Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

all.the.feels

This post is to document the 60 hours that just kept stretching me and to remind me that God was there with every single stretch. —- You’ve heard the saying that God won’t give you more than you can handle. Well, that is incomplete. He won’t give you more than you can handle with His help. WITH HIS HELP! You were never expected to handle it on your own. It’s going to get bigger than you can deal with and you will need God’s help. “He is an ever present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

If all you read is the first paragraph that says it all. This really is intended for me to look back on and remember God saw me through and He will see me through whatever comes next.

I am blessed with a whole host of emotions. I feel things very strongly. I’m generally very glad about that. I love life. I love fiercely. I know what it’s like to be deeply hurt. Yes, I have a full range of emotions. Yet, to have all the feels in such a short period of time (60 hours) was a bit much.

I knew the day would be challenging. My sister and I have shared birthdays my entire life. Mom decided to have me on her birthday. This was the first one without her. It was also a big birthday for both of us. I told my family I would not be celebrating this year – no party, no birthday meal, no gifts. I wasn’t exactly sure what my husband and I would be doing but it was going to be a quiet day. I felt like I have not really had time to mourn her death. I needed a quiet day so I could figure out how to go forward on my future birthdays.

She spoke my language! She knew all there was to know about me and loved me anyway!

Three days before ‘our’ birthday, a dear sweet friend of mine died in her sleep. She was 54. We had been messaging the night before. Oh how very glad I am that I had reached out to her that night. When God nudges you – listen and act.

I knew the funeral could be potentially on our birthday. I told my husband he just couldn’t – not that day. It’s not that it is my birthday. He has done a funeral on my birthday in the past. It was that this was the first birthday without my sister and I needed him. I also needed a day without people. (The funeral was set for Monday.)

We were to start our vacation Monday. Hold your plans lightly because God may just have other plans.

Two days before ‘our’ birthday, I get a call from my son. My daughter in law is sick, so very sick. They are out of town – 6-7 hours away. I can’t believe I am not able to be there to help with the kids and get her to the ER. He calls an ambulance and they take her to ER. The waiting, the not knowing what is happening is excruciating. We pray. I let our prayer group know.

all.the.feels …… helpless, worry….. continuing to place her in God’s hands.

Her heart rate had elevated. She was dehydrated. She was given lots of nausea medicine and 2 bags of IV fluids and finally released to go back to the hotel.

all.the.feels ………. relief, gratitude, thankfulness

Our birthday arrives – the 60 hours begins. I turned my phone off. I removed my birthday notification from Facebook. I did what I could to make this day as easy as I could. We did need to run into town to pick up a couple things for the upcoming funeral. That was ok. It was a beautiful day for a drive.

The feelings have taken over. Sadness, grief, anger, sorrow, numbness, tears, pain … really feeling them and trusting God to bring beauty out of the ashes.

Then my husband receives a text from our son saying “Baby girl is on the way…..eventually.” The feelings get overwhelming at this point. If my sister was still living – oh how we would be excited. This would be the best ever. But my sister isn’t here. My granddaughter will be born on my sister’s birthday – on this sad sad day. I don’t want her to one day feel what I am feeling as my birthday rolls around and the one I shared my birthday with is no longer here. Some day I won’t be here and I know what that feels like. She deserves her own birth date. Yet, God chose this day for her birth.

All.the.feels continue to mount.

At last my husband gets a picture of baby girl. She is beautiful. She is perfect. We (hubby, twin brother and family) hop in the van and head three hours away to see this miracle. All the while I am processing the reality that she is in fact born on my sister’s birthday. (My sister – why oh why did she have to die? Yes, I asked the question. No, God didn’t give me an answer. God did quiet my heart and give me inner peace.)

A new life enters the world. She is so tiny. Her cry is so precious. We are over the moon smitten with that little life. Watching my son hold her — I’ve waited a long time for this moment.

