A small life, I won’t have

A quiet life, yes. But not a small one.

A quality life, yes. But not a boring one.

A quickened life, yes. Not a depressed one.

He came to bring life, and life to the full. The abundant. A life filled with joy. A life covered in peace, where the anxiety is drowned out, seeped over the edges, and buried far below the surface of the earth and destroyed by lava.

Haha seriously though. When Jesus enters into your heart, there is no room for both anxiety and His peace to reign. So anxiety isn’t just covered up with a band-aid. It’s swallowed up and disappeared. It’s evaporated. It’s dead and gone. It’s no more!

The peace of God reigns forever, and is always available to those who earnestly seek the Lord and ask Him for it! That is a prayer that God forever answers so quickly.

Ask God for peace, and His peace, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Ohhh yes Lord. I thank you for this beautiful autumn day. The leaves are extra-crunchy out there. The sky has a few fluffy clouds, but the sky has a blue background. My windows are open to the elements and it was really lovely to hear so many bird songs right outside. Creation is alive and giving thanks to You, our great, omnipotent God!

Omnipotent: all-powerful

This was the attribute that we relayed to the children at bible study this week. God, you are SO powerful! To be able to speak life into existence with one Word. We are surely in awe of You.

~*~

Thank you for hearing our prayers and for answering them. Thank you for your Faithfulness every day and for your provision, understanding, comfort, healing, gifts, presence, and great love. Thank you for being a servant-leader and leading by example. Oh, how we seek to honor you and desire you above all things, almighty God, our Rock and Redeemer.

Thank you for another day. Lord, direct my thoughts, words and deeds this day, for your glory. Amen

<3

xxx

V

Trusting You For This Day

Lord,

It’s like this. Whatever it is that you’ve called me to do this day, I shall do it. And not resent it. I shall happily accept whatever it is that you have laid before me, that you have put on my plate, with joy.

I will not be bitter.

I will not complain.

I will not wish I were elsewhere or cry out “why is this happening to me?”

I will not let my feelings govern my steps. I will not keep using the excuse “I don’t feel like it”.

Instead of repeating “I’m so tired”, I will change it to “I’m SO thankful”.

Lord turn my grumblings into gratitude.

from Panera. but cut like a heart <3 πŸ™‚

Help me be more forgiving of other people and see them through Your lens of compassion.

Oh, to have a Love like Yours.

Oh, to know You and be known by You.

What a privilege. What an honor.

Lord, in actuality, there are no words to describe what a gift. What a joy divine.

Leaning on the everlasting arms.

All I can do is worship.

“Everlasting Arms” by Iris DeMent

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning,
Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Oh, how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
Oh, how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning,
Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
Leaning, leaning,
Safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning,

Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Go and trust Him today. He is making you into a saint today. He is working to make you holy. In His perfect time, at His deliberate pace. Trust Him.

<3

Love you all!

xxx

V

thank you

for the rain

that brings a grey shadow to my windows

and make the flowers grow

while I sleep a bit longer

zinnia

and I thank you

for all the challenges that are presented day to day

in word and deed

that cause me to grow

bigger than this mushroom

look at dis fatty

okay, maybe not physically

not physically growing (I hope)

but in the capacity to love (yes)

and forgive (also yes)

and endure

and not grow weary in doing good works

but [learning to] encourag[e] each other

and all the more

as the day approaches (Hebrews 10:24-25)

(good segway into announcing that I’m getting married)

grateful for this man

far beyond grateful, in actuality

for all that he is

all that he brings

pure, solid gold

and glittering fruits

that color my world

and for time

precious time

to reflect, refresh, and be restored

like this day

where I write and ponder and relish

on all of God’s goodness to me

His faithfulness to me

His love for me

and I rest in this Truth:

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe” Hebrews 12:28

xxx <3 V

“I can’t do it”

I’m positive that we all have a long list of things that we can’t do.

It’s tempting to focus on this list, especially when it affects us and our lives directly.

For example, sometimes I can’t walk down the stairs normally because my knee swells up. It’s a little bit tempting to throw myself a pity party or allow myself to become angry or discouraged by my limitation.

The reality is, my knee is in this state at this time and I must bear the consequences. It won’t do me much good to sit around and contemplate my limitations, oft becoming more and more discouraged.

It’s always healthier to focus on what we can do.

I can encourage people. Instead of sitting around focusing on being discouraged the Lord used me to encourage somebody. It went like this:

She needed a hug. It was painted into her expressions and the way her shoulders slumped. “Well, back to work I go”. Eeyore had taken over her body and a full-size donkey-of-a-woman stood in her place; on hind legs.

Give her a hug was the nudge that I felt from el SeΓ±or, Holy Spirit.

I hesitated and when she left the room I mentioned that I thought I should have hugged her to the other person in the room.

“Oh, yes! Definitely hug her!” was her response. So I decided to hug her when I left.

A few minutes later I walked upstairs and said “hey, I just wanted to give you a hug!”

Within a couple minutes she was crying and saying how encouraged she felt. I felt the presence of the Lord very strongly and we were both laughing and ministering to each other for over an hour.

I felt the joy of the Lord so strongly during that hour of fellowship. She thanked me for “being obedient to the Holy Spirit” and confessed that she had felt spiritually down and dark all weekend. By the time our conversation was over, her affect had changed completely. It was as though life had been breathed into her. That’s what encouragement is.

Don’t have a VW bug, but a VW mug is pretty cool πŸ˜›

It’s so tempting to focus on ourselves constantly. Which, in my opinion, is pretty depressing. A better place to enlist my focus is on the Maker of all things. The Father of all, Creator of All, Ultimate Guide, Wise King and Lover of my soul. Wow. What a better thing to be focused on! I can’t think of anything better.

Adrian Rogers once said “to rejoice is a choice”. So choose joy. The best way to do this is to keep your eyes and ears open for the leading of Jesus. God doesn’t look for perfect people to carry out His work. In fact, there is no one perfect but God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. God has always used the fools to shame the wise.

So give Him the glory today!!!!!!!!!!!!

<3

xxx

Like this post if it encouraged you! Leave a comment below saying how God used you when you didn’t feel fit to be used.

Dementia

Good morning, midday or evening to whomever you are, wherever you are. I’m writing from a little cubicle-like 2-person booth at a Panera bread across from a well-educated world traveler. We’re both wearing glasses and have cups of hot coffee in front of us, and even went as far as to order the same breakfast. A bacon, scrambled egg, lettuce and tomato wrap. It’s Monday morning at 10:28am and we’re ready to carpe this diem!

What to do when I’m alongside this new friend of mine is always a mystery. A lottery of the will, really. Whatever she feels like doing in combination with what I feel like doing is what we do. To put that in simpler terms, if I think of something that I want to do, and happen to suggest it in just the right way to get her to agree to this plan, then we’ll do it. Presentation is everything. But if I present the activity in the wrong manner, she will have no interest or desire to join me.

For example. If I say “do you want to go to the movies?” she will promptly say “no”. However, if I say “Oh, wow!! There are actually quite a few decent movies playing right now!” Then her interest will be piqued and I can suggest a title or two and read the descriptions. At that point when her eyebrows are arching and her mouth turns into a slight frown as she contemplates the veracity of how cunning and appealing the descriptions really are, I lead with “I don’t know… do you wanna try it?”. Works every time.

When I want to go for a walk, I say “I’m going for a walk” and then proceed to start getting ready for said walk. She may automatically say “well I’m pissed and do not feel like going for a walk” or she may say nothing at all; but regardless of her response, after a moment or two, I invite her along for the walk with these words: “you’re welcome to come on the walk if you’d like! I’m just going around the block”. At which point she’ll say “oh, sure, I could use the exercise” and proceed to get ready for the walk herself.

Sometimes she just wants to be heard. Sometimes she just wants to go through all of the different thoughts in her head and then say “okay, so what’s the plan?” at which point I’ll respond differently, but usually in ways like this:

“To be honest, I have no plan! I’m just going to find some food at some point! And I have some things I can do. But if you want to do anything, just let me know! See, my friend here doesn’t want to feel like I’m taking care of her. She wants me to be a comrade. She probably would prefer if I were a coworker. She misses her company so much. She misses working so much. And business meetings. And lunch meetings. And setting up new contracts. And facilitating. She did it for 30+ years and had to stop two years go when the dementia set in.

She is stressed out. She’s in a new location and has a new occupation. She wants to be working but it was stripped away from her. The disease stripped her job away from her. Her purpose, as she understands it. Now she spends obscene amounts of time worrying about her company, her 3 different houses and condos, and she worries about why she isn’t in them. She becomes angry over her presence in her daughter’s house and refuses to accept it as her new reality.

