August 30, 2009
Psalm 37~ He Will Not Forsake Me
Misty Morning, The water hazzard on the 10th fairway, The Legends at Indian Springs, Springhurst, Louisville KY
He Will Not Forsake His Saints
Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.
Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace.
The wicked plots against the righteous
and gnashes his teeth at him,
but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he sees that his day is coming.
The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose way is upright;
their sword shall enter their own heart,
and their bows shall be broken.
Better is the little that the righteous has
than the abundance of many wicked.
For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
but the Lord upholds the righteous.
The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
and their heritage will remain forever;
they are not put to shame in evil times;
in the days of famine they have abundance.
But the wicked will perish;
the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;
they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.
The wicked borrows but does not pay back,
but the righteous is generous and gives;
for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land,
but those cursed by him shall be cut off.
The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
when he delights in his way;
though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the Lord upholds his hand.
I have been young, and now am old,
yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
or his children begging for bread.
He is ever lending generously,
and his children become a blessing.
Turn away from evil and do good;
so shall you dwell forever.
For the Lord loves justice;
he will not forsake his saints.
They are preserved forever,
but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
The righteous shall inherit the land
and dwell upon it forever.
The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
and his tongue speaks justice.
The law of his God is in his heart;
his steps do not slip.
The wicked watches for the righteous
and seeks to put him to death.
The Lord will not abandon him to his power
or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.
Wait for the Lord and keep his way,
and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
you will look on when the wicked are cut off.
I have seen a wicked, ruthless man,
spreading himself like a green laurel tree.
But he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
though I sought him, he could not be found.
Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
for there is a future for the man of peace.
But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
the future of the wicked shall be cut off.
The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
The Lord helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.
Labels: Kentucky, Louisville, scripture
August 29, 2009
Angels Watching Over Me
Angels watching over me... the angel fountain at Mt Sequoya conference center, Fayetteville AR
"...What we all see now is history repeating itself. The only blessing this time is that there aren’t any children involved. Enough damage was done to you for several lifetimes. You refuse to see what is before you. Your attitude is one of martyrdom and denial, not recovery and survival. Hiding behind your religion is a sin. Waiting for God to rescue you, yet turning away offers that don’t amount to what you want or think you deserve is also a sin. Pride and a sense of entitlement is not recovery. Every time something goes wrong or not the way you have planned you blame it all on someone else. Faith is a foundation for building a life, you are using it as a crutch to continue limping through your misery just like your mother always did
I know that if you’ve actually read to this point you’re angry. That’s OK. Maybe anger will drag you into reality. I’ve realized that my positive support has only enabled you to continue in your unhealthy delusions. I love you, I always have, I always will but I will no longer enable your self-pity. The offer of help is always open. We will never turn our backs on you. You are not alone, but like salvation, you must accept help to receive it...."
What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. God gave his approval to people in days of old because of their faith.
By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God's command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.
So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. Hebrews 11:1-3,6
Im probably going to get in trouble for writing this but I have found that sometimes communication by blog is more effective than an email...and of course, its my blog and if you dont like it dont read it...
I wasnt going to write about it. In fact I wasnt going to say anything at all. I found myself frozen in my soul at the verbiage that was tossed at me in these two emails received from a family member that I have opened up to trusted and believed understood me... I know that she loves me and means well but it is very obvious that she sees me thought the dirty lenses of a past that I didnt have much to do with. I feel too that getting this out will help me to free myself from the shame and blame that I seem to be shackled with by people that I care about.
Two weeks ago I was feeling very low and I sent off a email to this relative. I tried to express the fact that I feel that she has come a long way and no matter how bad her life was she still had the consolation of her sons,her parents, our extended family, and now her husband, who I do think is a great guy and I totally respect his stepping out to start a business ect.... where as I dont have that support at home and feel very alone. I have been though a lot in the past few months and wished that I had had kids to focus on. Yes it would have been harder but I wouldnt be alone...I would have a living part of myself beside me. Treasures, your kids are, even if they are not doing as well as you might want...
We have all fired off an ill conceived email, one that is not clearly written or written in haste. Sometimes the repercussions outweigh anything that was written, or tweeted or facebooked...Well this one brought up a back blast that I could not have dreamed would have happened. She feels that I have rejected her, slapped her in the face verbally and somehow demeaned the family that is "trying to help me" ( I havent gotten a play by play on how this "help" is supposed to work. I kinda think this might be part of the problem, I dont understand what "help" they want to give me, that I have somehow rejected...) That I am ungrateful, sick,blame everyone for my problems, and floundering in a past I left behind a long time ago, was the thrust of the entire message.