All the feels – now adding wonder, joy, happiness, excitement. thankful ….thanking God for a beautiful baby and momma.

We get back home around midnight. Sunday is a full day and this one fuller than usual – two services followed by the funeral visitation then baptism then finish setting up for the luncheon.

All the feels – now adding exhaustion, overwhelmed, tired oh so very tired…………………… knowing in my weakness, He is strong — yet finding I need a constant reminder of this.

Our home was filled with flowers. Such beauty! and my favorite jam!

My daughter in law and family had filled our house with flowers while we first went shopping. I love flowers. The first thing I noticed was the heart on the fence as we pulled into the driveway. It appears they did not listen to the no gifts. However, these were the best gifts! I wouldn’t truly get to enjoy them until Tuesday but Tuesday was coming.

Sunday morning my husband is coming up the stairs talking on the phone with my son. Their eight month old has been throwing up since we all got home last night. She needs to go to ER but they are both too sleep deprived to drive in. I throw on clothes and away we go.

All the feels — now adding stress, concern, fear…… trusting God to prepare the way and bring healing.

She is badly dehydrated. Her oxygen level drops at one point. They are admitting her.

All the feels continue………... more tears

I can’t do it on my own. God doesn’t expect me to. It is too big because He wants me to know He’s got this. ! He is greater! He is working in and through it!

I’ve missed church and the visitation but I do make it back in time for the baptism. What a wonderful outward declaration of an inward reality.

Then it is back to the hospital. This time with my husband. He hasn’t been to the hospital yet. He was at church, visitation and the baptism. He was keeping all those plates in the air.

All the feels…. now all jumbled.

We keep praying. Baby girl is getting better. She was so limp when we took her in. Now she is moving around a bit and smiling.

The next day (Monday) is our friend’s funeral. My body is so tired. My husband is forgetting things and misplacing things –exhibiting the effects of a way too full and emotional couple days. But we press on. God is greater and NONE of this took Him by surprise.

All the feels………… now adding anxiety. I get a phone call on the way to the funeral from my daughter in law who is at the hospital. I am now emotionally a wreck. I somehow make it to the funeral home. Thank you God.

It is time to compartmentalize. Pull yourself together girl. My only prayer at this point is “God, you gotta help me. God You are greater” I enter a packed funeral home.

at each chair at the funeral

All the feels — tears for the loss of my friend. Sorrow and sadness are present. It is still such a shock. Her husband is a wreck. I am thanking God that He helps me to compartmentalize so I can truly be there for her husband – be present in that moment.

All the feels — I am exhausted emotionally and physically at this point. But it isn’t over.

I head to the luncheon to check that Joan has enough help. At this point I am in full compartmentalization. The door to my emotions is pressing against the hinges but I’ve got it in check. Thankfully she has ample help. Our church ladies rock. (Some of our church family also did the set up for us.)

I need to get to the hospital. I’m sure there were those who didn’t understand why I wasn’t at the luncheon. I’ve learned that there will always be people who don’t understand. There will always be things I don’t understand. (My husband did go to the luncheon. However, he left before it was over. He was exhausted. A huge thank you to everyone who stayed to help clean up.)

Back at the hospital baby girl is still not herself. They still have her on an IV drip but have stopped the Zofran. Momma tries to get some sleep now that I am there. Baby girl is getting better.

Finally, she is released to go home.

All the feels ……. adding relief.

You might notice that I put adding after “all the feels.” That is because the former feels were still there. At times it seemed like my emotions were changing by the minute. Truly all the feels. (Helpless, worry, relief, gratitude, thankful, sadness, grief, anger, sorrow, numbness. tears, pain, wonder, joy, happiness, excitement. thankful, exhaustion, overwhelmed, tired, stress, concern, fear. more tears, anxiety, tears, sorrow, sadness, relief.)

