Take Five

I’ma just take five minutes or so and write whatever on earth comes to my mind. So. We started our painting company. And… it’s been a busy summer! I can’t beLIEVE we are here mid-way through August. The last 7 weeks have absolutely FLOWN by. I’m just glad my husband and I made some intentional time to have fun 🙂

Lol. We took more pictures but they are all just awful. Gotta work on picture taking skills. Actually, I’m the only inept one. He is an awesome photographer.

Well I definitely just got distracted and came back 2 hours later! So much for that 5 minute brain dump post. 😛

Hope y’all have an amazing weekend. If you are in a relationship, look for the best in your partner today. Don’t meditate on the worst or on one little annoyance (or maybe a whole list!) because if you are with them there also is a whole list of amazing things that you love about them. And if you’ve forgotten those traits, it’s time to start looking again 🙂

Cheers!

V

Grateful

I look around and see your provision. Everything I see has been given to me! Thank you for filling my life with so much goodness.

Your goodness pours out like sweet honeysuckle

Knowing you is so sweet. Knowing the depth of your love and care and provision is incredible. It’s one thing to say the truth with words; it’s another to believe it in one’s heart.

You are who you say you are.

Creator

What an artist… what a story-teller. An author. What a dreamer, a visionary, a poet. What a romantic. A comedian. An inspirer. You give hope and inspiration to everyone near to you because you embody hope.

I think back to before I knew you and consider the direction of my life. I’m not sure what exactly I was striving for or why, but it probably had to do with acceptance. I wanted acceptance and I wanted love. But I was looking for it from people. And now I know where it’s found.

You are love. Love is found in you.

We love because you first loved us.

I can’t quite put my finger on why. Why you love us. But I know partially. It’s because you created us, and you call us your children. You want to pour yourself out before us and give us yourself. You already fully did it once, a long many years ago. But I find that you are constantly pouring yourself out, in goodness, love and mercy.

I love the life I am living with you. You fight my battles through me. I only walk forward in obedience. You’ve taught me a lot, and I know I have so much more to learn. But I have learned this:

-to listen for your voice

-to give you the glory

-to start my sentences with “but God…”

because I know these to be true:

-you really do know everything, see everything, and are sovereign over everything

-you really do work all things together for my good

-you really do love and care about me… even when it may not seem like it to the world. If my circumstances are troublesome. It’s easy for the world to say “where is your God now?”

But I know where you are. I know that you’re with me. And NOTHING can separate me from your love.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39

And thank you for this beautiful human <3

Have an amazing day!!!!!!!!!! <3

xxx

V

Examples of Love

If you’re wondering if you really love somebody or if somebody really loves you or ever loved you, here are a few examples that show what love does and Who love is.

Love inquires when a need is present. Do you need help? Do you need anything? How can I help you?

Love reminds. Remember how that makes you feel when you do that. Remember what happened last time.

Love insists and follows through. Can I help you? No, really. Let me help you. Come on. No, it’s okay. It’s no big deal!

Love cares and pursues. How are you doing? How are you really doing? I haven’t heard from you in a while. I miss you.

Love expresses. I love you! I miss you! You mean so much to me. I appreciate you. I value you. I’m proud of you. I’m thankful for you.

Love tells the truth. It hurts me to see you like this. It scares me that you’re involved in this. It’s not a good idea to keep doing that.

Love confesses, apologizes and asks for forgiveness. I’m sorry for what I said to you. I was angry and took it out on you. I was wrong. Will you forgive me?

Love respects time and space. I’m here for you when you’re ready to talk about that.

Love takes no offense. I forgive you.

Love sets boundaries. We can talk about this in a civilized manner. If you’re not willing to do that, we can talk another time.

Love is patient.

Love recognizes that by the grace of God, we are who we are. Love recognizes that anything can happen to anybody; addiction, homelessness, bankruptcy. Even when we work the hardest and do all the “right” things, circumstances out of our control can change all of that effort in a blink.

Love surrenders. Lord, I realize that I have very little control over most of the things in my life. I trust that you are good, and that you will always take care of me as I walk with you and obey your commands. Help me love like you love. Not based on condition, but because You loved me first. My life is in your hands.

Love you all! xoxox <3

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

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

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 🙂

xxx

V

should christians date nonchristians?