I have not put out there the portions of the email that scathingly detailed how the family came to the aid of my family as my father was waiting for Social Security Disability...it took three years to get that. I was 7-9 and obviously had no decision making ability with regards to what my parents did or didn't do. In fact neither did she, as we are the same age. What this was was an attempt to hurt me with a weapon that she knew would hurt me, the shame I feel when I think of my life growing up, in a church where because my Dad drank at all, and both of my parents were to a degree Bi-polar, we were looked down upon, and actually called the "church basket case family". Imagine living with that moniker attached to you?... I think that was really low...And it shows a huge misunderstanding of what our day to day lives were like. While our lives were certainly not Ozzie and Harriet, or even normal, the situation was not stereotypical either. We had good times and bad, happy and sad times, and we laughed a lot. My father was a sad drunk. Not an abuser, not a wife beater...just sad... His mental illness made it impossible for him to hold down a job, as the medications he took only partially helped him cope. So he drank to self medicate. Now, He promptly surrendered his monthly checks to my mom, and didnt rush off to a bar and spend it all on himself. He cared, in a way, that we were provided for, which is more than most drunks do. There was an option my mother could have tried, she could have joined Al Anon, as she was encouraged to do. She could have stopped buying him booze but she chose not to do that and enabled him. Her choice not mine. But I had food and a roof, and security. Things I do not take for granted today with my situation like it is... Yes, My mother clung to her religion all right but she was a schemer and a conniver as well. She was not willing to live within her means, and would spend in excess of her bank account, then expect a bailout. It was embarassing. I swore that I would never live that way and for the most part I have done that. She professed a faith but in practice she plotted and planned every stinking thing, if it didnt go her way she forced it. This is a true sign of Codependency, and she was one to the inth degree.
She learned this control thing from her mother who I believe was married to an alcoholic who got saved and gave up the bottle... Perhaps her grand parents were drinkers or some sort of impaired individuals, I will never know, what I do know is this, control was the name of the game and while we didn't have the boundaries we should have had in a lot of areas, we had some interesting house rules that color my affairs even today.
All of that being said, I am aware of my mother's issues. Her issues are not necessarily my issues. I have my own issues, they are all I am responsible for. I have a Program and daily I chose to work it, with varying degrees of sucess. I have lived a strong armed sobriety for 20 plus years. that isnt the best way to do that. I want to learn to Live and Let Live by faith and grace this time... One thing I am doing that she never did is trying to live One Day At A Time. Not allowing myself to worry so much about the future. I am concerned of course, that is what drives me out to look for work or something I can put my hand to to earn a living. God promises in His Word that he will give me my daily bread. That is Faith, not denial of reality. By chosing to stay chemically clean and sober, this means no alcohol, drugs, either perscription or street kine, I choose to live and feel all of my emotional pain and learn to deal with it in a orderly fashion. And I am doing it. That isnt denial, that is living a tough reality. I dont need Speed to wake up, a cocktail to wind down, and a downer to sleep. I need to get up when the alarm goes off, get my butt into the shower, and get the heck out there, its going to be a great day, and if its not fake it.
Because the alternative is not acceptable.
One sad thing is that when I answered the email. I cced several of my mother's sisters as well. I wanted to thank them in a public sense, for the love and concern that they showed me and mine during my younger years..I thought that if they had something to say they would at least acknowledge it...Not a thing. Truth is that if they cared they would contact me. For the mmost part, I am the one that tries to contact them... I dont blame them, they hardly know me. But that is the point isnt it? I have longed to be a part of the family, but for that to happen there needs to be a two sided communication, and that hasnt happened, not by phone, letter, email or facebook. I think its really sad.