60 hours of intense emotions that were a jumbled mess. Col 1:17 tells me that Jesus holds all things together. Yes, He truly holds us together.

til next time

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update Tuesday found my husband getting sick. He hardly ever gets sick. Today, Wednesday, he is better but was running a temp when he got up. God knew way before and that’s why we were thinking vacation so that someone would already be prepared to fill in for him tonight.

Hold your plans loosely Gloria! God has it all under control.

Me, I am just here enjoying all the beautiful flowers!

Update: Wednesday night daughter in law and I took baby girl back to ER. It was 9ish. She wasn’t dehydrated at this point. Thank you Jesus.

The Ped’s doctor gave her a choice – admit her into the hospital or get nausea meds and take her home. Then follow up with her regular doctor as needed.

Ain’t no one gets any sleep in a hospital. They would have to stick her again (and again) to get in an IV. Let’s go home!

I called Dad and Grandpa so they could come in and take us and the van home. It was 8ish and we were exhausted. The last time I pulled an all nighter involved pizza and I was much younger.

i don’t know why so much has happened in such a short period of time but I do know God’s grace is enough.

For those in the back – God’s grace IS enough!

August 3, 2022 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life, living in a fish bowl | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

it IS well

How do you handle interruptions? Inconveniences? I want each day to be well with my soul. Whether my day goes according to my plan or nothing goes according to my plan — I choose to follow Jesus’ example and trust that He has greater things in mind. After all, He sees the bigger picture. Sometimes I remember this sooner than other times.

Having a plan can be beneficial to accomplishing those things that need to be done – especially if there are lots of things to be done. So I make a plan.

For quite some time it has seemed like my plans were always changing. This was beginning to frustrate me.

I regularly commit my day, time, and projects to God. I desire to follow His will for my life. Should I really be surprised then when interruptions come along, when adjustments have to be made?Jesus was often interrupted.

As Jesus headed for the next village, people sought Him out for help. As He was going down the road, ministry happened. It is that way with us also. As we go about our plans, interruptions come up – maybe even inconveniences occur.

This should not surprise us and it certainly does not need to frustrate us. Either God is in control or He isn’t. I believe that He is therefore even the interruptions, the inconveniences have to go through Him.

For it to truly be well with my soul means when things go according to plan and when they don’t my heart can still be at peace. It IS well with my soul! I trust You, God!

til next time.

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July 25, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

know your limits

I got an envelope in the mail the other day. It was from the company I work for. They are real good about sending me a birthday card each year. The thing that was unusual about this envelope was that there was nothing inside. It was such a God moment for me.

I decided, at the end of December, that I’m not celebrating my birthday this year. It’s not because of it being a BIG birthday and I just don’t want to acknowledge it. It’s because this will be my first birthday without my sister.

My sister and I had plans to celebrate it together. It was to be a big birthday for both of us I was born on her birthday – the day she turned 10. The first seven years she did her best to ignore me. The next seven or eight she no longer lived at home. Then at 14-15 we started to bond. It was finally ok to celebrate our birthdays together. We would even dress alike. We became inseparable friends.

Ours was a friendship that would deepen throughout the years. She knew me longest and loved me without judgment. She was always a phone call or a text away. No matter what, she was there for me.

Something drastic would happen – I would contact her and ask her to pray. Often I didn’t even have to ask her. She would just pray. Something good would happen and I would contact her and she would rejoice with me.

She just knew what to say. Sometimes it was as simple as “Gloria, go take a shower. You will feel different afterward.” And I did. Tuesdays became our day each week to catch up. I still find myself thinking I gotta tell her about this or that.

She loved me, even when I was a hot mess. My husband said it best – she spoke my language. Right up to the very end we would finish each other’s sentences. On our last verbal conversation she wanted to do a video chat. We’d never done that.

She wanted to see me cuz she didn’t know if she’d make it out of the hospital. She was telling me good bye but I wasn’t having it. I just knew God was going to do something. (He did. He took her home.)