Should christians date nonchristians?

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The same moon.

Dear N, 

Remember when …

we both looked up at the sky from different places and saw the same moon? You were on one side of the island, and I was on another. And we saw the very same moon. 🙂 Big, bright, beautiful. It glowed in the sky and shone so brightly that if it had breath, I could feel it breathe on me.

How close I felt to you, dear one, as we considered life and love and relationships and what we deserved. It was a magical moment. So filled with joy, I didn’t know what to do with myself but sing out to you through the night sky and wonder if you could hear my voice from a faraway distance. 

Can you hear me? Do the vibrations of my voice carry through the noise and the hustle, the bustle. Did my words make it all the way to your ears, entering into your stream of consciousness, one at a time, formulating phrases and sentences that hopefully demonstrated how much you mean to me.

Can you hear me now? As I reminisce on the times we gallivanted through the picturesque streets of West Side and contemplated what it would be like to date different people and end up in different places. You were living in that mansion at the time, and I, on the island. What beautiful times. What beautiful memories; like of your little lime tree growing in the open room. Or was it a lemon tree? 

N, I think of you often and wonder what it would be like if time travel were possible; what I would have said to you, or not have said. The time I pretended to smoke pot with you instead of telling you that I didn’t want to do it anymore. 

I saw that same moon tonight. The same exact moon, only a little bit older. The moon doesn’t change. It’s the same one that comes every single night faithfully and can be seen from all over the world. 

Beautiful. Magical. Accessible. I wonder why God created the moon? If not to make me feel closer to you and closer to Him. Those two reasons are good enough in themselves.

Goodnight Moon. 

<3

 

Joy

The difference between happiness and joy is this: happiness is fleeting and joy is a state of being.

By the power of the Holy Spirit I can remain joyful throughout any situation. No matter how many fiery darts are flying in my direction; darts of disappointment, discouragement, disdain, detestation (wow, this is a word… I like it!!! even though it means “intense dislike” hhahah 🙂 )

As the darts roll in, I can let them roll off. My back, that is.

How?

Because of the knowledge of the Truth that I am in Christ Jesus and was bought by His blood when He died on the cross 2k years ago. I trust Him with my life, and know that I stand victorious with Him against any schemes that the enemy might conjure up.

So. That being said.

I’m at an interesting time in my life. I am still working as a private, in-home caregiver. I also just started a new endeavor doing direct sales. Direct sales can be discouraging if I choose to focus on the outcome of my reach-outs. What I mean by this is simple: rejection.

Nobody likes to be rejected… but if you are working in direct sales, you have GOT to get used to rejection. Not everyone is going to like the products, want the products. Some people may even get nasty. But I know this to be true: the war is not against the flesh and blood, but in the spiritual realm. So when people take out their negativity and hatred on me, I must choose to look past it and believe that (1) it ain’t about me (2) it certainly ain’t about vegan, chemical-free, anti-aging shampoo and skincare (this is what my company offers! <3 ) and (3) I have a real opportunity to shine the light of Christ to each individual through my response to people.

Notice I said “response” and not “reaction”.

A person’s emotional intelligence (EI) can be observed through the way they deal with certain situations. When someone is being difficult, I could mirror back their pettiness and anger to them (as they might expect me to do), or I could treat them with love, compassion, and forgiveness and choose to focus on listening to them and helping them in whatever capacity. This is not to say that we should be rugs.

Don’t be a rug. Repeat: do not be a rug. I don’t want anyone to enable anyone. We are not to be enablers of bad or rude behavior.

But loving? Yes. We should all always be loving. I will listen to you. Even if you come at me from a horrible angle. Because I KNOW that it isn’t about me. Whatever work the Lord has me doing is for my sanctification, His glory, and for the sharpening of other people; be it shedding light in a dark place, encouraging others when they feel alone, enhancing somebody’s life by simply entering into their life.

Being a child of God is a big responsibility! But God didn’t leave us to do it alone. We are empowered by His Holy Spirit.

One of my favorite prayers is this: “Lord, please redirect me if I need to be redirected. Thankyou for always leading me down your path of righteousness. Lord, please line up my will with yours, and kill my desire for anything that isn’t in your will for my life. I want to live according to your design. I want to live life to the full, through the lens of grace.”