Consequently, I feel alone. That is a feeling that I think is valid. Perhaps the reason now is that I need them more than ever, but they are afraid that like my Mother, who begged for extra money from every hand that would give it right up to the end, that I am the same way. Well, Im not. From the time I was out on my own till today I have stood on my own two feet, worked my butt off and asked for nothing from anyone. Now for the first time in my life, I am out of work, and facing homelessness, and asking for help. Not for a lifetime, but only until I get work and you can bet your sweet life that EVERY penny would be paid back. I dont want to be beholden to anyone. In truth all I want is work, I dont need to be taken care of, I dont need a money manager. I have lived on 12,000.00 since December with the few days of work I have gotten thrown in. Up until this month all of my bills and creditors were paid to date. I stuck it out here and got my house sold and the foreclosure off of my record. I think I am a damn good financial manager, what I am not is a good mate selector. And we have all been there as well.
So now that I have written my manafesto, I need to say one thing. I am tired. Its been a long haul to get to this point. I have done it while trying to muster up as much courage, dignity and grace as I can.I am responsible for whatever I did to get myself into this position, mostly loving and trying to live with someone that was not capable of empathy, and lived a secret life. I live with my mistakes and have tried to make amends where I can. From California to Hawaii to NW Arkansas and perhaps other places I have made the Journey. I have as Paul said, "fought the good fight.." there are a lot of times I want to lay it down and not get up. But I get up. I have over the past two years considered suicide as an option... Well I am still here...and living life "Just For Today" is helping me to get through that.
If belief in A God Who Sees is denial, then I am in denial. If faith that God will care for me in any fashion He chooses is a sickness, then I am sick. If living in the hope that God hears our prayers is being foolish, then I am a fool. I know that God is going to provide for me, I hope through a job in the next week. But until He chooses to do whatever he is going to do, I will try to keep the faith and trust that angels are watching over me...
Labels: AA, Faith, Family History, Relationships, Scenic Arkansas, scripture, working
August 23, 2009
Psalm 62~ Trust In God At All Times
Summer thunderhead over the First United Methodist Church Bella Vista
For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
How long will all of you attack a man
to batter him,
like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse. Selah
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah
Those of low estate are but a breath;
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
Put no trust in extortion;
set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, set not your heart on them.
Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
according to his work.
Summer Lillies, War Eagle AR
August 21, 2009
The Mill spillway for War Eagle Mill War Eagle AR
I was stunned when I got the call from the agency that sent me to the job last week. I was not to return, the company was going in a "different direction", and they expressed concerns regarding my typing skills. So I went into the agencies office and discussed this whole thing. It turns out that my boss who had been out much of the week came back to see that I was not very well trained and was not compleating the work in a "timely manner" so it must be my typing skills. He was viewing a "stroke counter" a program that tells the viewer what a person has typed. Its a way to monitor the use of the computer and the internet. It doesnt take into account the time I spent in gathering the information that was place into the fields, not does it take into the account the fact that the company system was very counter intuative a required memorization of every operation... When the agency called it turned out that the gal that was training me showed me only part of what was expected so I didnt meet expectations. There is no turning back. I feel a bit like I have been sabataged. This must have been a sudden decision as they has assigned me a desk and gave me keys to the building the same afternoon. It makes no sense to me or to the agency. My gal at the agency went to the office saw the desk and the few things that I had left there,and brought them to me. She says its all very odd, very strange all around.
I am feeling very let down but yet, it was going to be a hard climb there. All of the operations positions there above what I was doing are treated like brokerage positions. This means you are paid on comission, and have a quota. I was really surprised at that, because you have to cover all of the loads on all of the lanes and you can choose which ones you work but if loads on lanes that lose money arent covered the department is in trouble. One of the girls was complaining that she was the only one doing this dirty work and she was losing money... I found myself dreading the dog eat doggedness of that situation.
I know that there are friends of mine that will say..."see see you were too negative and lacked gratitude and God didnt bless this." I have a number of friends that believe in the "Law of Attraction" ie The Secret and the Course In Miracles. However, I think that this was the wrong job for me. I can only pray for better. The gal at the agency said I was the third person they have sent in and only one has done ok not great but ok. He works the 6 pm to 6am shift, and that is what they were going to ask me to do and I physically cant do that night work. I think that and the fact that I am not a person that will stay content as a data entry clerk for very long were the real issues.
I told the lady at the agency that I was very willing to do that job for as long as I needed to... that being faithful in the small things was very important to me and that it was unfortunate that my trainer barreled into my new boss and told him how experienced I was and that I should move up right away...(I cautioned the gal to stop doing that...yikes...)She had issues and perhaps I didnt get the training I should have but I had no way to know that. Who was in charge? the supervisor sat next to us...if I wasnt doing well why did he tell me that he thought I was doing a good job, and why didnt he correct my trainer... I arrived on time, didnt abuse break or lunch times and did the work assigned to me. Where I come from that is what you do the first week on a job. There was no orientation, no tour and no meeting the other employees... I just feel like this was screwed up...