She died right before Christmas.

I let my boss know earlier this week that I am shutting my phone off on the day of my birthday. As a chaplain, I am on call 24/7 -even on vacation – but not that day. I don’t know what my husband and I will do that day. Just thinking about it makes me so very sad.

It remains to be seen what God has in store for that day. What I do know is, He sees me and He knows what is best.

there is a time to laugh and a time to mourn

til next time

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July 22, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

but as for me

I can make up an excuse. It might even be a good one. The truth is, though, excuses don’t fly with God. He has given us His Son to redeem us. He has given us His Word to guide us. He has given His Spirit to bring us into all truth. We will give an account to Him of what we have done or not done. Integrity is a huge thing for a Christian.

Excuses can cause us to fall into the trap of either laziness or selfishness. Sure there are legitimate reasons but far too often it’s easy to give an excuse so we don’t have to help or be inconvenienced. What if Jesus would have done that? Let’s follow His example. Truth is that most of us can do better.

But as for me I desire to walk in obedience with my Savior. If He calls me to it, He will enable me to do it and I don’t need to be looking for an excuse as to why I can’t do it. If I said I would do something, I will make it a priority and not leave people hanging or wondering.

There is another important ‘but as for me’ and this deals with our soul — will, mind and emotions.

There are those who operate out of fear – but as for me it is faith over everything. God is greater. He is for me, for you.

There are those who choose to focus on the pain, problem, or what could go wrong but as for me I put my focus on Jesus. He is the One who holds all things together. Col 1:17

There are those who are miserable but as for me I choose the joy God offers. As things come up, I may have to choose that joy over and over again.

There are those who don’t believe but as for me I do believe. I see God’s fingerprints everywhere. He is the God of wonder, the God of all comfort and the God who sees me.

What about you? What would your ‘but as for me’ say?

til next time

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July 20, 2022 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

better than tired

How are you doing this morning? Would your answer be fine but not really fine? tired? in pain? stressed? Then these verses are for you.

“May God our Father himself and our Master Jesus clear the road to you! And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you. May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God our Father when our Master Jesus arrives with all his followers.” 1 Thess 3:11-13 MSG

When we look at life through the lens of negativity we miss so very much. God wants to pour His love into you so that it is overflowing to those around you. Take a moment and think about yesterday. What was flowing out of you to those around you?

Infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence– what a beautiful word picture. It is so much more than that though. The ESV puts it this way “establish your hearts blameless in holiness”. God calls us to be holy as He is holy. He will enable us to do what He calls us to do. Yet, we still choose our behavior. Think about yesterday – what did your behavior tell others about your God? Do your words line up with your actions? Did you shrug off responsibility? Did you rely on excuses? Pretty sure there is room for growth in all of us.

It’s time to align our feelings with the Word of God. How we feel will try to be the driving force in how we respond. John tells us in 3:30 “He must increase and I must decrease.”

Psalm 119:165 “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Are you a person who gets offended easily? Here’s the solution – immerse yourself in the Word of God. A person who is walking in the peace God offers realizes that we are called to love not take offense. Yes, there is room for growth.

Your assignment today, should you choose to accept it, is to live the life God has for you!

I’ll be right here looking for God’s fingerprints, looking for opportunities cleverly disguised as problems and refusing to focus on negativity or pain. Yes, I’m gonna walk in peace today! What about you?

til next time

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July 19, 2022 Posted by | just thinking about stuff | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

so very tired

Do you feel stressed out, brunt out, worn out, or a tired that no amount of sleep will help? I call that soul tired. Soul – will, mind, emotions. There is a lot of information out there on how to take care of your body. The food you eat and the sleep you get does impact your health. What do you do when your soul is overwhelmed?

The Bible has much to say about this. Here is one I have used often in talking with people lately.

“Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:1-3 NKJV

“When my heart is overwhelmed” notice it doesn’t say if. Don’t stop there, continue reading for the answer. “Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.”

