Friday, September 19, 2014

Fall Cleaning...


I'm partial to fall cleaning over spring cleaning.
I suppose I could do both.
But I don't.
I hate to clean.
Fall is the time I like to clean under sinks...
behind dressers...
under beds...
Mostly because I'm in the house all winter and I don't want to be in a dirty house all winter.
Makes sense, no?
This year I cleaned my blinds...
I won't tell you the last time that happened.
Because I can't.
It never has.
Don't tell anyone.
It never occurred to me honestly...
Yes, I saw the dust on occasion but I looked away and it disappeared out of sight.
Easy peasy.
Until my white blinds took on a mushroom color...
It was time.
FINE!
So I cleaned them...inch by inch...
Blind by blind...
I hear you can take them down and dunk them in a bathtub but I didn't.
I painstakingly cleaned each one.
First with a dust rag,
Then with a Lysol wet wipe,
Then with a damp cloth.
They're clean.
I wish I could say I was done, but today I cleaned under my kitchen sink...
Woah.
The nasty that was living under there!
I do occasionally clean under the sink but I hadn't in several months and it was, well...
dirty.
It's fall, though, so I didn't just clean, I fall cleaned.
I not only scrubbed, I replaced the shelf paper.
It's sparkling new!
I won't be embarrassed when someone wants to throw something in the garbage under my sink now!
"Go ahead, it's under the sink" I'll say with a wave of my hand,
Instead of "Here, let me throw that away for you" as I barely open the cupboard to hide it's filth and toss it blindly into the trash.
Which could be why it got even dirtier under there...
The miss factor.
When you don't want to see, you miss your target and dirt gets flung all over!

Which made me think...
Of times I've tried to hide things from God...
Secret sin that I try to cover up, usually making a bigger mess of things...
Which is silly...
God sees everything.
It's a lot of work to clean...first to admit it's time to tackle it,
And then to do the painstaking work of making things shine again...
To clean a house is one thing but to clean up my life, my attitudes, my thoughts, my actions...
Especially the corners of my heart.
That's hard work.
But so worthwhile...
It feels good to set things straight and shiny.
And the rewards are everlasting.
I pray that I will not let my life get as dirty as my blinds...!

1 John 1:6-7
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11


It’s been 13 years since the attack on our homeland.  I remember the day as if it were yesterday.  My husband was at work.  My kids had gone to school.  I was home alone.  I turned on the news and the pictures I saw were shocking.  The towers were standing tall, smoke pouring like blood over the city.  Then they fell.  I was speechless.  I couldn’t cry that day…it took quite a while for me to shed tears…I don’t know why.  I felt very numb…angry…unable to fathom the amount of hate the terrorists must have for us to do such evil.

I had errands to run that day.  We lived in Goldendale, WA…a tiny town in the middle of nowhere.  As I drove the 45 minutes to the store, I felt safe.  Who would want to attack a tiny town in Eastern Washington?   Nevertheless, I watched the sky. I went to the post office and someone in line was talking about a cousin who worked in New York City near the towers.  It occurred to me as I listened to them and prayed silently for their cousin that the tentacles of sorrow would stretch and twist and curl all through our country in a very personal way. 

Life is precious…so many were lost that day.  In the aftermath of war, many more have perished.  This evil, this ideology of radical Islam…it still wars…whether we acknowledge it or not.  That’s the thing…when one group or side wars, the war goes on.  If someone is still swinging, the fight’s still on.  I hate war, but I’m not so ignorant to think that we can always avoid it by playing nice.  Evil doesn’t play nice.  It has to be answered with justice…it must be stopped.  I pray for our military and the job they have to defend and protect us from future attacks.  I pray for our president…that God would give him wisdom in the decisions he makes to protect our country and our military, and the conscience to do what is right.

Psalms 27:1
The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Saying "I do" again...


My sister and her husband renewed their vows today.
They ran off to Hawaii and got married 15 years ago.
She regretted not having a traditional wedding ceremony.
The whole she-bang.
All the bells and whistles.
The dress, the cake, the walk down the aisle, the gathering of friends and family...
So today they did it.
The whole she-bang.
The dress, the cake, the walk down the aisle, the gathering of family and friends...
Except something occurs to me.
This is really special.
Instead of being starry-eyed, youngsters in love,
They know what to expect.
They know what sickness and health means...they've been sick and healthy.
They know what richer and poorer means...been there, done that too.
They know what for better or worse is...in 15 years, there's plenty of worse...and plenty of better.
Fifteen years ago, they took those vows all starry-eyed and ignorant.
Like we all do.
But now they've repeated them knowing full well what each word means.
They know the gravity of the promise...
What the cost will be...
And they did it.
Again.
In front of God and all these witnesses...
And they pulled that knot tighter.
And we watched and celebrated as if it were the first time!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Happy New Year!


The first day of school has always felt more like a new year than the new year!
Even though my kids are all grown and gone,
Seeing the busses...or...
Being stuck behind the busses...
Is a reminder that the new school year is starting...
A fresh year!
My heart jumps a little and I get excited...

A new thing is happening this new year...
I'm starting a new writing group with my new friend Marialyce...
So much newness!
And although we haven't yet had our first meeting,
The response has been really good!
Apparently there are many women out there with stories to share.
Women who want to get the stories out of their heads and onto paper!
Who knew?
I had an inkling...
I was one of them once...
Lots of stories and no encouragement.
Lots of dreams and no inspiration.
Then an invitation to a writing group and the floodgates opened.
Stories spilled out.
The deluge hasn't let up!
It turns out, when you turn the faucet of creativity on,
It doesn't run out, it actually multiplies on itself...over and over...
Inspiration overload...
Until the only thing to do is share it with others.
I can't wait to get started!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Why do I do that???



