Unexpected Visitors

Here’s an old post I thought I’d re-publish since I don’t have a new one this week for you.  Thanks for reading and for your patience as I struggle to get clear and encouraging thoughts for you!  Your prayers are much appreciated!  For now…here you go!  Enjoy!

025This time of year creates a love-hate relationship with me and my surroundings.  I am definitely most happy when I am outside in the warm sunshine of summer with blues skies.  I just love the  blooming flowers and I don’t care if they make me sneeze.  I just live with hopes of another beautiful day the same, tomorrow.  When fall starts creeping in, I like the change in temperature until it gets below my comfort level of 74 degrees and then I start to go into a panic because this weather is telling me summer is over and winter is on its way!

One good thing about fall is that at any given time, you can go to my pantry and find way too many marshmallows for anyone to ever eat, before they go bad and start tasting like the plastic bag they are packaged in.  I get so excited thinking about fall and bonfires, I want to be ready for when the whim hits us and we want to go out and sit around the fire pit and get a sugar high.  I like to think I’m always prepared for a party!

Fall also begins to give me an excuse to come home earlier in the evenings since the sun goes down faster and the days are shorter.  I love to come into the house with my 5-hour stew almost done in the oven, cook up some cornbread, put a fire in the fireplace, and snuggle in for the evening with a good book or movie.  Our home is our sanctuary and it is so nice to spend time relaxing and enjoying its surroundings.

When the kids were little, we were home one day hanging out.  It was one of those mornings where we didn’t have anywhere to go, so were a little slow getting around and I was still in my pj’s much later than what was normal.  I  don’t know how many times I told my kids when they were small, “Don’t go to the door without me or your dad.”  Well, that morning, one of them forgot the rule.  I had been back in the bedroom gathering dirty clothes up to do some laundry when I came barreling around the corner in my nightgown, only to find two men in black suits standing in my living room!  The kids were looking at me like, “I don’t know how they got in here!”

I was shocked as I stood there in my nightgown with these two strangers in my house!  I looked at them dumfounded and they said, “Ma’m, we are here to get the body.”  My mind was racing and I was trying to understand what they just told me, as it was quite an unusual request to say the least.  I still wasn’t comprehending and asked them to repeat since I was sure I had heard them wrong, totally forgetting that I am standing there in my nightgown at this point.

“We are here to get the body”, they repeated.

I began stuttering around and one of them said, “Is this the home of Mildred Peirce?”  Relieved and dismayed all at the same time, I realized they were wanting the older lady two doors down.  Mildred had apparently passed away in the night and the undertakers had the wrong house!  I directed them to the correct house and they left as quickly as they came.  They were noticeably embarrassed by their mistake and probably very uncomfortable with my appearance as much as I was, too!

That day, our cozy, comfortable, safe home was shaken up a bit by our visitors.  Even though they meant no harm, they entered into our space, unannounced and ready to take action.  Had they been knocking on doors for other reasons, the kids opening the door and allowing them to come in could’ve been a disaster.  I was thankful it was not the latter.

As I think about this season of retreat when we all begin spending more time in our homes because of the upcoming weather, I think it’s also important to consider how we can best spend our time.

Image courtesy of franky242 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of franky242 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

At all costs, we should protect the doorways of our homes and lives.  Pray for God to give you the strength and courage to keep doors closed on things that aren’t healthy or uplifting to you and your family.  Ask Him to help you open doors that encourage and nurture your walk with Him.  For when we guard and protect what we allow into our homes and lives, we can rest assured that someone’s not going to come knocking on our door looking for the dead body!  Rather, they’ll be knocking on your door asking why your home is so full of life and joy.  They’ll be wanting to know your secrets to true happiness and contentment.  My suggestion would be… start a fire, pull out the marshmallows, and take the time for a fireside chat about opening doors!   Yes, friends, it’s time for a party!


Reflections of a 49 year, 363 Day Old Woman

I originally had Reflections of a 50 Year Old Woman as my title, but since I want to hang onto the 49 year old badge as long as I can, I decided to change it a bit!  It’s hard for me to believe that I can actually be that old!  It seems as though being the baby of the family I thought I would never get old.  I thought my siblings only did since they are all much older than me, but not me. However, this is affecting me, as now I feel as though I’m joining the old lady club or something!  Last week I even took a knitting class because I want to be the best old lady I can be and it just seemed fitting I should know how to knit!

Approaching such a huge milestone in my life, I have been spending some time looking back on my life and reviewing.  What am I happy with?  What could I have done better?  What is it I still need to do?  I am typically one of those people who live with little regrets, but even then I have some.  Most of the time, if I want to do something, I find a way to make it happen.  If I feel God telling me to do something, I try to be obedient.  If I have a problem with something or someone, I try to resolve it so that I can get on with my life and not be bogged down by the little things.

As I look back, my teens were fun but filled with things I can’t mention in this blog.  I was all about the social life and parties, etc.  Then in my 20’s I found myself married with two kids and just trying to raise my young family.  I remember when I turned 29, it was a traumatic time…I lost a lot of weight, spiked my hair, etc.  I would say that was my year for a crisis!  Luckily it was short lived and then I was fine!  In my 30’s I was building my business and all about being successful.  When I was 36, my husband left and I was divorced, so my 40’s literally brought me into a new beginning!  When I was 40, I married my husband, Jim, and moved to Cincinnati to join him and his two kids since mine were grown and moved out or off to college.  In 6 short months from the time we met, I had a new town, new husband, 2 more kids, new home, and a new job!  I remember driving towards downtown Cincinnati in the mornings towards my job and being in shock as to how I got there in this big city with all this traffic.  Sometimes I can be so spontaneous it even catches me off guard!

Now as I am entering into my 50’s, I’m feeling the need to reflect.  I’ve been scanning my bucket list in my mind wondering if there was anything I haven’t done yet that was on it!  One of my hearts desires for many years was to write a book.  This past year, God slowed me down a lot and in the process, I finished my first writing!  It is being looked over by some trusted advisors and I hope to soon have it out for everyone to enjoy!  As a matter of fact, I’ve already begun thinking about my next book and am trying to compile the outline for it so I can begin it soon.  I’ve spent all these years dreaming, but now it is finally becoming a reality.  Soon there will be another checkmark on my bucket list!

I had a dream last night that I was a passenger in a boat and someone else was guiding me through treacherous waters.  Every so many feet, a shark or other scary creature would come up and make an ugly face at me to try to scare me.  Typically I would be screaming, but in the dream, I was just as calm as could be as the driver of the boat took me through the sea of monsters. I watched as we weaved in and out of all kinds of obstacles, keeping afloat all the way. When I woke up this morning, I knew today was my day to blog and as I reflected on my dream, I knew exactly what it meant.

When I was 16, I went to the Bahamas with my parents and a friend for a week.  On that trip, we went deep-sea fishing.  How I love to fish out on the open ocean!  It’s so much fun!  That particular trip, I actually caught a shark—one of the most dangerous creatures of the sea.  It took me quite some time to reel in the 6 foot baby, mon-eating shark.  That’s not a typo.  I was in the Bahamas, and that’s what the guy called it—not a man-eating; rather, a mon-eating!  I was so excited to finally get the shark up to the boat only to find out our guide would not let me bring it in the boat.  I kept begging him to let me take it back, but he wouldn’t.  I wanted one of those pictures of me on the dock with this dangerous fish that was bigger than me hanging upside-down so I could show all of my friends!  He said it could attack one of us so he put it back into the waters after all that work of me fighting the beast and finally reeling it in.  That was my first experience with sharks.  As a young person, it was exciting to be face to face with such an exciting animal.  Even though I felt fear, I had more excitement than anything since the part of my brain that says, this animal might hurt you wasn’t fully developed at that point!  This somewhat reflected all of my life decisions being made at that point.

Then in my mid 20’s to 30’s, I became well aware of sharks and their dangers.  Not in a literal way though this time.  But as we were raising a family and building a business, I was swimming with sharks daily.  They were trying to devour me every step I took, but I just pushed though with persistence and tenacity to get to the other side without them hurting me.  I would spend long hours awake some nights worrying and strategizing about out how I was going to win against them in the days ahead.  When I entered my 40’s I was still fighting them, but I was beginning to depend less on my abilities and look more towards God’s guidance and protection.  I was learning that even though I might fight and fight, I get nowhere without God.  He had shown me in the past few years, how I can depend on Him for all things that came my way—the big sharks and baby sharks alike.

Now as I am entering my 50’s, I think I have it figured out.  No longer do I need to fight off the enemy or swim faster to escape harm.  I just simply find myself in the boat–God’s boat. He’s driving and I’m here for the ride. Yes, it is scary because there are sharks circling all around, even as I am writing this morning.   I have even shed a few tears as I write with the knowledge that my son’s troops leave for the Middle East tomorrow–this being one of my biggest sharks right now.  However, I know that God has all of my sharks under control.  I need not worry or be afraid as He is guiding me to the shores of safety along with my son too.

So when I reflect, am I happy with what I find?  Of course there are always things I wish I would’ve done differently.  I know in my heart I mostly tried to do what I thought was right and I just can’t dwell in the past.  I have found that if I stay in one place for long, that’s for sure going to be where the sharks start nibbling and even attacking me!  However, if I keep moving, with God as my guide, the sharks can bite and snarl all around me and I will not fear.  I’ve been 50 years learning how God works and now I can honestly say that even though the waves are crashing all around filled with mon-eating sharks, I am going to be OK.  I trust that God will be here no matter what the threat. No longer do I have the desire to bring the shark in the boat; nor do I worry about what the shark is going to do to me tomorrow.  I am just trusting that God will fight the battles for me if I simply trust.

Psalm 56:3 (NKJV)  Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.