Monday, December 26, 2011

Emotionally sore today...

Today I'm feeling emotionally bruised and sore. My sister Marie from Tennessee came up to visit me and I was feeling so rough that I couldn't even enjoy the time with her, which made me sad. I feel raw and broken and need some time to back away from everything and everyone to heal.

Sometimes it's important to step back and away from everything and everyone to heal, to gain perspective, to better manage my own emotions, situations, and others' effect on my life. Taking the time to recognize where to draw the line with others so that you "don't drown while trying to save them from drowning." I've come close to "emotionally drowning" in the past two weeks and I recognize the need to heal and recover, so that is what I'm working on this afternoon.

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum...(not really, I just have always liked that line and the play). Anyways, here's something that amused me somewhat this afternoon. Quite a while ago I had applied to the "Worldwide Who's Who" for the fun of it and for the networking and exposure factor. For several months now, I've been receiving calls from them to go through the interview process, but it has always seemed to be at the wrong time. Today, I received a call from one of their agents again, so I called her back. After going through the interview process to see if I would be eligible, which she determined I was (not sure of their criteria) she then explained the offer, which of course involved a significant amount of money. Although being on the "Worldwide Who's Who" list might have some usefulness, the funds are definitely not available in my budget, and even if they were, the thought occurred to me, "how important are you really, if you have to pay to be in the "Who's Who" list?" It's like paying to get yourself published. Sometimes it's worth it, but usually it's just an "ego boost" or "flattery." Of course, getting published, whether it's a book you wrote or being published on the "Who's Who" list can't be all that flattering if you are having to pay them to publish you! LOL! Not today, thank you! I can publish myself quite well on the Internet without their help and without much cost.

I guess what brought this up in my thoughts right now is that the agent kept offering the next lower offer and the next lower offer even though I had said each time, "I do not have any money right now to put towards such a thing and even if I did, I would want to wait and consider the purchase before going ahead with it." Finally, after three to four different offers from her, I said, "Listen, I have $30 left in my bank account today and unless it is absolutely a dire necessity, I'm not spending what little money I have left." "And secondly, I have no desire to be rude, but if you push me one more time, I'm going to get rude." With that warning, she graciously backed off and I graciously told her I hope she has a good afternoon. End of conversation. :)

So, there always comes a time when a person must "draw the line," whether it be with friends, family, colleagues, or strangers. It's important to have and maintain boundaries to stay emotionally and mentally healthy, along with respecting the boundaries of others. Learn to manage your own life in such a way that you do as little "spilling out" into other people's lives as possible. We all have times when we need help, when we need others; I was there this past summer during my period of unemployment, but my goal is to continue to grow in my ability to manage my own affairs in such a way that I don't spill-out onto other people's lives and drown them while they are trying to save me from drowning.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dearest Mommy...

A couple of months ago, one of my sisters had told me about a book (I don't remember the name of the book or author) and the steps to go through when confronting and forgiving others who have wronged you, even someone who had already died. She thought it would help me in confronting one of my brothers who currently lives with me. In truth, I had already confronted my brother, but I recognized it as a solution to confronting my Dad who is dead. I wrote a letter to him telling him how he had hurt me and what it had done to me emotionally, mentally, and spiritually and then I forgave him and asked forgiveness for my part, even if unrealized at the time, in the situation. Talk about a release. I felt the difference in my heart and the new freedom it had given me.

Well, yesterday afternoon, I came to realize that I still felt significant anger and bitterness towards my mother. This morning, it was time and I wrote a similar letter to my Mom, who also is dead.

I'm sharing the letter below and I hope that if you are reading it that you it may help you to forgive whomever you may need to forgive and/or it will help you to help someone else.

Dearest Mommy,

Yesterday I had a huge meltdown. I had been struggling with anger and irritation for several days and couldn't figure out where it was coming from.

When I had my meltdown yesterday, I realized that I had significant anger still towards you for several things. I hadn't ever really known what they were over the years, but an incident with a friend of mine brought the issue, or at least one of the issues, clearly to my mind. You disrespected my Dad, me, and everyone else, including yourself. You allowed other to disrespect me and you didn't protect me. I recognize you didn't understand, didn't know how to respect boundaries because no one had respected yours, but the lack of knowledge or ignorance does not negate the error, the sin, as I've learned, painfully learned, very recently.

Along with the disrespect you showed towards my Dad, others, and me, you didn't give me or show me your beauty. I don't know why, as I know you were a beautiful young woman and even a beauty or at least a good-looking woman most all of your life. You were an artist! If anyone could have shown, taught, given beauty, it could have been you, but instead you taught drab, dreary, ugly, chaotic yuckiness. You didn't teach me how to make a house a home. I had to try to learn everything through magazines and on my own, which has been horribly difficult. You gave up and gave in to the filth and drabness of your environment, instead of living above it. I so badly want to forgive you and let it all go. It has destroyed so much of my life and I don't want it to continue to do so. I do feel hurt by it all though. I desperately want to become and provide a


for my husband I still hope to have one day and grandchildren (since I'm too old to have children). And as much as I desire to be and make this, I don't know how because you didn't teach me.