I wonder if those around me think I dont try hard enough. I do try, and have been willing to do a lot of things to turn a buck. I am feeling a bit confused and demoralized, but Monday is the start of a new week and I will look at the bright side. I was able to attend a great AA meeting this morning. The weather was lovely for the day out...Yesterday it was like we needed to get an ark built, it was raining so hard!
I am not in control of others I am only in control of myself. I feel that I did my very best, I can only hope that I can get settled soon. I am putting the ideas I am working on in my sessions and from Al Anon, and choosing to not make any decision making until I really need to make those choices. That is putting the idea of One Day At A Time into practice to me...
August 18, 2009
Critical Data For Better Decisions
A New Trail.. The new walking trailhead at the Little Golden Gate Bridge, Bever AR
Today I will do something that is good for me, even if it feels uncomfortable...Self discipline is self caring... M. Scott Peck
Today's title came form a on line logistics publication I read...I thought it summed up what I lacked yesterday when I wrote my last post.
Well, I went into work today, The sunrise was gorgeous. I have missed this part of NW Arkansas, the beautiful sunrises and sunset. Working night shift meant being in a building before sunset and asleep at dawn... It was very early, but I have been rising at five or earlier for much if the time I have been back from Louisville. Abi , seeming to know this was a big day, woke me at 430 am wrapping her tiny front legs around my face and gently kissing me with tiny licks.So adorable. I repositioned her for a gentle belly rub as I prayed against the fear in my guts...
I was afraid. Afraid of the transition. Afraid to believe that this really is finally going to happen. And afraid that I would fail... The doubts are real. The awareness that I am making an investment that may not pay off for a long time. I dont know how I will make it financially, but I will trust that the Jesus that multiplied a small boys lunch into food for 20,000 people, can make a miracle in my financial life.
I was placed into the hands of a delightful gal, for training. It is her opinion after the first day that I am destined for bigger things than the job that I would be starting at and not to worry. The firm is a growing concern. I knew that, its one of the reasons I worked for free that day, just to get into the door. I can only pray that I impress them and that they want to keep me on there.
I figured out the amount that I will need to make to qualify for an apartment in the complex nearby that I was wanting to move into.
When the time comes that is what I will ask for and tell them why. Its a reasonable amount for my expertise and skill level. This moving would be an advantage to them because it would be a 5 minute drive to work. It is good for me because I would be close to the local Mall/Shopping Area, and 15 minutes to Fayetteville, the University and the social life there that is missing for me up here in Bella Vista. But the 60 mile round trip is easy highway driving, and walking Abi this afternoon after a summer shower, the forest here was so beautiful.. Will be hard to choose... Frankly I may not get to choose, Mr House Owner may put the place back on the market and it will be sold out from under me, I wouldn't blame him. The market is heating up. I just need to be ready to make a change and not fuss too much about it. I have enjoyed living here and it has been a good place for me to be. But I will lose a lot if I leave here and if I move it should be closer to my work so I can be more centered in the community. I think commuter culture is one of the reasons we all dont know anyone, not even our neighbors. I would certainly miss people at my church and the ladies I am getting to know at my Al Anon meetings, but I would plug into a younger more diverse church, and there are meetings daily in and around the area
I found the people very friendly, the work is exacting but I sense a real team mentality not like thisplace where you were expected to do what was on your list and no one pitched in to help you and woe to you if you screw up. It is ultra casual jeans and tee shirts mode. I can wear jeans every day, that is helpful as I bought more casual clothing, expecting to be in a workshop environment at this point. I heard over and over how glad people were to be there. I didn't sense the stress and upset I have seen in transportation firms before. This could truly be a great experience. I need to relax let go and let God direct this.
Please pray for us. Abi had a lovely time with her doggy sitter Diane. I know she will miss her next week, but Auntie Barbara across the street may come in if she is here. Her daughter is struggling with cancer and is not doing well and so there may be other priorities for her in these coming days. I have left her before for a whole day and her crate is very large. She is well and shows no sign of her illness last week.