The enemy of our soul is seeking to steal, kill and destroy. He certainly doesn’t want you to enjoy life. He uses every single situation he can use to get you to take your eyes off Jesus.

Jesus, the Rock, wants you to live life fully.

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matt 11:28-30 NLT

Let’s take a look at what can overwhelm us.
1. Things I have no control over
2. Things I find irritating – most of this actually ties in with the first one
3. Actions of another person — hmm see the first one
4. Interruptions to my plan — also covered by the first one

Nothing takes God by surprise – not even that late night trip to the ER on Saturday night before Sunday services. We truly can ‘let go and let God.’ It does take practice but life tends to give us lots of practice time.

Paul talks about being content in whatever circumstance we find ourselves in. That is a tall order. However, we aren’t called to grit our teeth and force contentment. That doesn’t work – ever! Rather, God is right there to help us. He will turn ashes into beauty. We can trust Him and walk in His strength.

God helps you learn how to be content!

God offers you peace. He offers you comfort. He offers you strength. He offers you hope. Will you accept it and trust Him with those things that exhaust you?

til next time

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July 13, 2022 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life, living in a fish bowl | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

just start

I made my husband breakfast this morning. Why is that important? I woke up with zero motivation. It would have taken no effort to drink coffee, be sad, and watch mindless tv all day. Instead, I made him breakfast.

Just start. Do one thing. Objects in motion really are easier to navigate.

We (my son, daughter in law, their family, hubby and I) have had a wonderful visit with my niece and her family. We packed as much as we could possibly pack into the last 5 1/2 days. Looking back it may have been too much for my body, but I’d do it all over again. Oh, the memories that we made. The sound of laughter still rings in my ears.

After editing I have 155 pictures. I love pictures. Here are just a few.

bubbles
fireballs
best fireworks

Yesterday they returned to MN and my son and family have other commitments today. The house is so very quiet. I woke up missing everyone and desperately missing my sister. Truth is that life goes on and today is what I make it. I choose. I can do nothing (which is a choice) and stay sad and spiral downward or I can choose to rejoice in the wonderful time we had and live today choosing to enjoy this day as well.

This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

It was time to follow my own advice.

Life is 10% what is going on and 90% how you handle it. Today is a good day for a good day. Ask God to help you walk in the unforced rhythm of grace. — I did and I know that He will.

Just start. Pick something and do it. Then do the next thing. Oh and while doing it — smile — it does help. My daddy said so. 🙂

til next time

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July 9, 2022 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life, living in a fish bowl, PMR, RA | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

i pray over you

I’m not sure how often I woke last night with this song (I Speak Jesus) running through my mind. It is more than a song for me – it is my prayer.

I Speak Jesus!

To my friends who are facing what seems to be an impossible situation

To my friends who are dealing with health issues that seem to be unending

To my friends who are waiting for that call or procedure to be done and longing to hear it is all good

To my friends who are in the midst of divorce or similar heartache

To my friends who are hit hard with inflation

To my friends who are so very angry

To my friends who so desperately need Jesus

To my friends who are dealing with depression

To my friends who are so very lonely

To my friends who look at the future with anxiety

I speak the name of Jesus over you……

til next time

June 27, 2022 Posted by | living in a fish bowl | , , , , , | Leave a comment

back spasm and ra

My last post I talked about sprinkling sunshine.

no matter what

Life is 10% what happens and 90% how you handle it. Look for the good. Don’t just trust God when life is good – trust Him when life is hard.

Today I’m thankful for things that I can take for granted.

getting out of bed

standing up straight

sitting without pain

getting up without pain

getting up without help

making it to the bathroom in time

and the cold brew my husband just brought me

There is back pain and then there is back pain.

Yesterday, I was determined to go to work. I’ve worked with plenty of pain going on in my body.