Oh Mommy dearest, why didn't you teach me and my sisters? Why did you give up on beauty and hope? I'm sorry that life discouraged you so badly that you never fully recovered. I'm sorry you experienced such disappointment and hurt that you quit being the mother you could have been. I'm sorry that you were abused and disrespected in your childhood home and family, because even though you never told anyone, I'm sure you were. I'm sorry that you dealt with that all alone, because you had no knowledge of how to deal with it and what to do! I ask God to help me to forgive you and I pray that God will, has forgiven you!

Please forgive me too. Please forgive me for holding such anger and bitterness towards you for so many years. I want to be free of it all and be able to move forward. Please forgive me for rejecting you instead of reaching out to you to help you. I was too young at the beginning, but even when I got older, I didn't help you like I should have. I'm sorry. I blamed you for many things. Some, you were responsible for, and some you weren't! Some were Dad's fault. Please forgive me for falsely accusing you of things you didn't do, didn't cause. You weren't to blame for all the negative; Dad was responsible for some of it and then later I was responsible for my own.

Well, dearest Mommy, you've been dead now for 13 years. I hope I will see you on resurrection morning and be able to tell you I'm sorry and I love you in person. In the meantime, and even in that time, I leave your memory in the hands of God. I love you.

Your "sunshine," 


Monday, September 26, 2011

And the journey continues...

My life journey has been quite rocky and difficult this year and particularly in the past several months. After losing my job, being denied unemployment, and spending the next three months learning how to live on the bare minimum that others and DHS provides, frantically looking for work and still not finding anything, having a brother move into my house that really shouldn't have been moving in and now, still not having a job, still having a brother living with me that shouldn't be living with me and trying to understand and know what God wants me to do to go forward in my life, I find that I am having to take each day, moment by moment. I can only do what I can do and I am seeking God's will in everything I do, so I know eventually the answers will come.

In the meantime, I'm now back in school as of September 6, still working on my MA in Educational Technology, and I'm also taking an online class called Fascinating Womanhood. The class, and the book it is based on, is about "strengthening your marriage" and "enriching your life." I'm not married, but that is a status I would like to change and I feel that God brought me to the point where I would be open to learning the principles this book/class advocates.

The principles the book/class recommends to live by are not principles I learned growing up, nor are they principles that any of my friends would live by or recommend at this time, except for one of my friends, the friend who loaned me the book in hopes that it might would help me to better understand how I need to live my life. It's interesting, because the friend who loaned me the book has the best marriage of all of my friends and yet they all think she has it by luck. I do think she has a head start on many of us, because she grew up in a home where the parents were loving towards each other and didn't destroy each other like in some homes and including the Christian home I grew up in. She also has a husband who has developed his communication skills, his emotional and spiritual life much more than almost any man I've known before and these two factors make a huge difference. But, having said that, I believe that because she, whether knowingly or unknowingly lives the principles expounded upon in FW, they have a beautiful marriage. Is it perfect? No, but it's not luck and it's not even just because they are Christians, because the rate of divorce for Christian marriages is almost the same as non-Christians. It's learning how to treat each other, cultivating the warmth and love or as FW would say "celestial love" that should be part of every Christian marriage, and dare I say, all marriages?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Keep on keeping on...and still go above and beyond

One of the phrases in Al-Anon (and AA, NA, etc.) is "Keep on keeping on" and that is what I'm doing today. I can only go forward, which means I continue to submit my resume to possible jobs, I follow up on opportunities still in progress or unknown yet, and I continue to network, search, and do whatever I can to "drum-up" opportunities. I've never experienced such a situation before where I've looked for work, even been interviewed for work, and still don't have work, but I guess there is a first time for everything and this is the time economically when trying to find work is difficult. The companies that are hiring have many potential employees to choose from and although I feel I'm a strong candidate, I have a lot of experience, I'm professional, smart, and learn quickly, I may not be "standing out"  as well as I should or could and that is what I have to work on. I need to find a way to highlight my strengths and show the employers why they should hire me over the others. And this is where I will apply the "go above and beyond." To another day of trying to shine!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Encouraging words...

This morning I woke up with the feeling somewhat depressed and dreading the day. I felt discouraged at facing the same-ole-same-ole that has permeated the past three months. Also, I will be losing phone service tonight at midnight and I was going to have to call my car loan company to let them know that unless a miracle came about, I would not be making partial payment on Monday as I had hoped. Not fun things to wake up to.

Finally, 15 or 20 minutes later, I got up and made some coffee and went back to my bedroom to have my morning time with God. While journaling, I acknowledged that I was having a very difficult time facing the day and wasn't sure if I could accomplish anything. Oftentimes, when I feel like there isn't anything I can do to accomplish anything worthwhile, I will remind myself of a saying I received from a friend of mine long ago. "Today, I'll focus on what I can do, not on what I can't do." So, I wrote down, "What can I do"? And proceeded to list five or six things that I thought I probably could manage to do and needed to do or might be helpful to someone else. Here are the six, now seven things, I felt capable of accomplishing in spite of the current emotions and situation.

  1. I can take care of the bank account verification and send it to DHS.
  2. I can follow up on Phill's brother James for Aunt Margaret.
  3. I can call Santander (my car loan company) and let them know I won't be able to make payment, but I am still wanting to keep the car and expect that by the first of September, I will be able to bring my account current.
  4. I can call Verizon and at least them know that I won't have the payment as expected, but I will pay my account as soon as possible.
  5. I can figure out food for Sabbath lunch (this is an easy one, thankfully!)
  6. I can call to check on prices of my prescription medicines so as to find out where I should have them filled (JD is helping me to get them filled).
  7. I can write a note to Christa (still haven't done this, but will before end of day to then send tomorrow).
Armed with a focus on what I can do, I set out to at least accomplish those things.

One of the first things I did was to go to the bank to get the verification form filled out. Deb, the bank representative who started helping me, and I began talking some about my situation and the difficulties I have been and am now experiencing due to my unemployment and denial of unemployment. We talked about what jobs are out there and she mentioned a couple of places that I might want to consider applying to, as they oftentimes are hiring. She was very nice and treated me with respect, in spite of my financial status, and as much as I'm down on banks and their insensitivity to people who are struggling financially, I have to say she at least improved my feelings about some of the bank's employees.

During our conversation, Deb mentioned that she had gone through a rough time and still struggles with the effect of her husband having a sudden heart attack 19 months ago at the age of 55. It was a devastating shock to her and her life, as she had only worked part-time before, and of course now she was having to fully support herself. We talked about how to get through the rough times and how we just have to continue and do what we can until things turn around. It was a blessing and an encouragement. It also made me cry my heart out to God after leaving the bank, telling Him how tired and scared I was. But, it helped me to once again accept where I am at this moment in time and trust that as I continue to focus each day on what I can do, eventually things will turn around for me and I will be a stronger person for having gone through these events.

Thanks, Deb, for the encouraging words and I pray that God will comfort you as you have encouraged me.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thinking about the good things in life...

I was talking with a friend of mine today about my personal blog and some of her thoughts about it, since she had read some of it last night. She said," readers might learn that you battle depression." Ouch! That is true at times and it's kind of weird because I tend to write when I'm feeling depressed. In fact, it's one of the ways I process my feelings. That's not all bad, of course, but I just want to let my readers know that really, I'm not depressed all the time. I enjoy a lot of things in life and am grateful for all the blessings, friends, and family I have. And, I'm sorry if I've been a little depressing in my writing. I have been going through a very difficult time in my life, but there are a lot of positives too and I need to reflect on them more.

For example, today I went for a walk by the Kalamazoo River over in Plainwell at the Veteran's Memorial Park. It was a beautiful, sunny, not too hot and not too cold day and I wandered around, listening to flow of the river, taking pictures of the river and flowers in the park, and petting a friendly lab while talking with her owner. I should have taken a close-up of the dog, but didn't think about it until her and her owner were already gone, walking across the trestle bridge that spans the river. Here are a few of the photos I took while at the park.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Grieving today...

Yesterday and today I have felt such sadness and loneliness. It seems odd, like I'm not quite sure where it's coming from and what's causing it. Of course, there are several things I can think of that are adding to it, if not actually causing it.

For starters, Denyse, my close friend of eight plus years moved to Florida this past May. We didn't really spend much time together during the week, but on Sabbath after church my brother and I would just hang out with her and her husband and talk about anything and everything. I miss that! And then, my friend Chris and her husband Don who stayed with me over the winter, are down in Texas right now trying to take care of some of their scrap vehicles that had to be moved from where they were being stored. Chris and I text all the time, but it's not the same as having someone to talk with face-to-face and just hang out or go to the beach with. They will be back home in Michigan in another week or two, but I miss seeing them and hanging out with them. Also, FC, who I've been seeing since last December, didn't call at all to get together this weekend and I miss being with him and feeling like I almost have a boyfriend! :) And finally, Phill (or Chief Strongheart to me), my ex-boyfriend and lifetime love passed away July 10, from a diabetes-related, severe, staph infection and related strokes.

Even though Phill and I were only together officially from 1996-2001, unofficially together off-and-on from 2001-2006, and only at special times since 2006, our hearts connected when I was nine and he was ten and have been connected ever since until now. I miss knowing that someone knows me that well, knows my history, knew my parents, knew my family, knew my heart like he did. I miss his heart!

I guess the above is probably enough to make me feel deep sadness and loneliness today!

Chief Strongheart (tall, dark-haired Native American Indian) and me between two of his brothers, Tim and his wife Annie (left) and Sam (right). Taken at the dinner following his Mom's burial in Northport, Michigan, in July 2008.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Under Seige...

Have you ever felt you were under siege by something or someone? It could be a disease, a financial situation, a situation at work or a disability. According to Web Dictionary, siege is defined as:
  1. A military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling the surrender of those inside
    1. Verdun had withstood a siege of ten weeks
    2. Siege warfare
  2. A similar operation by a police or other force to compel the surrender of an armed person
  3. A prolonged period of misfortune
    • I've been having a siege of headaches
Well, I've been going through what has felt like a financial siege with no end in sight. I have felt desperate at times, although not as desperate as some individuals have been in history.

Yesterday and this morning my Bible readings have been from 2 Kings 6 and 7. These were some rough times for Israel. Their kings were wicked and had led them astray, which caused God to allow surrounding nations to attack them in an effort to draw them back to God. This was also during Prophet Elisha's time.

At the end of Chapter 6, in verse 24, the story begins by saying, "Afterward Benhadad king of Syria gathered his whole army and went up and besieged Samaria (the Capital of Israel), 25 And a great famine came to Samaria. They besieged it, until a donkey's head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and the fourth of a kab of dove's dung [a wild vegetable] for five shekels of silver." (Amplified Translation).