Something like that.

<3

No two prayers are ever the same. None of that ritualistic stuff. I talk to God like I talk to any other person. Openly, honestly, with transparency, authentically. For God knows the words we’re going to speak before we even think them. Isn’t that amazing? Psalm 139 says “even before a word is on my tongue, you know it altogether”.

Lord, you knew that I was going to write this post this morning. You knew that I wanted to go to the early service but then I got held up … and this is the result of that. Lord, I pray that this post and these words blesses somebody. I pray that these words were exactly what somebody needed to hear today. Lord, I thank you for your presence with me right now. Thank you for the opportunity to do laundry this morning. I thank you for my car. I pray that you help me travel safely. Thank you for being able to worship today. Thank you for my lunch meeting. Thank you for the afternoon meeting. Lord help me make good use of my time later. Thank you for my sabbath this weekend. Thank you for restoring me. Your presence is so sweet. Thank you for teaching me how to choose you. Thank you for instilling within me the desire to seek you. I need you. I NEED YOU. Not only do I need you, but I WANT YOU. Do I believe you when you tell me that you’re the lover of my soul? That you love me with an everlasting love? When love is in the air, I just want to HEAR from the person. I can’t wait to SEE the person. I can’t wait to COMMUNE with the person. I VALUE and RESPECT the person. I want this with you. 

I want to hear from you.

I want to see you.

I want to commune with you. 

I value you. I respect you. I trust you. 

<3

<3

<3

Whatever your vessel is that God has given you to work in, lead in, be a part of, perform in it for His glory. For HIS glory. For God sees the heart. He knows our motives. Do you trust Him?

<3

xxx

V

Relief

Oh my goodness. What a relief it is to know you Lord.

You’re IT. You’re what gives me purpose. You’re the missing link. The missing piece.

You answer the “why” that I’m looking for.

Why am I here?

Why am I alive?

What’s the point?

How do I live in this jacked up world?

How do I survive?

How do I forgive people?

How do I take care of myself well?

How do I say “no” to doing and saying things that hurt me and others?

How?

 

You kept me awake all night the other night. I kept waking up, lurching forward out of a dream. A nightmare. I was in the passenger seat of a car and we were driving too fast. There wasn’t enough time to brake.

I kept waking up out of this dream and lurching forward to almost sitting straight up.

I know what You were trying to tell me. Hit the brakes. HARD. Turn around. Better yet,

get.

out.

of.

the.

car.

I’m in the wrong place, with the wrong person, heading in the wrong direction. And if I don’t hit the brakes, we’re both going to crash.

I knew that was You speaking to me through a dream. And people say You don’t speak through dreams. Ha

People say a lot of things

people say

people say

“people say”

it doesn’t matter what people say. It’s just words. But YOU, Your Word. When YOU speak…. we MUST pay attention.

 

Lord… 

Thank you that you know my heart and you love me the same. Thank you for the gift of conviction and the gift of knowing You and hearing from You. Thank you for calling my name and speaking to me. Thank you for redirecting me. Thank you for capturing my attention. Thank you for not leaving me alone to make bad decisions that I’ll later regret. Thank you for wanting me to look more like Christ and less like me. Thank you for properly posturing my heart to desire You. To love You. To not just modify my behavior on the outside for PEOPLE but to earnestly seek to love you with every cell in my body. 

Help me trust You with every detail. Help me not settle for the wrong car, for the wrong person, for the wrong trip, for the wrong direction. For the wrong motives. For the wrong outcomes. For selfishness. For personal gains. For thrill seeking. Lord I thank you that every thing you created is good… but it isn’t always the right time or place to enjoy Your creation. Thank you for allowing me to enjoy so much of my every day life. You didn’t have to do that. From the time I wake up in the morning to the time I go to bed; I love my life. 

I love my life.

I love this life.

There are parts I want to change.

I am actively working on changing those parts.

There are parts that can’t change right now or maybe never.

I am actively working on accepting those parts. Even if that means giving them up again and again on the daily.

All we can do is the next right thing.

We must focus on the next right thing. We mustn’t focus on what’s lacking.

For the Lord is my shepherd, and I shall. not. want.

xxx

<3

V