This back pain is a new one. It is as if someone grabs the muscle in the middle of my back, squeezes it tightly and pulls up on it. I literally can’t move for a moment or two. It feels like I am going to buckle under the pain. Thankfully I haven’t yet. It became increasingly clear that I would not be able to walk around the factory location that day.

Why am I writing about this? God used this to alter the course of my life. How? I was scheduled for out patient surgery Friday morning. I had cancelled once because I just couldn’t do it. I called the office a month later and got in to see the Dr again. I was expecting him to find that surgery wasn’t really necessary. Nope, we really need to do this. So, I accepted it and got it scheduled.

Then the Dr orders an EKG to be done before surgery. I’ve never had to have one of these before surgery. Hmmm. Turns out the EKG was abnormal.

When you get a personal call from the specialist – you know it isn’t good news. It just so happened that my back pain had started the night before and when the doctor called I was in some serious back pain. This also concerned him because the particular surgery that I was to have puts a lot of pressure on the back.

An abnormal EKG means he needs me to see my family doctor before surgery and get his ok.

I get in to see my family doctor that morning. I ask him if this will put me in a full blown flare up? It might – was the best I got from him. He does feels that the back pain is bad enough to postpone the surgery. If it weren’t for the back pain, he would have allowed the surgery. In the meantime he is sending me to a cardiologist before the surgery is rescheduled – ‘just to be sure.’ I’m determined to leave this in God’s hands and not worry.

a care package from a friend

Last night I couldn’t go to church. It takes a lot for me not to go to church. My husband brought home a care package – a reminder that God is at work. God’s got this. God has truly blessed me with some wonderful people to do life with.

I don’t know why I just couldn’t get the surgery over with. I don’t know why I am in such pain. I don’t know why I need to go back to the cardiologist. I don’t know why I’ve had to put everything on hold. I do know that God is greater and He shines through His kids. He will turn this around. He will bring beauty out of ashes. He will get the glory because I will give Him all the glory no matter what.

When life hands you a challenge — let God arise within you and handle that challenge with His strength, grace and joy.

til next time

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He is my provider!

https://youtu.be/5pbhWBp6PKw

May 26, 2022 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, PMR, RA | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

sprinkle sunshine

On Tuesday this was my fb status. “I’ve already decided that today is going to be a good day! For me, it will be a very full day of chaplaining which means lots and lots of peopling. I’m determined to bring some sunshine wherever I go. What about you?”

I attached this picture from our vacation to the Gulf.

And I did just that. I sprinkled sunshine and dumped buckets of it when that was needed. I came home and attended an online meeting. It was a full day.

Later that evening I started experiencing back pain. It was hard to sleep. In the morning it was full blown, can’t hardly move, excruciating back pain.

All along I have felt that my health issues are more of a spiritual nature. What I mean by that is, the bible tells us the enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy. (John 10:10 Guess what? He wants to do the same to you. He is pure evil.) However, he is limited in what he can do to Christ follower.

There have been instances where clearly my life could have ended, but God. There have been times when the pain was so intense that a part of me wanted to die, but God. God is right there in the hard things. His grace is enough – that isn’t just some silly saying. It rings true every single struggle.

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy.

My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10 NLT

Jesus came to redeem us. He came to give us life abundantly – rich and satisfying. This isn’t a life free from problems. Jesus also said that “… in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NASB

“Take delight in the Lord,
    and he will give you your heart’s desires.

 Commit everything you do to the Lord.
    Trust him, and he will help you.” Psalm 37:4-5 NLT

What I know that I know to be true is that trusting in God – in midst of the hard thing, when life doesn’t make sense, when the pain is intense – means that nothing is wasted. He will turn ashes into beauty. He will make a way where there doesn’t seem to be a way. He will turn things around. He is with me in the fire. His grace is enough. Life is worth living because God is God!

continued here

til next time

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May 26, 2022 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life, living in a fish bowl, PMR, RA | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment