours the tide was out she worked hard for every morsel.  What would it be if she just came across a pile of clams ready for her to eat? “Bear Manna?” Well, it would be one lazy bear.  The same for us as people, if God just handed us things, we would be lazy and unappreciative.

I think, at this state in my life, I am finally realizing some wisdom.

Another transition for me, my dad is getting remarried next month.  I’m not at all excited about this.  In fact, the closer it comes, the more dread I feel.  His wife-to-be has moved into the house dad shared with my mom, and moved things around, acquired replacement furniture, and even my moms wedding ring has been re-mastered to be a new ring for her.     This last part, it’s infuriating to me.  My dad shared that with me before the fact, I voiced my objections, and he said “I’m not asking your permission, I’m telling you that I’m doing it.”  Ouch.  I’m not liking this latest transition, but it’s his life and not mine.  I don’t dislike her, I just feel all of this is too “in my face.”  I need to come to acceptance, I love my dad, and my mom is gone forever.  But she will never be replaced.  Dad is 75…did he really need to get remarried?

 

I am angry, confused, depressed….a mess.

There are so many things happening in the world that I have no control over.  I am realizing my powerlessness.  My weakness.  My deep need for God.  My deep need for my own eternal heritage, it’s the only thing that is lasting.  Even though part of me so desperately wants to hide away and become a total hermit, I need to realize that God hasn’t called me to hide myself in shame under a lampstand, but to be His light upon a hill, shining for all to see.  Light in a dark and changing world.

I’m reminded of something here.  God calls the broken, not the perfect.

 

 

 

Ma

“Mother’s Day without my Mom,” take 4.  Ugh, This year it also falls on Mom’s birthday.  I went to the cemetary today to bring some fresh roses.  While at the store, I contemplated buying fake ones, to leave in the little vase by her grave marker.  After all, I reasoned, they will always look fresh and pretty.  There are a lot of grave markers at the little cemetary on Harstene Island that have these fake bouquets.    I’ve looked at them with sadness.  It’s as if to say “here these oughtta last ya awhileI’ll check back in a few years, or not..”  Yeah, I’m not ready to go there yet, I guess.  

Here are the flowers I placed;

I was there a few weeks ago, and placed some roses that we’d bought from the Rotary fund raiser.  As I walked up to the marker, I had expected to see wilted flowers there.  Instead all I saw were stems sticking out of the vase. It was like the whole rose, and every one of them, had been snipped off at the bulb.  Odd,  I thought.  Then it occurred to me that the deer like feasting on roses.  Dang deers, I thought, as I placed the new ones.  I wonder how long these will last?
I considered again why I need to bring fresh flowers to the quiet little cemetary.  It’s like throwing money away.  Then I got to thinking, mom totally wouldn’t mind having deer come to visit her and be nourished.  In fact, she would enjoy it.

So I totally realize that she’s not actually there.  I’ve noticed that over the 38 months since she passed away, that I never feel any closer to her when I visit the cemetary.  I actually feel further away.  I stare at the grave marker, compare the weeds, look at the other grave markers, wonder if a bear will charge at me from the forest, and I do wonder if there is a little window in Heaven where she sees that I’m there.   

The truth is that I can hear her voice telling me to quit purposefully making myself sad.  To take care of myself in the living, and to live life with purpose.  I want to ask her so much about what she thinks about this or that.  The grandkids, Dad and Susan’s future plans, did she really want me to have the piano, on and on. 

I just miss having my own personal cheerleader, mom was like that.  I want to be that kind of mom, that kind of person.  It’s not an easy thing.  Right now I’m realizing I’m kind of cranky for one.  And I like to be a mom on my own terms, which isn’t a great thing.  For instance, John (my 17 year old son) likes to share his life stories with me, but only in the evening, usually as I’m headed to bed, I half-listen, with my eyes on my pillow.  Let’s talk about this in the morning..???   Except John isn’t a morning person.  So I really need to work on priorities.  Next year when he graduates, he’s headed to Marine boot camp for 3 months, then off to college for 4 years, then at least two more years of service in the Marines.  The days of mother/son pajama chat time are slowing coming to an end.  Before long, I will be absolutely dreaming that John would be around to keep me from going to bed with his excited talk about life.  

And I worry about the deer eating the roses.  

As I drove away from the cemetary, I saw 3 deer, patiently waiting in the grass.  Enjoy, little ones.

