Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

graceful

Growing old is all part of the progression of life.  Growing old gracefully is a thing of beauty.

Lately I have been feeling my age.  This came as a surprise to me because I pretty much have to do the math to figure out how old I am.  That is until lately.

I’m looking in the mirror and to my surprise my bottom eyelashes are gone.  Ok, they aren’t really gone but they are invisible.    When did that happen?  I used to have beautiful lashes that needed little mascara.   Somewhere  along the journey of life things changed.

Growing old gracefully……..

graceful –characterized by elegance or beauty of form, manner, movement, or speech;  elegant

Psalm 92:13-15 (NIV)

13 planted in the house of the LORD,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, “The LORD is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

growing old gracefully (staying fresh and green) ……………….

til next time

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September 3, 2011 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, spiritual reflections | , , , | 4 Comments

problem/solution – which one are you?

Maybe it is because my husband is going to the cardiologist tomorrow.  Maybe it is because the last 7 months have been more intense than any other time in my life.  Maybe it is because I am in the midst of peri-menopause.  Or maybe it is just because I am fed up with the enemy stirring up strife and using willing people.

Whatever it is – this is not my usual blogger post.

If you read my blog with any regularity you will know that I love God, love life and am striving to love and encourage people to do the same.

This blog is intended to make you think about whether you are part of the problem or part of the solution.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
12But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.

Yet there are people who seem to think this doesn’t apply to them and that they are free to tear down their pastor and/or church.  Someone in leadership (whether it is the worship leader, youth pastor, lead pastor, pastors wife or someone else in leadership) is fair game for their critical spirit.

So here is the deal, if something is going on that you feel is not good, then go to your pastor and talk with him/her about it.   I don’t know how often I find myself repeating this to people who don’t even attend church with me.

Here is the other deal.  Most people who gripe just want to gripe and get others to join them.  They don’t really  want to be a part of the solution.

If you call yourself a Christian and yet find yourself tearing down the work of God   —  Shame on you.

If all you do is grumble about whatever it is that you think someone should be doing,  should not be doing, didn’t do right or didn’t do it how you wanted it done, – to anyone that will listen — shame on you.

Let me say that another way.  If you are not willing to step up and help than at least be supportive of those who are trying to do something.  Sure “maybe” you could do it better, but those who grumble are generally not those who take action.

If you are tearing down your church and/or pastor and think it is not a big deal or it isn’t really hurting anyone –  you are mistaken.   You are buying into yet another lie from the enemy.

It can and does hinder the work of God.

Either you can remain part of the problem or you can become part of the solution.

If you remain part of the problem remember that God does not view grumbling and back biting lightly.

If you are the person to whom they are griping to — please don’t let your silence be taken as agreement.  You can offer to go with them to speak to the pastor.  You can encourage them to get involved.  You can turn the focus around to something good that is going on.  Don’t let their critical spirit rub off on you by doing nothing.

Please don’t be a willing participant used by the enemy to stir up strife.

til next time

November 1, 2010 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, perimenopause, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

journey

It’s been over a week since I made the life changing decision that rushing was no longer going to be a daily part of my life.   I would like to eliminate it completely from my life.   However,  I will settle for just not having it be a constant companion.

I recently received Francesca Battistelli’s CD.   “Free to Be Me” is a great song. It pretty much describes my life when I was 20.

Wait, what am I saying?  It is a great song for my life right now.    I’m still trying to put the pieces together.  I am  trying to avoid a mid-life crisis.  Perfection is my enemy,  I have a tendency to be clumsy, and most important God still has great plans for me.  I am free to be me.

Ah, but I am not 20 anymore.

In fact, I recently had a birthday.   It was a great time for reflection.  Am I where God wants me, doing what He wants, and living the abundant life that He has for me?  Great questions to ponder.

I remember one year really struggling with the word abundant.  Just what is the abundant life that God talks about in His Word?  At that time it sure didn’t seem to describe my life.  Now, I’ve come to realize that it has much more to do with the heart than material things.  Ah, but that is for another blog.

Francesca sings another song “Beautiful“.  She sings about how God looks at us and sees who we can be — making life beautiful.

The thing I have noticed most in this last week is that rushing/hurrying were tools used to hinder the enjoyment of my life.  The thing I regret is that I didn’t do this sooner.  Yet I know that God will take that regret and make something useful out of it.

Some songs really resonate with me.  “Beautiful” is one of those.

“…. mercy reaching to save me…..”

God’s mercy does reach out to save me, especially from myself.

“…there’s a joy inside I can’t contain, but even perfect days can end in rain…

The biggest difference I have noticed is my joy is back.  It’s like my joy was buried under the heavy schedule that I ran with.

“I have come undone, but I have just begun —  changing by your grace….”

God is always at work in my life.   By His grace is the only way I know how to change.

What is God trying to do in your life?  Say yes!  It is an amazing journey!  A journey that I am taking time to enjoy and not just rush through.

Here is the song “Beautiful”

Enjoy the journey!!

til next time

August 14, 2010 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, Pastor's wife, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

when it rains….

There are people who are determined to learn the hard way.  They insist on making all their own mistakes.  Learning from the mistakes of others does not even hit on their radar. 

I am not one of those people – nor have I ever been one of those people.

There are people who think that if you haven’t personally experienced exactly what they are going through then you can’t possibly understand.  If you haven’t ‘been there’ then you just don’t know how very hard it is. 

I am not one of those people either.  Maybe in my teens and early 20’s I might have been.  I do know that if I was, then I have grown out of that way of thinking. 

Everyone has problems.  No one is immune to life’s trials.  

In my life God has used people to minister to and touch my life in ways that are down right amazing.   If I waited for someone to come along who is walking in shoes similar to mine, I would still be waiting.

I was talking with a co-worker today and mentioned that in my life right now I am pre-menopausal, dealing with the empty nest syndrome and coming to grips with my mom’s diagnosis of dementia.  (Currently my mom is spending a few weeks here.)  I also told her that I was sure that the purpose of all of this happening at the same time was not an attempt to drive me over the top. 

She laughed with me (sometimes it really helps to not take yourself so seriously) and said  something along the lines of “well, if you ended up at the mental ward that would probably mean that someone there needed help.” 

That is the key right there.  Much of the time it really isn’t about me. 

I remember crying with my friend whose parent was battling dementia/alzheimer’s.   I couldn’t truly understand then, but I could share in her tears.  I am so glad that I didn’t try to come up with a whole bunch of pat answers.  There really are no answers.   Now I have a whole bunch of questions, but still there are no answers. 

I saw another friend this weekend who (even though her kids are all still young and at home) understands in her heart how very hard it will be when they are gone. 

I don’t have to be living in the someone’s situation to extend compassion.   Someone doesn’t have to have experienced the ‘same thing’ in order for God to use them to minister to me. 

When it rains sometimes it pours.   Yet it is that very rain that causes growth. 

Which always reminds me of this song.  Great pictures too!

If it never never rains, then we’ll never never grow.

til next time

November 17, 2009 Posted by | dementia, perimenopause, relationships | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

empty nest

The water is stirring in my fishbowl again.

When the count down was 80 something I didn’t let it faze me.  When the count was 50 something I was still in denial.  30 something started to get my attention, yet I still managed to push the thoughts to the far corner of my mind.

The count is now less than two weeks – 12 days to be exact.  We have started the “what do you want to do before you move”  list.  We have crossed off Pizza Ranch, Golden Coral, Pizza and a movie night at home, and going out to a movie.  We still have Dynasty buffet, 2nd degree black belt presentation, grocery shopping (of course I am sending food with him and food for his brother) and I’m sure there is more on his list that I am forgetting. 

Hmm, kind of funny how much revolves around food.

This is the next step in Andrew’s journey.  He is beyond ready for it, me not so much.  However, God helped me through Chris’ first apartment   (by the way Chris has not been home since May) and I know He will see me through this. 

It is a bit daunting though.  Just what is it I am going to be when I ‘grow up’?  What are Curt and I going to do with that big house?  We’ve spent the last 3 years working around Andrew’s schedule so that we could carve out time for the three of us.  What will we do now?   God knows that I am going to miss that boy terribly!  Yet another part of me is so very excited for him and the whole world that is out there.  The possibilities are endless. 

I do wonder at the timing though.  Maybe that is why some call it the mid-life crisis – kids move out, body changing, and parents ailing all at the same time.  Yet the key factor to not forget is that God is still on the throne and He is very much a present help in trouble.  I am grateful for the peace that comes in trusting Him.  I am grateful that I know my kids are in the palm of His hand.

til next time

September 28, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl | , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

i got your back

A lot has been written about friendship.  There are plenty of books on the subject.  As far as that goes there are plenty of opinions about just what is friendship.

For me this pretty much sums it up. ” A friend loves at all times”   Proverbs 17:17.  Pretty straight forward, fairly simple, yet its meaning runs deep.                 

              aug 29 2009

I absolutely love this picture.  What you can’t tell by looking at the picture is that we are laughing.  I can only imagine what it looked like as Tonya attempted to get this shot.  (yea for timers)  Good times!

As you can tell by our hair the wind is blowing.  This is quite symbolic for me because in life it can get a bit breezy or even down right windy.   I value friendships — I am grateful for those in my life who have my back.