The story continues with the telling of two women who were so desperate that they made an agreement to give up their sons to each other to be boiled and eaten. One of the women calls out to the King of Israel for help because they had boiled and eaten her son the day before and the other woman had now hidden her son and wouldn't give him up to be boiled and eaten. The king rent his clothes and called for the beheadment of the Prophet Elisha, blaming him for the siege and famine, since he was a prophet of God.

The story seem unbelievable to me and sickening and it is sickening. What these two women, and maybe others were doing to just survive, is beyond my comprehension, thankfully. Well the story continues...

God reveals to the Prophet Elisha that the king has sent his messenger before him to behead Elisha. We pick this up in verse 32, "Now Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and the king sent a man from before him [to behead Elisha]. But before the messenger arrived, Elisha said to the elders, See how this son of [Jezebel] a murderer is sending to remove my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door, and hold it fast against him. Is not the sound of his master's feet [just] behind him? 33 And while Elisha was talking with them, lo, the messenger came to him [and then the king came also]. And [the relenting king] said, This evil is from the Lord! Why should I longer wait [expecting Him to withdraw His punishment? What, Elisha, can be done now]?" (Amplified Translation).

Elisha then went on to give the king a message from God. Chapter 7, verse 1, "Then Elisha said, Hear the word of the Lord: Thus says the Lord, Tomorrow about this time a measure of fine flour will sell for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria!" (Amplified Translation).

The story goes on to tell how this happened the next day, how God brought about the ending of the siege on Samaria.

There were two significant lessons in this for me today, which I took note of even in my emotional and spiritual misery.
  1.  How sad that those two women didn't wait two more days! The one woman never gave up her son, but the one who had given her son to be boiled and eaten had to live with the knowledge that not only did she commit a horrible crime/sin, but if she had only waited 2 or 3 more days, her son would still be alive. The Bible doesn't say what happened to the woman who gave up her son, but I would have felt like killing myself in horror at what I had done, if I was that woman. I would have felt just as bad, if not worse as the other woman who had helped to eat the son.

    The Lesson: Desperation at the situations in life, whether brought on by our own doing or the doings of others, is not worth committing a crime/sin (although I have to admit that I've been extremely difficult to live with this week and have been hateful and irritable with my brothers, a sin in its own right.).
  2. God can change things around in a day (a week, an hour, whatever time period). The siege can end at any time. One day two women were agreeing to boil and eat their sons because of the siege/famine in Samaria, but the next day, they all had all the food they wanted.

    The Lesson: The siege may be the hardest thing you will ever go through, endure. Given time and at the right time, God will end the siege and turn things around. My part is to hang in there and endure to the end of the siege, even if it kills me literally.
I am praying and hoping the siege will end soon and I believe it will. I believe that God was telling me that the siege will be over very soon, just as the Bible reading talked about the ending of the siege. In talking with one of my sisters tonight, I realized that this area of "provision" is where I had rebelled at the age to 16. I had said, "If this is the way God is, I don't want any part with Him." I plead with God to forgive me for being so foolish; I had no idea what I was saying and have no desire to rebel like that again.

It's interesting (and more painful than my Dad's dying, I'm sorry to say) that I'm now being tested in the exact same way and manner as I had been then. Although it is horribly painful to me emotionally, I no longer want to turn away in anger and rebellion. I just want to get through it and not verbally and emotionally "destroy" my brothers in the process. I would rather not become homeless and thankfully, due to my sister and brother-in-law offering to help with the balance I need to pay rent, my rent will get paid in August. As far as the remaining financial issues I am experiencing, as in possible loss of car, phone, electric, gas, water, etc., I hope that God will provide the means to pay these through work or whatever, but I know that no matter what happens, I have and will continue to choose God. Just as Job said, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." (Job 13:15, NKJV).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Enduring the tough times...

It has been a while since I've posted on the site here. Mostly because life has been too hard and depressing to handle actually writing about it. I'm depressed again today, but for some reason am feeling a need to write about it anyways.

It's been difficult to emotionally deal with the negative situations in my life, particularly since there doesn't seem to be much I can do about them (I am doing all that I can to change the situation, but so far nothing has changed yet). The most difficult part of my situation is the lack of income, lack of money to pay even the basics like rent, electric, gas, phone, car payment, auto insurance, etc. I don't know what I'm going to do. The reality is that if God doesn't intervene this next week, I may lose everything and be on the street, homeless and without a car. Not a pleasant thought.

Another situation I'm facing is having to deal with emotions that have come up after about 45 years! Didn't think I was going to have to deal with this again, but here it is. When I was a kid, around 5 years of age, our family lived in Illinois. We had some really rough times in Illinois and I have very few good memories from that time. One of the rough times we went through triggered a serious anger issue in me towards God and my parents. Pure hatred in fact. I can recognize now that I didn't feel taken care of because we had nothing left to eat in the house, except potatoes and turnips, which my stomach couldn't tolerate. Even though I was a young kid, I realize now that I felt neglected and uncared for, unprotected by my parents and by God and I became very angry. I don't really remember getting angry at that time, but I must have, because after growing up more, I would feel deep-seated anger and bitterness towards God and my parents every time I felt poor. I hated God and my parents for making my life miserable and not taking care of me as I felt they should have!