So today I was asked - in front of a group - if I am published or do I write just for fun.
I said that I have been published a couple of times but I mostly write for fun.
Which is true.
Sort of.
I do write for fun.
But ultimately, I really do want what I write to be published!
So as the words flowed out of my mouth and I minimized the stuff that has been published as just little nothings...
I wanted to kick my ARSE for doing that AGAIN!

Why do I do that??
Why is it SO HARD to see myself as a writer?
I was a mom the moment I became pregnant...no experience, no successes to prove my worth...
I was a student before I learned anything.
In every paid job I ever held...cashier, assistant manager, seamstress, secretary, receptionist...etc
The title was mine before I ever proved I could do the job.
Then I began to design cards, jewelry and other artsy creations...
"What do you do?"  people would ask.
"I'm a stay-at-home mom" I would reply.
I was.
But I was also an artist...not the paint on a canvas type of artist, but an artist just the same.
People paid their hard earned money for the work of my hands...
One of my designs was featured on the cover of Handcrafted Jewelry magazine...
The cover!
Why couldn't I say it?
Why are "artist" and "writer" titles I deem too lofty for me?
I don't know.
But I'm going to work on claiming my dream...
Giving worth to my work.
Owning my endeavors as more than just something I do for fun.
I do have fun writing...I love to write.
And maybe that's part of it.
It doesn't FEEL like work,
This thing I do, fingers dancing on keys, creating words and sentences and paragraphs.
It feels a lot like fun.
But it's so much more than that.
It's a calling.
A deep desire to share what God places on my heart.
A longing to inspire other women to do the same...
To believe in their ability to write and to put their work "out there"...
"Out there" where with one set of finely positioned words, a life can be changed...
A muse awakened...
A woman, who once thought herself just a person who liked to write for fun...
Can finally say with confidence, "I'm a writer...I'm writing a novel and I submit articles for publication and I love to encourage other women in their writing too."

1 Corinthians 10:31
So, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Empty Nest....(again)...

My daughter and son-in-law are 1,089 miles away.
My youngest daughter is 2,104 miles away.
My son is a whopping 8,446 miles away.
sheeesh...
I'm going to make one of those fun directional signs for the back yard...
The ones that cheerfully point the way to places we love...
Mine will include Gillette, Wyoming;  Chicago, Illinois; and Velburg, Germany.
Lemonade from lemons...
When the nest is empty, I must be creative!!

This fall will be interesting...
Lots of transition going on.
My husband is retiring (sort of).
Wait, we're too young to use the word "retire".
Right?......(right?)
He will end his career with the State Patrol and the Army Reserves,
And begin a new career with the Department of Health.
We're excited for this new phase of life.
He'll be HOME more!
He'll keep NORMAL hours!
(Normal...what's that?  I hear it's awesome...can't wait to find out!)
My goals will focus on things like making dinner every night...
Running more regularly...(it's been a busy summer)...
I will focus in earnest on my new card line...
(Fun Christian cards that do not have flowers or birds or lambs or syrupy sentiment anywhere on or near them!)
On writing...and re-vamping the novel I began and left sitting all summer...alone...abandoned...
And settle into our new church...
That feels like home...
And start a new writing group for the nice ladies I'm meeting...
Oh, the fun we'll have!
And embrace once again, the nest that is empty...
Oh so empty.
Yet full of opportunity...
For what?
Who knows!  I'm asking God to lead...

Psalm 37:23
The steps of a man are established by the Lord when he delights in his way.


This directional sign is made by Lori of Whimsey Studios. She makes and sells these signs and many more wonderful illustrations of which I've purchased several!  Here's a link to her etsy shop.  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Shadows and Sunbeams...



I took a bit of a break from running this summer.
LOTS of stuff happened...
It was a busy one.
I've been fitting runs back into my mornings lately.
It hasn't been easy to "start over".
And really, I haven't had to start over.
Breathing is easy...
My legs get very tired though.
And then there's the aches and pains afterward.
Buck up, Heather!

So the other day, I was running on the trail...
It was 7am on a sunny Saturday and no one was up...
I was all alone...me and my iPod...some bunnies...
and Needtobreathe.
I kept pushing replay.
Multiplied...Washed by the Water...Lay 'em Down...Difference Maker...etc.
I appreciated that they had been shuffled together.
It doesn't always turn out that way.
Bunnies darted out from the hedge of fern, salal and Queen Anne's Lace...
They would run with me for a while and dart back into the brush.
They distracted me from how tired I was getting.
I'd only run about a mile or so.
I didn't want to quit but I really, really did want to quit.
I saw a patch of sun ahead.
I'd run to the sunbeam.
The shadow seemed to stretch as my eyes locked on the patch of light.
Keep on going, keep on going..
Needtobreathe serenaded me...
"Your love is like radiant diamonds
Bursting inside us, we cannot contain
Your love will surely come find us
Like blazing wild fires singing your name"
The sunbeam came and went and I hadn't collapsed in a heap, so set my sights on the next sunbeam.
But... I had to go through the shadows first.
The shadows always seem to stretch...
But the sunbeam finally came and I looked ahead to see how far the next one was.
It was do-able.
So I kept going.
"God of mercy, sweet love of mine
I have surrendered to Your design
May this offering stretch across the skies
And these Hallelujahs be multiplied"

It occurred to me as I ran from sunbeam to sunbeam,
That life is like that.
Shadows and sunbeams.
Sometimes the shadows stretch, but we know that if there are shadows, there's a sunbeam ahead.
And sometimes the sunbeam is wide and long...
Warm and bright...
We soak up the light and then another shadow.
God is faithful in the shadows and the sunbeams.
And I'm so thankful that He runs with me...
On the trail...
And off.

Psalm 36:5
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.