Jesus Christ – General Contractor

                                                                     


Jesus Christ General Contractor:  
Moving Mountains since Eternity:  open 24/7 including holidays:  walk-ins always welcome 



Matthew 21:17-22New International Version (NIV). 17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night. 18 Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. 20 When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.  21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt,not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”


Our Pastor has been taking us through a sermon series on Faith. Today Pastor Adam focused on the scripture above and broke it down a bit. I’m finding that this is really necessary in order to make sense of some of the scriptures. At first glance of the scripture in verses 21-22 might make you think “now why would someone want to do that?” But that’s not the point at all. First it’s important to recognize that the phrase “moving mountains” was a common saying of the jews at the time. “Moving mountains” meant trying to accomplish a really difficult task. I think this phrase though  is a bit easier to understand than some. Too bad there isn’t an Urban Dictionary that compliments the bible, to kind of dumb it down for us. I’m thinking there are a few books that this would come in mighty handy (cough cough Isaiah, Revelation, Daniel). We could call it Urban Bible. Making things all current day lingo;
So like this verse;

John 13:34-35New International Version (NIV) 

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Urban Bible: John 12:34-35: “Dude, play nice in the sandbox, ah’igh. No need to be gettin all up in each others grills!”

God doesn’t have this huge goal of making His Word so tough that no one understands it or you need a degree in Theology. But He does however want us to invest time and energy into studying the Bible. He wants us to understand how the Bible of the Old Testament bridges to the New Testament.

John 1 New King James Version (NKJV)

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend[a] it.

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


He wants us to understand, so we can help others to understand.  When we turn our hearts over to Jesus, He is constantly framing (get it?  Framing…General Contractor…see how I did that..haha) our house, that is, our lives, so we can pick up the tools that he provides and go about the Father’s business.  We become sub-contractors of sorts on His team.  
So when someone asks you, “why do you say that God exists?  Why do you speak of faith and grace?”  Are you able to clearly explain it?
I want to recommend a series on Apologetics by Ravi Zacharias that I have been following.  Here is a link to him if you’ve never heard of his teachings, I think you will find this really helpful, as I did.

My whole point of this blog is really to share with you this; Jesus is the General Contractor of our lives.  He has given us tools, but it is up to us individually to use them.
God bless

O Come

Dancing in the Rain

angels-and-sheep

I’m sitting here, drinking coffee and my blackberry smoothie. Ruby sits across from me, eating a cinnamon roll. This song rolls on:

It’s Advent Season now. Perfectly acceptable to blast the Christmas music. This particular version has no instruments, only voices. The haunting beauty of the melody has its roots in medieval times. Some think the stanzas date back to 800 A.D.

But we don’t need Jesus only during the Christmas season. He didn’t stay a baby forever, but grew up to be our Savior. We need Him every day, every hour. He still bids us to come to Him. In fact, God has been calling us back to Him since the Fall.

“Come now, let’s settle this,”
    says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
    I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson,
    I will make them as…

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I’m feeling..

I haven’t done any writing in a long time. Not really on purpose, not really too busy, just not really wanting to, but really wanting to at the same time.  That probably makes sense to some.
I guess I feel like unless I’m going through some big storm and have words of wisdom to share, I should keep quiet. Because my life, well it’s pretty good right now. No one wants to hear about that. They only want to hear about your misery. Oh evil one, be quiet.
So the job that I loved went away, the company sold the offices I managed, new folks came in and at first I thought I would be okay. It became pretty apparent very soon in that it was not at all going to be okay and definitely not a good fit and besides, they had no intention of keeping me, except to smooth the way with the staff and customers. They weren’t real slick in their communications and I did come across several items and slips of the tongues that laid it out for me. That’s business, I guess. But it was also my life, or a big part of it. I had to let it go and take a substantial cut in salary in the process.
Here’s the thing, I don’t seem to be wanting for anything. God was encouraging me to take a big slice of humble pie and get off of my “I’m a big deal” mountain because friends, I was not that at all. There is only room for ONE who is ALL THAT and the center of it all and it’s NOT ME!  
God sometimes needs to strip us of ourselves so we can begin to see Himself. God shows us that there is no way we can fly this life plane with Jesus as our Co-Pilot because we’re going to crash and burn. JESUS is our pilot.
Our identity is never in ourselves but is always rooted in Christ.
So for my career I’ve been placed back with the great company that I was with before the new company bought us, but in a much lessor role. I’ll admit this, going in I wondered how I was going to hack it. I’m now four months in and I am hacking it quite well. I am overwhelmed with blessing and peace in my life. Joy, unexplainable, incomprehensible, and entirely undeserving fills my spirit.  
It’s not the world that makes us who we are or has the right to define us by job titles and six figured incomes. Remember that as children of the Most High God, we are definitely not of this world. Our title, position, inheritance is in Heaven. So despite our situations we are called to be like Jesus, who is the Light of the World, the Salt of the earth.
Sometimes it is easier than others. Jesus never said we would have an easy life when we accepted Him into our hearts. In fact, He said it would be very hard. That we would be persecuted, hated, rejected. But by those acts, we are BLESSED, for ours is the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew Ch. 5)
So let’s work on being bright, flavorful, and most importantly, GRATEFUL, for great is our reward. Stop for just a moment, and think about what we know of Heaven. It’s a pretty incredible place. God our Father can’t wait to show it to us. That place, it’s for us!
The other comment I want to make is this. If you’re a parent, you’ve no doubt experienced a sulking and ungrateful child. Think of a time when you had something so fantastic planned for your child and they just were being brats. It hurts our hearts. I imagine our Heavenly Father feels the same sadness in His heart when He gifts us with a mere morsel of His bigger plan for us and we’re acting like thankless children.
I want to have more gratitude in my heart for His blessings. I want to make my heart and very pleasing place for His Holy Spirit to reside. Thank you, Jesus.

Transition

   

 
I haven’t blogged in a long time. It isn’t because I haven’t had anything to write about, there has been plenty, but almost too much to articulate in a short blog that I desire to be somewhat interesting and worthy of your time.

This Wednesday is 2 years now, since Mom died. TWO YEARS… It seems like it really just was yesterday that the most dear woman I have ever know, was taken so early from Lymphoma. The last few days, I’ve been on a mental countdown of “this day two years ago, this happened…” I can say, this day, two years ago, my sister was here and came with me to Wednesday service. We texted Mom from Church. She was cheerful, joking even. Actually, those were the last texts that I ever received from her. We texted regularly, daily, just tidbits of our days, staying close as mothers’ and daughters do. THIS DAY TWO YEARS AGO…it all changed. It really hit me that “Mom is really going to die.” Dad called us from the hospital at 2:00am to say “get down here, Mom may not make it through the night!!” Chris and I raced down the freeway and even got pulled over on the way. Mom had suffered an “air hunger” attack. It was terrifying for her. Later that morning, Mom said to us all “I think I’ve rounded a corner, I think I’m going to get better!” I remember looking into the Doctor’s eyes, “no she isn’t, they said.”
The pain today is not as strong as it was two years ago. I realize that I will miss my mom for the rest of my life. Her death was the first “real and deeply painful” death I’ve ever experienced. Brutal, gut wrenching, painful loss. Overwhelming. The kind of loss you never understand until you experience it. Sooner or later, everyone experiences it. Dad is still so depressed. He talked frequently about not liking his life. I don’t know how to help him with this. He has friends now, even a couple of female friends that he spends time with, but none will ever replace the love of his life. The mother of his children.  
I suppose the last two years has taught me that the only thing certain in life is change, death, and of course, that God is in control, I have NO SAY whatsoever in what happens. Oh drat. I can only pray for His heart of understanding.
Another big thing for me of late, the Company that I have worked with for the last 15 years, sold my office, along with 5 others. Six total, 3 of which I managed. I loved the company, they were so good to me. They paid me well, invested in my future, my training, my happiness. Then, boom, sold. Kicked to the curb and sold to the highest bitter. Divorced me, tired themselves of me, rejected me…it was also physically painful for me. Me, me, me….oh gosh, it’s always about ME and MY FEELINGS. Puhleeze, it’s a business. An international company. They are not there for me, they are there to make money for the shareholders.  
As it turned out, the Buyers are pretty cool people. I met with them prior to the sale and instantly liked them. They hired me, and the whole crew. The more time I spent speaking with them, the more I liked them. Genuinely nice and easy going. Very un-corporate America.
After months of details, the closing finally happened a week ago. It was so weird for me, to be working my last day for the old company. I went home that day and felt like an orphan. The first day, I had a text from the new boss that had scripture attached to it. He knew I was anxious, nervous, worried, all those things. Pretty wise.   
Successful in business AND loves the Lord. The Buyers are a family company, multi generational in the industry. I’m not an outsider in my opinion, because If you follow Jesus, you are a spiritual Brother or sister of mine. So now I am family.

When things started changing in my career about a year ago, I had received a pretty great promotion from the old Company. It included extra territory, right on the heels of me spending time doing a “Prayer of Jabez” study. “Oh Lord, that you would bless me indeed, and increase my territory, and that Your Hand would be with me (I can’t do it alone), and that you would keep me from Evil (countless times the enemy’s attempts to take me down were thwarted). And God granted my request.”
A few months later I had this news that my company was going to sell us. YIKES! I was going to be out of a job, right? I actually cried, this was devastating news to me. I liked my job, I liked my boss, my team, my peers in management, all of that. Now here I was, 50 years old, and looking at a career redirect.  
But it was by no coincidence, I know, that all this was happening. You know how it is sometimes, you pray for something, you get it, and you think you’re done. But God, He has even more in store. When I prayed for more, in my mind I prayed how I would be receiving it. God always has more to offer those He loves, then what we ask. The extra territory, I believe that was the tip of what God has in store. The new ownership in my workplace was unexpected but still every bit of God’s plan for me.  
Thinking about His plan…wow, pretty exciting. Where will it lead me?
I believe this is a time, and season of humility for me. And I don’t mean shame, I mean a Spiritual seasoning, humbling, to allow me to be ready for all the Lord wants to give me.  
Because..
Well I’m not in charge anymore. I’m not the boss, I don’t call the shots. That’s a pretty rough deal when you’re used to being the boss and enjoying the privileges and attentions that come with it. There is a certain respect you get, even, in that title. Introductions would be, “This is Caroline, she is the area manager for _____”… “Ohhhh” people would say. I’m laughing at my own pride now, as I write this. God must have been laughing too, every time I thought so highly of myself. He must have smiled and shook His head at my simple mind and being so impressed with myself.  
Throughout the last week, there has been a lot of disappointments. Not in the new regime, but in the old. The transition is hard for all of the old team, venturing into unknown territory. My old Boss told me, at the time she informed me of the sale (months ago) that she was certain this would be a good move for me. That I should give it a year, and I would be telling her it was the best thing ever. I didn’t want it, I wanted the familiar. But since she asked me to give it time, I agreed. Long story short, she has rehired two of my team into the old company. Pilfered my peeps. I feel like I was betrayed. It makes me angry. This is “business?” No, I can’t deal with that.
But..people are people. We are all human. We all, at some point or another, again and again, are going to be a disappointment to someone.
Thanks, because if you’ve gotten this far, you hung in there with me for a longer than my usual blog and allowed me to vent.  I actually feel better just sharing all that is weighing down my mind. God speaks to me as I write, it’s putting words into play that help me realize, it’s all going to be fine.
He is transitioning us all into perfect works of His loving Hands.  Thank you Jesus.

Say…what?

DISCLOSURE:  this blog is not meant to offend anyone, but to share my thoughts on certain matters.

My beliefs:   I am a conservative Christian woman, heterosexual, in love with my husband despite all of his human faults. I am over brimming with sins of my own and only saved by the Grace of Jesus.   I do not believe in murdering babies or “marriage” between members of the same sex.  I believe you are owed nothing from the Government except what paying your taxes entitles you to.  These are my core beliefs and don’t you dare tell me my opinions and beliefs are wrong, that I am one of “those hypocrites” because your opinion does not agree with mine. I am entitled to believe as I chose.

In reviewing my blog, I have spent a lot of time writing about these things;

1. Healing while grieving the loss of my mother

2.  My love for Jesus

3.  Random thoughts on life and living

Very seldom to I write about what I feel is politically correct total BS.

So today…my heart burns with this.

Frankly put – if you are borns with a penis, you are male. If you are born with a vagina, you are female.

Today my eldest and his girlfriend were over for a short visit.  Recently, he and the GF moved out of one of our rental properties into a bigger place of their own. I am so happy for them.
Frankly, the rental is total ghetto, tiny and in a poor neighborhood.  They shared this two bedroom little house with their lesbian friend.  Their friend is going to continue as our tenant so my husband is revising the rental agreement somewhat.

So as we were chatting this morning about the rental, and the new agreement, I noted that the kids in speaking of their friends use the word  “they” and have many times.  I said “who else is staying in this house, that you keep saying they and not she?”

So the explanation was this; “Mom, (friend name) is transgender and identifies with being male, we felt it easier to say they instead of trying to explain it to you..”

ME:  Say, what?

Sons Girlfriend says, “actually there is something in the works to make “they” a singular word in the dictionary so transgender people are more comfortable…”

Me:  huh?

Folks, you are either a HE or a SHE.  Penis or vagina?  That’s the dealio.

I am so annoyed with politically correct, I just want to head butt it.

I had to head upstairs and have my own little internal meltdown on WHY I must call a she a they and not even a he?  What does the drivers license say?

When it becomes too complicated for the grown up educated American adult to understand, but so simplex for the younger generation to explain away, I wonder what further changes are coming over the next few decades.

In 25 years, what will shock my children and wish for the simpler times of 2016?

sigh…