On top of my anger towards God and my parents, I also felt deep-seated anger towards my brothers for the abuse I experienced from them and for their total disregard for cleanliness and good manners. I hated them for it, for making me feel like I was growing up in a pigsty with a bunch of wallowing pigs!

This anger has permeated my whole life and has been so destructive to me as an individual, both emotionally and spiritually. I've struggled to love others, particularly men, and I've always trusted money more than God, another destructive result of the anger.

And now, wouldn't you know, God has me back in an almost exact same type of situation, except this time the lack of money is my own stupidity for listening to DU and not forcing them to fire me and I have plenty of food so far, since I've been able to get food stamps at least through the end of July. Otherwise, it's pretty much the same because two of the brothers, Tom and JD, who I felt such anger towards are living with me. The third one, Martin, passed away in 2009. Although JD has been fairly well trained in cleanliness around food by my friend Chris and me during the past year of all of us living together, my other brother still has a long ways to go. This afternoon, I went to get the tub of butter out of the fridge and the lid and sides of the butter tub were covered with various food pieces and auto grease. It was soooooo gross and it brought up all of the old feelings of anger and bitterness towards my brothers for acting like we live in a barnyard.

Well, I don't want to hold onto the anger this time. I want to let it go and not let it permeate my whole life. I am asking God to help me to forgive my parents, Him, and my brothers and help me to let it go emotionally and spiritually. Yes, I can also request that my brother wash his hands in the future before touching any food items and keep reminding him as long as I have to until he finally gets the message, but just having to face the yuckiness and stupidity of this situation today, when everything is such a struggle to face anyways has almost been too much!

But Lord, here I am. I'm still going to trust that You love me and care for me and that You will help me turn things around when the time is right. Thank You for Your grace and mercy and Your faithfulness. Amen.


Monday, June 20, 2011

How long and how far...

Have you ever been hiking a trail that is much longer than you realized and is taking much more energy than you had planned on or were prepared for?

Just before the start of my senior year in academy (high school), I moved out to Scottsdale, Arizona, to Thunderbird Adventist Academy. I was planning to start my senior year there and had gone out during the summer before so I could become familiar with the school and begin working to help pay for my room and board and tuition.

I don't remember if it was a youth group or some other group that I joined with, but whatever group it was, we decided to take a trip up to the Grand Canyon. We wanted to hike down the Bright Angel trail (9.3 miles) to the campground, spend the night, and hike back up the following morning. Going down was fairly easy, although near the end it was starting to get dark, which made it a little scary, but we all made it down quickly and spent the night on the floor of the canyon.

The next morning, bright and early, before anyone else got up, I decided I wanted to get a head start going back up the canyon. I had come to know that the Arizona sun was indeed very hot by mid-day and there was no way I wanted to still be climbing the canyon. What I didn't think about when I had this bright idea and as I got started on the trail back up is that I didn't have enough water in my canteen to keep me from getting dehydrated and enough food to keep my blood sugar normal. To say the least, as I kept climbing and climbing up the canyon, I became more and more dehydrated and my blood sugar dropped further and further and it was harder and harder to put one foot in front of the other.

As I continued to hike, I began to feel as if I would never make it back up that canyon and began to worry about dying out there. I didn't know any of the other people on the trail since I had left all of my group back at the camp, which was very dangerous for me to have done. Thankfully, I wasn't the only one on the trail that day, otherwise I might would have died. Near the end of the trail when I was just barely functioning, someone gave me an orange to bring my blood sugar back up. Someone else gave me water from their canteen.

Well, I did make it back up to the top of the canyon, but was severely reprimanded by the park rangers at the station. I had to lay down for several hours, while they gave me water to rehydrate me and kept a close watch over me until my own group members arrived and we all headed back to school.

I remember thinking several times on the grueling climb back up that day that I just didn't know if I would make it. I could barely force one foot in front of another. It was the feeling of reaching your limit, of being stretched, whether emotionally, physically, spiritually, or mentally or in every area, and wondering if you are going to make it or if you might just lay down and "die."

This is what this jobless and moneyless situation feels like to me. I feel stretched to the utmost and I think, Lord, how far and how long are you going to stretch me? Can we have a break? Stop and rest and have some water to drink? How long, O' Lord, how long?

Well, I didn't die that day, hiking up the Grand Canyon, and I daresay that somehow I will survive this too. Only God knows just how far and how long I can be stretched before "breaking." And only God knows why He has chosen to allow this "stretching" to happen and to allow it to continue beyond anything I had imagined, but I sure hope I come forth as "gold," and not just "silver" out of this one! LOL!

On to another day of being "stretched" to the utmost!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I've been sifted...

Have you ever been "sifted"? Let me explain. In Luke 22:31-34, Jesus told the disciple Simon Peter that Satan had asked to "sift" all of the disciples, including Peter.

31"Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has asked excessively that (all of) you be given up to him--out of the power and keeping of God--that he might sift (all of) you like grain, [Job 1:6-12; Amos 9:9.] 32But I have prayed especially for you [Peter] that your [own] faith may not fail; and when you yourself have turned again, strengthen and establish your brethren. 33And [Simon Peter] said to Him, Lord, I am ready to go with You both to prison and to death. 34But Jesus said, I tell you, Peter, before a [single] cock shall crow this day, you will three times [utterly] deny that you know me. (Amplified Translation).