Thank you for praying and for your encouragement. We are not out of the woods yet but I feel like there was a light shown at the end of this long dark tunnel. Im walking forward, armed with the most critical of information. That God is with us and His love never fails
Labels: Abigail, Bella Vista, Faith, Friends, Scenic Arkansas, working
August 17, 2009
Faithful In Small Things
Summer Barn, Garfield AR
Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper.Now the Syrians on one of their raids had carried off a little girl from the land of Israel, and she worked in the service of Naaman's wife.She said to her mistress, “Would that my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”So Naaman went in and told his lord, “Thus and so spoke the girl from the land of Israel.”And the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”
So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothes.And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you Naaman my servant, that you may cure him of his leprosy.”And when the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me.”
8But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come now to me, that he may know that there is a prophet in Israel.”So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha's house.And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.”But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
Hoku:Dont you think this is wrong? When I went and worked that day for free we talked about this. You said that my doing that would not reflect in the compensation that I would receive should they hire me. Now They want me to come, work a 3 12 hour day 6 to 6 and ever other Saturday, possibly overnights which we NEVER discussed and they only want to pay 8.00 per hour, with no shift differential? I made twice this on my last freight job and worked a regular day...They pay better at Mc Donalds....
Temp lady: This is a Fortune 500 firm Forbes says they have the best benefits and promote from within. They will raise you to 10.00 after 90 days and give 5 percent raises...
Hoku: I have to drive 40 miles each way, and you cant eat benefits. I know these people and am very disappointed with them and with you. You are taking advantage of my situation, how desperate I am, and frankly Im shocked...
Temp Lady: But you will go?
Hoku: Do I have a choice?
I dont have much choice. I need some money, soon. I am out of savings and dont have anything left. Abi got sick this week after surgery and my cash for the lights and phone went to the vet. Do I regret that or her no way. I love her and was so frightened that I was going to lose her like my Annabelle that I would have moved heaven and earth to help her. I wont be able to access any services to help me financially due to the times I need to be at this job. I will continue to look and will take interviews and even long term temp work closer to home.
It was a rollercoaster week last week. Once I got home I went right to interviewing. I have signed with a insurance company to sell employer benefits. I also went to meet with a firm that was from a contact by our pastors new husband. They are 60 miles away below U of A in Fayetteville, so I would try to make arrangements to move asap should I get that job...but...the owner of this homspun trucking company is trying to get his debt refinanced and should he not be able to he will be closing his doors. I think that is a dead end as well.
I am thinking seriously about what I should do. I paid my rent this month and will be unable to do that again, until I get caught up. I need cheaper digs but cant move till I have a job. Next month I have two months lights and phone. I am taking the cable box back, and Abi and I are going to eat the cabinets bare before we go to the store again. They are pretty bare now.
The Insurance guy said that you work leads filing yur imaginary bucket... You have to call so many leads till the bucket is full. The spill over is sucess... in whatever you are doing. I feel like I have done that with job hunting. The bucket is spilling over I just need to keep on until something more beneficial spills into my lap. I have invested so much time and effort in seeking work, that there must be some payoff sometime. People are calling me for temp work...people are praying for an end to my personal nightmare. But I know that a lot of other people are suffering as well.
I am retooling my resume for another head hunter with ideas and I will be going to this job and doing my best to be the best employee they have got. I want to be faithful in the small things. Perhaps there is a payoff in the end
Labels: Abigail, Personal Growth, working
August 16, 2009
Green Fields on the Windward Coast Oahu Hawaii
“Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak,
and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
May my teaching drop as the rain,
my speech distill as the dew,
like gentle rain upon the tender grass,
and like showers upon the herb.
For I will proclaim the name of the Lord;
ascribe greatness to our God!
“The Rock, his work is perfect,
for all his ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,
just and upright is he.
They have dealt corruptly with him;
they are no longer his children because they are blemished;
they are a crooked and twisted generation.
Do you thus repay the Lord,
you foolish and senseless people?
Is not he your father, who created you,
who made you and established you?
Remember the days of old;
consider the years of many generations;
ask your father, and he will show you,
your elders, and they will tell you.
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance,
when he divided mankind,
he fixed the borders of the peoples
according to the number of the sons of God.
But the Lord's portion is his people,
Jacob his allotted heritage.
“He found him in a desert land,
and in the howling waste of the wilderness;
he encircled him, he cared for him,
he kept him as the apple of his eye.
Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,
that flutters over its young,
spreading out its wings, catching them,
bearing them on its pinions,
the Lord alone guided him,
no foreign god was with him.
Labels: Hawaii, scripture
August 14, 2009
The Little Portion
The Gift of Living Water, A water Sculpture given to Little Portion Retreat Center Eureka Springs AR
God chose us before the world began, gave us unique talents and gifts, to bring glory to Himself, and these gifts uniquely fit us for the work He has for us. God is outside of time. He looked at this time and inserted us into the timeline. He brings everyone of us into the world for a specific purpose. We can work with Him, to cooperate in our own sanctification and the sanctification of others we come into contact with. That is our call, to be what God has called us to be, wherever we are, to bring glory to Him...
Johnette Benkovic the Abundant Life Show EWTN
I was mindful of this concept all week long as I spent quiet time with God, with a select group of individuals, and before the Blessed Sacrament, finding my place, my bearings after these tumultuous two years...for it has been two years since I set foot on MORE mountain near Eureka Springs....
I was contacted regarding a retreat based on a book written by John Michael Talbot
, that was put together rather suddenly. No one had signed up to come to the previous weeks retreat, which is highly unusual, in fact this current weeks retreat has a waiting list. I replied that I couldn't afford to come, and the weeks lodging and retreat was gifted to me...
Dawn over the valley, and the city of Berryville AR
What a wonderful thing, a total blessing in every way. Not only a place, but a private room close to all of the action I could walk out onto a breezeway and flop on a deck chair and this was the view. Like a cruise ship on a hilltop. I so needed this time to just BE. So I found lodging for Miss Abi and drive the beautiful drive Weds afternoon up into the Ozark mountains, past the beautiful places that I have not seen in so long.
There were two priests, four pastors, including two UMC women pastors, and several people deeply involved with ministry,within their respective churches...but I learned a darker truth, that each and every person participating in this special weekend had a huge burden, from one of the ladies struggling with advancing MS...(she drove by herself from MA., three days driving alone in a van, that is determination, she knew she needed to be there)How about thes ladies from New Brunswick, Canada, who, because french is the first language for them, mistakenly bought tickets to Little Rock and took a cab from there to the retreat, 400.00 of cab fare... to a man who had his family removed from the home over a misunderstanding, a priest trying to decide if her should leave a community he has been a part of for a long time, or accept the challenge for finishing his ministry, yea his very life is a place he loves but has no community with... to a war vet struggling with many issues, and of course our speaker, John Michael Talbot, and the never ending struggle he has with money and red tape with regards to the rebuilding of the monestery, and the care of his flock... and myself, who perhaps has had, to them, a very long and painful ordeal, but much of it has gone undealt with until recently.We were all there for a healing , for a Word and for hope that God would hear us and come and meet us there.
My prayer was that I would learn to choose to not think about the past, it was to be a Woody and Mr. Wonderful free weekend. This was seconded by the retreat mistress, a manager/housemother/ladies spiritual advisor, who got me to confess my difficulties almost on arrival. She agreed to hold me accountable. She would ask me quietly about it during the six days... I also made a big discision that affects my security but would prolong my relationship with him. That door effectively closed, I hope that God will honor that step of faith and my willingness to forgo the comfort of that "ace in the hole..."
I was marginally sucessful. I found during the course of the conversation that both of these people came up as they have been such a huge part of my life...but in my private moments I made every effort to banish thoughts of these two, to focus on myself and my relationship with God and those around me, and am ok with the results... Truth is this exercise has helped lessen the pain somewhat.
I also have a very limited amount of money and time left to find a job, or a vocation with a place to live. My vision was to try to get beyond the dollars and cents, and focus on the idea that I am God's child it is HIS responsibility to provide for me. I need to be willing to do what ever it takes to take advantage of what He provides
The Worship Leader John Michael Talbot leading worship at a session in Ressurection Chapel
The sessions were wonderful, we talked about who St. Francis was and what Franciscan spirituality is about. The basis of the retreat was his book The Lessons of St. Francis
There was a session of Q and A and several meditation exercises that I found helpful. But truthfully I think I found the comraderae of fellow seekers, people that chose at the spur of the moment, to be there and take part in the gathering most helpful and supportive in this trying time in my life. I found myself enjoying everyone I met, and feeling like I am not alone in my feeling like I am living cornered in a no win situation. As I got to know these men and women in sharing meals and down time on the breezeway, in daily chanting of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and other prayers, and suprisingly, in serving them. I realized that I was neither guest or member of the community but something else and put myself at the disposal of the Retreat Mistress, who had me setting up prayerbooks for the twice daily prayers of the Divine Office, which were better attended than I had ever seen at any other retreat I have attended.
Under Construction Charity Chapel rising from the ruins Little Portion Hermatage Berryville AR
Normally the high point of the retreat weekend is a trip to the Hermataige and a celebration of the Vigil Mass with the full community. I remember the first time I was a part of this, and was so totally blown away by the power and enthusiasm of the worship... mind you this is a Catholic Mass... I now anticipate this time with great expectation.
Because the community chapel is under reconstruction, the residents of the community drove up to the retreat center where we crowded into the Chapel of the Ressurection and fired up the Band ie John Michael. We did songs that I knew well and I just threw myself into the whole experience. The homily was given by by Father Phil a retreatant, and basically John Michael gave an altar call not just for a Christian recommitement but also a plug for those in attendance to consider affiliating with the community. He doesnt normally do this but as he said this group felt like a commuity from the first moments we were all together, it was so amazing... As one man shared with me...he had been seeking the love of a family his whole life...he felt like he had found it there at Little Portion... I think he is right. We witnessed a tremendous move of the Spirit including a healing work where one of the Domestic Sisters who has a gift of healing started to move through the group laying hands on us, and as she prayed many of us knew the secrets of some of the others as we had prayed privately together, but Sister knew and the healing work was manifest and I can vouch for the authenticity of the work. I feel much stronger and I am going to need this in the days to come
Giving a Blessing Fr Lambert Leyhorn OFM at 81 years young, off to bless the new Stations of the Cross at the retreat center. He is temporarily acting as spiritual leader of the community while discerning if he should move from San Antonio to Arkansas full time
I looked into John Michaels face, we had talked breifly earlier and other's had been encouraging me. I saw the face of hope in the midst of great uncertainty. I looked around me and saw hope "in the breaking of the Bread". I was challenged to offer to God everything I think is unworthy...my brokenness, my grief, the lonliness and longing for security... all of the trials that I know have passed through the hands of my Loving God, and go forward... and live in the little portion promised to me by my Father in Heaven.
I have made the decision to pursue full communion with the Church. I feel free to do that now. I also presented myself as a candidate for the postulancy of Domestic Expresion of the Brothers and Sisters of Charity. I will remain in my own home and join in when I can in the community activity. I will join a cell group here locally, and perhaps this will make up for my leaving the Emmaus group.For the long term this will bind me to a loving covenant community. I am excited about this and look forward to becomming more and more involved with this.
I have returned form the mountain, and already have run into serious difficulty in both personal and financial issues. Please pray for me and the other retreatants as we move into living out what we leaned in our time on the mountain.
The Bell Tower, where I often sat to pray and think
Labels: BSCD, Catholic, Faith, John Michael Talbot, Little Portion, Scenic Arkansas
August 09, 2009
Psalm 126~ Restore Our Fortunes, O Lord
Summer Streams Little Sugar Creek, near Bentonville AR
Restore Our Fortunes, O Lord
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like streams in the Negeb!
Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him.
Labels: Scenic Arkansas, scripture
August 04, 2009
The Way of Aloha
Beautiful Hanuma Bay Oahu Hawaii
Go very slowly, very quietly, from one duty to the next, taking time to rest and pray between. Do not be too busy. Take everything in order. Venture often into the rest of God and you will find peace From 24 Hours A Day by Richmond Walker
with a hattip to Scott at Attitude of Gratitude
I saw this on Scotts blog, which I have been reading. This man has worked his program and I have admired that for a long time. As I enter my second week of solitude.. True solitude because while I have my friends at church and I love them, and I know that they care for me, I dont feel that there is an anchor for me to hold me to anything, wither it be person place or institution. However, I love this area and I am hopeful that a job will come through soon
I am really trying to go slowly, not get to far ahead of myself, not dwell on the past, and not worry that perhaps I will run out of money, get kicked out of this house before I am ready to leave, or that I will finally give up like so many people have done in this town Sam Walton built.
I have spoken to Woody, he is contentedly parked at his boyhood friend's spare room, tending Jim's dog, while Jim and his nephew are in Stockholm, where the Jim's elder brother and father of the nephew is spending his second year in diplomatic service there. Woody got a new phone number, which frees me to change my phone number and plan. I am looking to reduce my overhead and if I dont get a job I will have to stop all payments to anyone, eating and a/c, gas and Internet are my core needs. I dont think I will be thrown out of my house tomorrow.
I have had great interviews this past week, but I saw at several of the places the dozen or so other people interviewing for the same twelve dollar and hour job. That is what is so difficult I think, but I keep plugging.
I worked a tough job for minimum wage last week. Its something Ive done before, but every time I do it they agency pays less and less... Call Walmart stores to see if they have received promotional shipments and what did they do with them. The agency called 30 people to get the three they got to work this for 7.25 per hour. The finalist were a lady so disabled she could barely walk into the building., a young man who lost his first job 6 months ago and his parents felt he wasnt doing enough to find work so they threw him out and he now sleeps in his car... and myself. I found myself consoling him that I understood his pain, as Dawn, the disabled lady consoled me with a little Bible study and prayers from her church in the Missouri countryside.
I have been attending an Al Anon meeting and reading literature. I see the point, and how I really am in need of this help. I am hopeful that I will make new friends and learn more and more ways of making change within myself. How I would have been so much better if I had gotten this kind of help sooner...or even understood tha this is what I needed.... I know that I have a lot of culpability in how things went down, that while Woody was certainly the problem, I wasnt helping him and especially myself living like a madwoman... and that my life emotionally has been totally unmanageable.
There have been some challenges, some misunderstandings, and moments where I had to make a decision that others might think crazy but I know are the right thing. For example the insurance company issued a check for 900.00 for some damage the was repaired. My name was on the check, and yes the money would have really helped. I feel that Woody should have reembursed me for the money taken by the bank in the spring, but he feels that he was entitled to everything from the sale of the house and all of this money as well. I could be begging on the street and he feels that is justice for all I have taken from him. I signed the check over and deposited into his personal account with friends at the bank saying that it was not right....I can only trust that God will provide for me everytihing that I need.
Case in point, last week I got an invitation to come to Little Portiion Retreat Center for a week of discernment, and to spend some time with John Michael Talbot in retreat. They are comping me the room, and my vet is comping me boarding for Abi... I am having her spayed while I am gone, so I wont have to worry about her going into heat when I am not able to deal with that.I received a half price coupon for the NWA Animal Rescue people. I know her breeder feels she should be a year old, but I see that all of her teeth are coming in she is old enough now. I am so greatful for this time away. My "people" are working on jobs for the following week and I will have internet acess for email checking while I am there. I have planned to clear my mind and not think about Woody or Mr. Wonderful during the time there..
My counselor has really gotten on me about my about this emotional affair and thinks that much of my deep depression is due to that and to my missing him. She is likely right. He haunts me and at times I feel rediculous and at other times I really want to just die for the wanting of him. Its becuse I put off this grieving over it and I need to just settle down and do it... So I am praying for a release from that bondage freeing both him and I for a new phase in our lives. Its a process. She feels this is actually more binding than my marriage to Woody, that I am more emotionally tied to this person. I am facinated by this whole thing and horrified at the same time... So I am praying and going to try to clear my mind... I am thankful that Abi makes me get out of bed in the morning...
Speaking of Abi...
I think she is getting to be a very pretty girl. I find that I dont take as many pictures of her because she never stops moving! so few of the ones I take come out clear... Monings are our favorite time, she has come to love sleeping with me and is so cuddly sweet in the morning I dont want to get up and start the day!
My life is more and more becomming a venture of living a life of Aloha. I am more and more trying to live one day at a time one hour at a time.. The life of Aloha...It is a process and a culture I want to develope within myself... it is my goal
Labels: AA, Abigail, Hawaii, Little Portion, Relationships, Woody, working
August 02, 2009
Hebrews 12:1-2 ~ Pressing Forward
The Prayer Garden, at Little Portion Monestery, of the Brothers and Sisters of Charity, Berryville AR This garden was lost in the great fire of 2008 and will be replanted once the monestery is rebuilt
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Labels: John Michael Talbot, Little Portion, Scenic Arkansas, scripture