I am blessed in my life to have people who love me no matter what.  This has been tested a bit more lately as I have entered into the nether world of pre- menopause.  Which, by the way, seems to come in tidal waves — or at times it may even be considered a tsunami.   Really trying not to make excuses but also trying to stay in the truth.  It is not a walk in the park — this entering into the next stage of life.  

Through the good times and the bad times, through laughter and through tears,  rejoicing with one another and travailing in prayer for each other — that’s just what friends are. 

To each one of you that has and is impacting my life — thank you.  I am blessed.

til next time

August 30, 2009 Posted by | menopause, perimenopause, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

when thoughts are not fit to be spoken

Sometimes, many times, our thoughts are not fit to be spoken.  The problem comes in when we end up and speak them anyway.  I am discovering a whole new level of  the scripture – “Be still and know that I am God”   

Psalm118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  Making that choice can be a challenge some days.  Although a challenge that is by far worth the effort.

twisted tree A picture paints a thousand words right?  See this picture??  Now think menopausal!!  It pretty much looks like how I feel much of the time these days.

frazel cattail

Or how about this picture?  It could depict much of my battle with this ‘new adventure’.    

I do try to stay focused on whatsoever things are good, lovely, pure…..  I know that God will not allow more than I can handle with Him by my side.  I know that He is able to do more than I can dream.  I know that He is very much aware of all that is going on.  I know these things and still sometimes it gets the better of me for awhile.  

The thing I have noticed is that if I can remain silent and not give words to my thoughts, it passes much quicker.  Believe me I am all about it passing quickly.  This has reminded me that thoughts are just that –  thoughts.  The Bible tells us to take our thoughts captive.  By speaking out my thoughts I open a door for more of the same thoughts. 

Instead if I be still and rest in the knowledge that God is indeed God.  If I focus on scripture like this one- “May the God of hope fill me with all joy and peace as I trust in Him so that I may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (personalizing Rom 15:13)  Oh, those thoughts are so much better.  Those thoughts speak life into my situation and those thoughts are fit to be spoken. 

One day this too shall pass and I will be soaring as the eagles.eagle in flight

til next time  (thanks Tonya for the use of the pics — I love em)

May 29, 2009 Posted by | menopause, perimenopause, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

the next step of the journey

My last post was on menopause and so I thought I’d post something a bit more upbeat.  At least I am in the trenches of this whole menopausal thing and have kids in college.  My poor sister  went through it with young kids.  I remember at the time telling her that God wouldn’t allow more than she could handle.  While I know that is true, what is also true is that we don’t have a clue as to how much we can handle with God by our side.  Oh, the stretching times can be rough — good but rough.

My son Andrew graduated last night from college.  When I think back at the fact that he was pretty adamant  that college was not in his future (check out the event that changed the course of his life) it only makes me prouder of him.  He truly finished strong!!   

Unlike his father, school was not a joy to him.  I do think if Curt could, he would be a full time student.   We still have one in college, then Curt will go after his doctorate.grad 001  (Soon honey)

I’m sure that Andrew could have did without all the pomp and circumstance.  Yet he knew that this was way important to his momma.  Here he is on the way.  grad 002  We got there a bit early so we had a chance to check out this great ice cream shop that has been in the area for over 100 years.  Yes, it lived up to it’s reputation.  We will be back!!

On to the graduation.    grad - aw

  getting diplomaThe diploma

 grad 007

Afterward there were way too many people for my space issues.  Yikes!!

grad dad and andrew    Congrats Andrew !!!

Here comes the next adventure Andrew.  The possibilities are endless.  Enjoy the journey.  As the speaker said last night, “You can’t climb mountains without the risk of falling down.”        Hmm, good advice for all of us.

Life is an adventure to be lived out not to just be endured.  Go after your dreams; don’t let fear stand in your way.  “Fear not for I am with you says the Lord”

til next time

May 22, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, menopause, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

menopause – will it ever end?

pre-menopausal —

working two jobs —

menopausal —

dealing with weight issues and the whole exercise nightmare —

back to pre-menopausal  (pre is a just a milder case) —

the day to day household operations, just how bad does one need clean clothes?? —

menopausal —

an RV that needs major attention —

back to pre-menopausal —

weeds in my flower garden and weeds in my vegetable garden — {shh they are sleeping} —

menopausal —

a kitchen wall to be painted —

pre -menopausal —

wood floors that are in desperate need of some attention — maybe I’ll just carpet them  —

menopausal —

working way too much —

pre-menopausal

hmmm, I am beginning to see a pattern.  The other day a dear friend asked me how long I was going to use the excuse of menopause.  I promptly told her I was going to use it til it was over.  Which by the way should have been by now if what I’ve heard about looking at your mom and older sister for your time frame was true.   Let me tell you that is just nonsense!!  Ok so maybe my menopausal self is shining through a bit in this blog. 