Oh yes, I've been sifted. God has allowed the "moths to come in and destroy" (Matthew 6:19), and allowed the "devourer [insects and plagues]" (Malachi 3:11) to consume what I had because I was not faithful in fulfilling my vows to God. Even though I had promised God I would do something six months ago, a year ago, two years ago, I have not done what I promised; I have chosen to "put off" paying the vow when I could have and should have paid.

Oh Lord God, please do not let me do this again! Please remind me of the pain and stress my disobedience causes. Help me to be faithful to You at all times, not just when it's convenient. Amen.

Monday, June 6, 2011

My prayer today...

O' Lord God, please have mercy upon me today. Please give me a grateful heart, a heart that sees Your blessings, kindness, mercy, and faithfulness. Please help me to see myself as I really am, a sinner in need of mercy and grace, and a daughter of The King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Please give me a humble, contrite heart, a heart "sensitive and responsive" to Your touch and voice as You have promised in Ezekiel 11:19-20 (Amplified Translation). May I learn to forgive others and myself, just as You have forgiven me. Help me to "run the way of Your commandments" and please "give me a heart that is willing" as You have promised in Psalm 119:32 (Amplified Translation). Thank You. Amen.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Feeling "Hemmed In"

Today, when thinking about my circumstances of no job, no income, no money in the bank (in fact, the account is minus as of today) and plenty of bills that are already past due, I realized that I feel "hemmed in." It's like no matter if I try to go forward, backwards, or sideways, there is no way out of the "box" of my circumstances; there doesn't seem to be anything I can do to make it change and nothing I do seems to change anything. 

I've only been in this "box" one other time that I can readily remember and it was for similar circumstances, except at that time I had a job, an income, but my income wasn't enough to cover my bills. I had just enough to cover food, gas, electric, and very little else. Eventually, the situation eased up, but it took quite a while before it did.

Now I'm in similar, if not worse straits financially and today I wanted to know more about what God may or may not be doing by "hemming me in." In Psalms 139:5, David talks about God "hemming him in," or at least that is what the NIV says. In the Amplified, it says, "You have beset me and shut me in behind and before, and have laid Your hand upon me. " When I read the whole chapter, the "hemming in" sounds more like protection and blessing than negative. But I continued to look up other verses. In Psalms 4:1 (Amplified), David says, "Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness [uprightness, justice and right standing with You]! You have freed me when I was hemmed in and enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me and hear my prayer." This is obviously an example of being "hemmed in" by enemies and God has freed him from the circumstances.

The interesting thing when comparing the two different verses above is that in one, it sounds like God is doing the "hemming in" (Psalms 139:5) and in the other (Psalms 4:1), God is doing the freeing from the "being hemmed in." So, it appears that sometimes God hems us in and sometimes He frees us from being hemmed in.

While looking up Biblical information on the topic, I came across a couple of blog postings that talk about being hemmed in. One author, MTJ, at the blog site, My Thought-filled Journey: Hemmed In , talks about the Israelites at the Red Sea and how they were "hemmed in." According to MTJ, "They feared Pharaoh and his army. But God wanted to move them from the place of fear to the place of faith. To get them to the place of faith," (MTJ, 2010) i.e., God had to "hem them in" so that He could then "deliver Israel and demolish Pharaoh's army." (MTJ, 2010). They needed to see God as their Deliverer, their Savior, the One to turn to in faith and hope.

In the case of the Israelites, it appears that God brought them to a place where they were "hemmed in" so that He could show them His power and as noted in the paragraph above, move them from fear of Pharaoh to faith in God. I expect this is the type of "hemming in" I'm experiencing in my life. I have felt that unless God saves me, I'm finished, I'm done in financially. In fact, one of my greatest fears has been and is the lack of money. The lack of money to pay my bills and take care of my needs, and it may be that God is wanting to move me from my place of fear that comes from a "lack of money" to a place of faith, dependent upon Him, my true source. I desire to be delivered from my love/hate relationship with "mammon" and the only way God can deliver me is to require me to face the fear with Him at my side.

Another interesting point brought out by MTJ was that when he has been "hemmed in" he is not without hope. He will trust God to deliver him. He will "walk to the shoreline." He will do his part "and trust God to make a way." (MTJ, 2010).

So now, reflecting upon these verses and the story of the Israelites, it does give me some hope. I can better see why God would bring me to this point again and in worst circumstances than before. I have nowhere to turn, but to cry out to my God, "Please save me," and walk forward, trusting Him to open a pathway when the time is right, doing what I can like applying to DHS (Oh yeah, that was fun!), protesting the UIA's determination to deny unemployment benefits (Such joy!), and continuing to apply to jobs, knowing that eventually the right one, at the right time, will be there. Hopefully, growing in faith and recognizing that "mammon" or money is not my source, God is!

Reference: MTJ. (11/2010). Hemmed in. My Thought-filled Journey blog. Retrieved June 2, 2011, from:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

déjà vu (already seen)...

This morning I'm experiencing déjà vu, or another way to put it would be "been here, done this." My Bible reading for this morning included Ruth 1 and 2. In the story, Naomi says upon her return to her hometown Bethlehem, " me not Naomi [pleasant], call me Mara [bitter]; for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me" (Amplified Translation).

Here I am again (see April 4, 2008) ! Boy, how I hate being here and how I hate working through the mess again. In 2008, I was just coming off from having lost my home after the attempt to move to Montana in May 2007. That trip brought me so many losses financially and emotionally that it took months or even a full year to feel "blessed" again. And now here I am again in similar circumstances, but this time without a job to go back to. Although I believe that God will provide a job soon, I am experiencing losses again, just as I did back in 2007.

Since 2007, I have come to realize that I was deceived by the enemy appearing as an "angel of light," into believing that moving to Montana to be closer to a man I had fallen for was God's will. I was praying the whole time, but unfortunately, I don't think I was listening. I kept having nagging thoughts and feelings that maybe I shouldn't go, maybe I needed to rethink the whole thing, but I had already gone so far down the path that I felt compelled to keep moving forward towards what became my own financial/emotional destruction, or almost destruction, except for the grace of God!

Unfortunately, a similar thing has happened with the job I took in September 2010. Although I really enjoyed my job at WMU, I felt angry that nothing was being done to upgrade the position, so that we, the team members, could be paid what we should have been paid. I was also frustrated that there seemed to be no room to grow. So, when DU wanted to interview me, I was very ripe for being deceived by the enemy again. I wanted two things: more pay and room to grow, and DU seemed to offer both. Again, I was praying, but I don't know that I was listening. I had a few nagging thoughts and feelings even after the second interview, but I was so longing for more pay and room to grow that I again felt compelled to go forward towards what became my own financial/emotional destruction. Ugh!

Been here, done this, don't ever want to do this again! Although it is very painful and frustrating to be here again and experiencing such losses, I'm thankful that God will see me through it, again. But, I have to say, I hope this is the last time I allow myself to be deceived in such manner. I pray that I'll not only be praying, but also fully listening. I pray that the next time I'm making a huge decision and I experience those "nagging thoughts and feelings" again, I'll stop and rethink my choices, my decision, and never go down this path again!

Friday, May 13, 2011

What does it mean to be precious, honored, and loved...

Two weeks ago I had to give up my job. It was very stressful in that the job turned out to be significantly different than I thought it would be and when I talked with my boss about the mismatch and that I would need training to be able to do the job, I thought she understood. Unfortunately she didn't and I never received the training I would have needed to do the job. Therefore, we finally came to the point where I knew I couldn't continue and she didn't want to.

On one hand, it's a relief to not be trying to do something I don't know how to do and was having to try and figure it out on my own, but on the other hand, it is quite stressful to be unemployed. I have applied to several temporary agencies, along with applying for a permanent position that is open at WMU, but nothing has actually showed up yet. One of the agencies has a long-term temporary job that sounds perfect to tie me over until I can get a permanent position, but the agency still hasn't heard anything from the company in response to my resume. I so badly wanted to be able to have work scheduled to start on Monday, but I'm having to surrender even this to God.

And, speaking of God, I have really struggled with being in this situation. My Direct TV past due balance is due today and I don't have the money to pay for it. All of my other bills are past due and will be sending me cut-off notices this next week, and I don't know where I'll get the money for rent in 2 weeks. I told God this morning that I wasn't feeling very loved. It's hard to feel precious, honored, and loved when my needs aren't being taken care of or it feels like they aren't being taken care of. Of course, I can't see the end from the beginning and God can. So, maybe there is something significant that is happening and all things will work out together for good, just as He has promised. I have to believe that is the case. Where else would I go? Who else could I really turn to? He is my Rock, my High Tower.

Friday, April 29, 2011


In the last several years, the phrase What Would Jesus Do or WWJD has become a popular phrase. Although there are times this would not apply, since there are some situations where He would not have placed Himself, I found myself wondering what He would do in my current situation?

Ever since taking the position I took back in Sept. of last year, I've been struggling with the environment, lack of training, and expectations that everyone seemed to have of me and the new position because it was significantly different than I expected or thought I was getting into. In fact, I wouldn't have taken the position if I had known what I learned  shortly after starting in the position.

This week, I ended up being given a bad review which was very traumatic for me. I have never received a bad review for my work and the fact that I have tried so hard and for some reason couldn't seem to get around the barriers I experienced, made it even harder on me. I've spent the last few days talking with HR to discuss the situation and identify what my options are, along with talking with my counselor, praying to God about the situation, and talking with friends and family.

A few minutes ago, the thought came to me: What would Jesus do? What did Jesus do? He stayed in the "fight" and allowed Himself to be crucified on our behalf...for the joy set before Him. Ouch!

My situation isn't nearly the same, of course. His decision had eternal consequences, whereas mine is fairly limited. Also, if I did stay to "fight" the situation, I would very likely continue looking for work elsewhere and eventually, I would probably find a position where I enjoyed not only the work, but the environment too.

I still don't know what my decision will be come Monday, but it's definitely something to think about.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Learning more about honesty...

I've always been an open and honest person and have sometimes gone overboard trying to be sure others knew everything that might would be construed as dishonest if they found out later vs right away. Even though I've always been honest for the most part, there has, on occasion, been times when I've not completely disclosed something or have written something that could be viewed as somewhat of an exaggeration of the truth and today God helped me to see more clearly my error in being even slightly dishonest.

About seven months ago, I interviewed for my current job. During the interviews, I tried to be sure I was completely honest about my lack of knowledge and skills in certain and specific software. I also tried to be completely honest about my lack of experience in several areas that were part of the job description. From the first interview, I got the impression that the interviewers understood my level of experience and knowledge, therefore, I felt comfortable with the interview questions and thought that it was understood that I would need to be trained in some areas. Additionally, I received the impression that I would be working with the Instructional Designer and that he would be able to help train me or get the training for me that I needed.

When I was called for the second interview, I was surprised to find that none of the first interviewers were to be included in the second interview. It seemed somewhat disconnected from the first interview, but I assumed I didn't need to restate anything in particular from the first interview, except when asked for something specific.

Two weeks into the new job and I recognized that there had been a mistake made, I realized that they had hired the wrong person and even said the same to my boss. She, on the other hand, did not recognize the mis-match yet and proceeded to give me the impression that everyone would "pull together" and help me acclimate to the new position. Week after week went by and I became even more distressed with the whole mis-match, finding out too late that there wouldn't be any training provided and that they had expected me to be able to "jump-in" and "take off" on my own immediately, without building a foundation for such a jump. I also found out too late that they wouldn't be providing any of the tools that I felt were necessary for the position.

To say the least, the position became extremely stressful and my confidence was worn down to almost nothing over the weeks/months of not making any progress towards a resolution of the discrepancy between the employer expectation and my expectations as the employee.

Today, I had an interview with another place for a position that I didn't think I was qualified for and had been surprised that they had even called me for an interview. Shortly after the interview started, I realized that there wasn't any way I had the qualifications, knowledge, and experience they were looking for, so I let the interviewers know that and we ended the interview. Just before we ended the interview, I asked the interviewer what had made them think I might be qualified for the position? He said that my mention of a Web content management application called Drupal in my cover letter made them think I might be qualified.

On the way home from the interview, I recognized that I shouldn't have included that "Drupal" comment within my cover letter and that I need to be more careful about being fully honest and fact-based when writing up my resume and cover letter. Additionally, I need to be more careful about not embellishing the facts to make myself "look good" or to try to improve my chances at a job. I didn't seek to embellish or be dishonest in any way, but mentioning Drupal based upon expectations that I was going to get the chance to use it and become more familiar with it prior to any possible interview, but not based upon the fact that I hadn't gotten the opportunity yet at the time I wrote the cover letter, was in fact an embellishment of the truth and/or dishonest declaration. Lesson learned and forgiveness asked of God. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Where could I go, but to the Lord...

Today has been challenging in numerous ways. In fact the last week has been challenging all the way through. Between being very sick, not having enough money to cover expenses, let alone to make the trip I had planned to Tennessee, feeling like a complete failure at work, hating my job, feeling anxious in my relationship with FC, controversial changes being made to our church service by our Pastor, and then an email from a niece today asking for advice on what to do about their Dad, since none of them can deal with him and their Dad doesn't seem motivated to do anything much for himself right now. Today has seemed like way too much on my plate!

Lord, I don't know why this is all on my plate at the same time and how I am expected to deal with all of it, but I surrender it to You for Your intervention on everyone's behalf. Thank you!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Results of non-values' based decision making...

I’m actually feeling very resentful and angry today at my job, the people I work with, the projects on my plate, the “group” think that goes on, and the enemy who deceived me.

I value money, but not above time to relax, time to spend with family and friends, time to have a relationship with someone special, etc. And yet, I chose money over having time available to me. So, why did I choose money over time? Did I choose it over time because I also thought I would have opportunity to grow which is more important to me than money? Yes, that would definitely be one of the reasons. Unfortunately, it turns out that I have to grow all on my own, without any help or training, which was not what I expected or wanted. Are there any other reasons I chose money over a less stressful life? What was I really seeking when I chose this job over the job I had?
  • Money
  • Growth
  • A prestigious-sounding title
  • Acknowledgement or appreciation for what I do
Unfortunately, what I actually received is stress, feelings of failure, a job I don't enjoy, no acknowledgement or appreciation for what I do, additional money, but with it came additional expenses, so I'm not any further ahead financially, growth that is a constant struggle, since I'm having to learn everything through trial and error, rather than receiving training, a prestigious-sounding title without the skills to go with it, and I have less time available to me, which I value more.

This has definitely been a learning lesson, albeit a painful one. Hopefully, I'll be able to correct the situation within a reasonable time frame, Lord willing.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Making resolutions a month or two late...

The month of January and beginning of February were very busy and stressful in a negative way. This new job at DU has been stressful since day one and the stress of not knowing what I'm suppose to do or how to do what I'm suppose to do has only increased the longer I'm there. And then I ended up behind in my online class and have struggled week by week to catchup, which has only added to my negative stress level and loss of sleep. Finally, my body said "no more" by coming down with "the crud"! Yuck!

This is going to become a turning point for me...NO MORE NEGATIVE STRESS for a while. I don't know what exactly I'll be able to do about the job situation, but I know that I'm done with "pretending" everything is okay when it's not. I am going to speak the truth and let the chips fall wherever they are meant to fall.

I desire to be healthy and a big part of being healthy requires that I be at peace with people, work that I need to do, and circumstances, not stressed all the time because I'm trying to fulfill something I'm not able to fulfill. I'm resolving to take better care of myself and to make the choices needed to become healthier and less stressed.