All I can do is try to take care of her well. To do things that are good for her body, mind and soul. She loves walking, but won’t agree to it often. Yet when she’s out there doing it, she’s at peace. She loves observing people and engaging with them. She loves analyzing people and trying to understand them. She is very caring and compassionate and cares about justice.

We cannot begin to understand why some people get dementia, and we certainly can’t understand how to help people recover. The best way to treat a person with dementia is with patience and love. You can’t get mad at someone with dementia for asking the same question 100 times in an hour. Or for feeding their cat 4 times in 10 minutes. A sickness is a sickness. A disease is a disease.

So I do what I can. I treat her with respect and try to think of ways to take care of her as best as I can. So we go to Panera. And we do fun things that she enjoys. And we laugh. And I listen to her stories, over and over again. And I listen with interest. And respond with love. And we live one day at a time. One hour at a time. Just trying to savor the moments. Together. She is a person.

Treating people with dignity is the only way to go. No matter how different they are, how much older or younger. What color their skin is. Where they’ve been or where they’re trying to go. Whether they’re sick, disabled, homeless, an ex-gang member, a christian, an atheist, man, woman, child. We are to treat people with love. Dementia doesn’t change that.

The vehicle that dignity drives is love. Love and dignity and respect go together. These three things make life a much more vivid, colorful, warm experience.

xoxox

<3

V

Slow learner (and pretty photos)

Seriously?

I have an ice pack on my groin.

Y’know why?

Cuz I just went surf-skating.

And uhh

I didn’t warm up.

Unless you count bombing down a hill for 15 seconds before jumping off the board so I didn’t die and then pulling a muscle in my downstairs.

Yahhh cool beans.

First of all.

Umm.

I really wanted to skate. And I only skated for 15 seconds.

Cuz I’m old.

And pulled a muscle in my groin-space.

After 15 seconds.

Yeah.

I’ma keep this on the down low.

HAHA JK IM GONNA PUT IT ON THE INTERNET!

facepalm-ness. lol

Guyz. I had an icepack down there.

TOO COLD

Okay. I’m done talking about that aspect. More importantly, this:

when am I gonna lean? To ease into things?

GOSH my haste makes waste. KNOWN DIS

lol why is it so easy to act impulsively?

without thinking of consequences.

lol

slow.

learner.

sometimes it takes me soooo many times before I learn a lesson. Golly

I know my punctuation is harrible. I am also spelling some words wrong because I think it’s FUNNEE

but the slow learning part? Not too funny :/

Anyway, maybe this pain will teach me a lesson.

WARM UP PROPERLY

Everytime.

Yeah. Take it from me folks. Ease into things in life.

Don’t rush in. For real. Whatever it is. Job opportunity. Relationship prospect. New church. Meal in front of you. Dawg. Take your time and enjoy.

Better yet, take your time and mull things over. Ease in. Breathe in between steps, bites, thoughts.

What on earth is the rush? She asks herself.

Yeah. Still trying to figure that one out.

K, love you guyz

V

Writing just to write (& arboretum photos 😍)

Y’know, sometimes you just gotta write. So I’m coming atcha from Panera Braaads with my coffee and maybe, just maybe, a blueberry scone. And I’m sitting across from my twin who’s in her 80s and we both have dark-rimmed glasses and denim button down shirts on. It’s pretty awesome. Oh, yeah, and she has a blueberry pastry as well. A muffin, however. And we both have coffee.

And it’s a little quiet in here because we came at 10am instead of the normal 8:30. The reason being, we took a lovely walk this morning. And discussed women-owned businesses and the challenges that come with having one.

She talked about how men have a hard time reporting to women. That was in the nineties. I think it still happens somewhat today. And it definitely was way worse back in the day. I’m just glad that Jesus was always for fair treatment of women. He never degraded women. He only always elevated women. He taught and healed women. He first revealed Himself to a woman when he came out of the tomb. Galatians 3:28 says we are all equal. In Ephesians, husbands are supposed to “love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”. Essentially, husbands are called to lay down their lives for their wives.

People haven’t actually studied the bible and don’t know God, yet assume so many things about God and the way He works and the way He loves. They assume God is a misogynist who wants to control, objectify and suppress women.

Yet God laid down His life for women. All women. While it’s true that not all people are saved, it IS God’s will for all people to be saved. All men, and all women.

mmk bye for now!

xxx

V

People remember

kind acts.

Kind acts go a long, long way. This morning I was reminded of when some random people lent me and my BFF their $650 tent in the woods when we were backpacking the John Muir Trail in California in 2014. These two folks were observing our ginormous 8 pound, 8-person tent that the two of us were carting around in our already heavy backpacks and made a suggestion.

“Send your tent home and we’ll have our friend bring you guys a lighter tent when we meet up with him at the next food resupply in two days.”

We were so surprised and thankful for their offer! We agreed and borrowed their tent.

May be an image of 2 people and people smiling

It weighed only 14 oz and was perfect for the two of us. Okay, maybe a leeeeeeeeetle cozy ;-P

But we were so thankful to Jeanine and Craig. Who does that?

My BFF and I concluded that people over 10k feet are generally pretty cool.

I told this story to a new friend and she told me that it sounds like there is a “brotherhood” among the trail family. I thought that was a perfect description. But moreso, we will never forget their kindness.

To think that a single act of kindness would be forever engrained into our memories is a beautiful, powerful thing. It’s been 7 years since they lent us that tent, and the memory is still as kind and wonderful as when it first occurred.

Deep-seated, selfless kindness is an act of love. Real love. With no hidden agenda. No strings attached. No tit for tat. And it is long lasting.

I want to remember this! And pay it forward.

What a sweet memory. That still lives in my mind <3

Thanks Jeanine and Craig πŸ™‚

xxx

V

blue and white

pots and plants and wooden floors

cat and sand and double doors

construction and cords

seed and birds

dogs walking people outside

a fluffy duvet, purplish gray

cords and crumbs and dog hair

instant coffee and pill boxes

garden hose and hammock swinging

newspaper in the driveway

clock is ticking

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

selfie

Every once in a while I look around and take it all in. Breathe it all in.

I sit and wait and breathe and listen.

Exist. Be.

Just be.

“Just be Velvet” is the best advice I’ve ever gotten. Who I am, where I am, right now.

Just breathe and just be!

All we know that we have is right now, today!

xxx

Love you all!

V

According to plan…

lol things definitely have not gone according to the plan. But there’s something very fun and freeing about living in the unknown. I have to admit, I enjoy not being in charge. Well, let’s put it this way, I enjoy God being in charge.

I enjoy and can rest in the Fact that God drives the car and I’m in the passenger seat. He carries my load. I don’t have to. He does give me a plate though; with the following items on the plate:

(I’m going to keep this very vague):

Take care of the people that I put on your path, daughter. And do enjoy them πŸ™‚

.

..

..

.

It’s very simple, actually. Do what God has called you to do. Even when it’s hard. We all have desires of our hearts and we have aspirations etc. but we have to simply do what God has called us to do. Go where God has called us to go. Sometimes I wonder what it is that God would have me to do but it is so so soooo easy to find out what that is. This is how you do it:

Sunday Selfie πŸ˜›
  1. Stop what I’m doing (or when I’ve just finished what I had been doing, stop for a moment) and:
  2. Acknowledge God’s presence. Say “hello” and breathe, and thank God for this moment and this day, and:
  3. Ask for His direction.
  4. Ask for strength to complete whatever it is that I am called to do.
I’m spoiled.

Sometimes this means giving up what I had originally planned. But what is means most of the time is that God enables me to do whatever it is that He puts on my heart to do. He is our Father, and He answers our prayers when we asks. Yes, this includes long-term prayers and big prayers, but it also means simple every day prayers that God answers to help us re-focus and be re-charged.

God’s plan is the only plan I want to follow. And He will continually lead us to follow His plan as we enter His presence, seek His face, listen to His voice and obey.

Lord, wow. Just, wow. I trust you. I trust you. I trust your promises. I believe you. I think I’m finally starting to actually believe your promises. Your promises that you actually do take care of me. That you actually do provide ALL that I need. ALL!!! Everything!!!!!!!!! Peace, rest, provision, fun, celebrations, joy, family, friends…. rest…. Life. Life to the full. Thank you Lord for sharing this full life with me <3 Te amo <3 And thank you for helping me trust in Your plans and be willing to be flexible. I just LOVE how you surprise me with SO many good things each and every day. You know what I like and you know what I love and I trust you!!! With all my heart <3 And I am learning to choose to trust you each and every day. Thank you for your great and wonderful ongoing plan!

xxx

V