Another dear friend said that it took her 10 years.  10 YEARS!!!  What is that all about?  You have got to be kidding me.  I don’t think my family nor I could last that long.  I’m sure that God is using this somehow, someway for some sort of plan.  It does make me want to ask Him if we are ‘there yet?’ 

I find that I have to work at not being envious of those precious dear ladies who inform me that it just wasn’t a problem for them.  Ok, so where was I when God handed out that gift?    

Is there an ending?  Does it just go on and on?   What is it with my emotions?  I don’t even recognize me some moments.  I’ve always had a wide range of emotions.  Now my range is dwindling and I don’t like it!  

I remember having a ‘mild’ case of this when I was pregnant.  At least with the hormonal issues associated with pregnancy came a wonderful bundle of joy.  In my case two bundles of joy.  What will I have when this is over?  Hopefully my sense of humor back!?!   

I had a lady tell me that I should talk with some of the people who know me best and see if they have noticed a change.  So, did that and they have — now what?  It confirms that I am indeed menopausal?  I already knew that!!

It takes ‘crucify the flesh’ to a whole new level for me.  Many times lately my prayer has been “Lord please help me to not do or say something that I will need to apologize for later.”  While this is a really good prayer, it bugs me that I find I have to pray it more and more.  Why can’t my hormones just get back to normal? 

I’ll try to bring this around to a more positive note.  In worship last night we sang an old hymn.  Here are a few of the lines.

Oft times the day seems long, our trials hard to bear; We’re tempted to complain, To murmur and despair…….Sometimes the sky looks dark, with not a ray of light; We’re tossed and driven on, No human help in sight; But there is one in heaven, who knows our deepest care, Let Jesus solve your problem, Just go to Him in prayer……….

I wonder was Esther in the middle of menopause when she wrote this?  I think she sure could have been.

Well that’s what has been going on in this fishbowl.  Just trying to stay in the truth and keeping it real. 

til next time

May 21, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, menopause, perimenopause, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

who is it that I am becoming?

I was talking with a woman the other day who is struggling with acceptance.  I encouraged her to be herself.  That in trying to be please others, she was making herself miserable.  It can be so easy to fall into that trap.  Who doesn’t want others to like them?

 So today I read a friend’s blog (check it out here).  This got me to thinking about what is really important to me.    Do I see growth and what areas need attention?  

I  know that this pre-menopausal state that I am finding myself in has caused quite a stir in my emotions.  I think that this is the time in my life that, if I were a guy, I would be buying a brand new sports car and going on a long road trip!!   Doing the responsible thing has certainly been more of a challenge now that my body has turned on me.   

There are times that my hormones get the better of me.   Hormones and attitude –they seem to go together like Bonnie and Clyde.  **Heavy sigh**   I have also found that a crazy busy schedule only magnifies this problem.  So how am I doing on slowing down?  Not so good.

It is so easy to fill my schedule with work, work, work.  I know that I have put in way too many hours at the clinic.  I also know that it is just  ‘easier’ for me to do many of the things I do at church.  “Easier” in the sense that I can choose when to do it, instead of doing it at the last minute because whoever said they were going to — didn’t. 

However, I also know that this isn’t helpful to me or them.  Follow through is an important step in maturity.  I have a friend who has told me that she loves to start things.  She can have all kinds of energy to start a new project.  Finishing is a whole different story.   

Sometimes, many times, finishing or follow through comes at a great sacrifice.  It is important that we count the cost ahead of time.  It is also important that we make it a priority to do what we have said we would do. 

This is why some people just won’t commit to doing anything.   Then they don’t have to deal with the ‘follow through’ if something else comes up or they just don’t feel like doing it at the moment.  Yet that creates another problem.  When people do not commit,  they cannot be counted on to help.   This can be discouraging to whoever is trying to organize  an event, fund raiser, outing,  etc.  

There are times when things do come up.  There are also times when we just plain forget.  Acknowledging this with a phone call or an apology goes a long ways.   It is those times that grace becomes evident or at least it should. 

Here is a recent example of what happens when people don’t commit.   We had a hot dog stand last weekend.  There were two time slots.  The first time slot was the best one for my schedule.   However, only one person was signed up for the second shift.  As much as I really wanted to work the first shift there was no way I was going to take the chance that others “might” show up to help her.     

However, I do see growth in my life with this recent example.  In the past I would have worked the first shift and just stayed for the second.   Instead I spoke with the women doing the first shift and explained to them why I was switching. 

Who is it that I am becoming?  What direction has my life taken?  Am I making time for what is utmost important?  Are my priorities in order? 

til next time

May 8, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, menopause, perimenopause, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments