Thursday, March 29, 2007

Do Not Be Afraid

I keep on getting this message over and over and over again in my Bible reading and book reading, and I am pondering all of this in my heart!

Do not fear
For I am with you
Do not anxiously look about you
For I am your God
I will strengthen you
Surely I will help you
Surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand
Isaiah 41:10

And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself
perfect
confirm
strengthen and
establish you
1 Peter 5:10

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Spring Break

I am on the third official day of Spring Break, but it hasn't been what I expected. The last entry was about the wonderful day I had, and I started by saying that I went to work out. Well, apparently, I had thrown my shoulder out at the Monday night Group Power, and I really wasn't ready to do another weigh lifting workout just yet. So, I had a nagging pain from Friday to Tuesday. I decided on Monday to just ice and heat and rest, but it didn't go away. So, I had Anna message it, and then went up to Paul's for an adjustment. He said it WAY out. My right shoulder was way higher than my left.

The good news is that he said that my lower back was great. This means that my record of it not going out is up to 27 months! YEAH!

I am still sore from the massage and adjustment. So, I will just walk today.

The Well-Watered Soul

I have really enjoyed my Bible reading lately. Since I had so much time, I decided to just keep reading through the Old Testament, and I read all through the life of Ezra and Nehemiah yesterday with the accompanying prophecies in Joel and Malachi. WOW! I loved the extended time to just sit and soak in the Word! It was nice to not have Bird's Eye View or my Roman's study looming over me so I could just concentrate on that. Very fun. I hope to just keep reading and resting today and be caught up to Holy Week in my Bible reading on the actual Holy Week that starts on April 1! Very fun.

Phil and Jan and George and I went out to dinner on Sunday night. We walked along Waterfront Park and took pictures and had a delightful time talking. We settled on Mongolian Grill and had a great talk. Phil let me borrow three of his books The Great Omission, Choose the Life, and Connecting with God by Willard, Hull, and Adsit, respectively. I hope to glance at them as I prayerfully prepare for my meeting on discipleship and mentoring with Claudia, Vicki, and Carrie; three Godly women I am so looking forward to working with for years to come. So healthy, but I have already gone on and on with that one for too long about that happy thing.

I plan on doing much praying for this meeting and for the women's retreat at Wi-Ne-Ma on April 21 today.

Well-Trained Mind

Nikki has not responded about continuing on with the autobiographies. :( So, I am not sure what to do with that. I need to get a plan, but I think I will wait for the summer to execute it. In the meantime, I hope to finish up The Memory Keeper's Daughter for some online and IRL discussion. I also have House of Seven Gables to read with my Book Dames. It is hard being in two book clubs and still continue the books from The Well-Educated Mind, but I can't imagine giving up either of those two book clubs. I love them!

Wellness in Body

Well, I am going to walk today, and I am going to track my food intake. Too much hand to mouth lately, and it has just got to stop. My weight is up about 7 lbs these days. So, I want to get back to ideal. :)

Wellness of Heart

Oh yes, it is so well with my heart and soul right now. I am over the hump of the most recent thing with my old church. I learned a good lesson. Some people are (really ONE person, that I know of) still hurt about me leaving, and I need to embrace that and feel empathy for them. It is not the case with my good friends, they love me and I love them, and it doesn't matter what church we go to in order to continue the relationship. Apparently, for some (or maybe one), it is an issue. So, I don't have any problem staying away. In fact, I rather like it. :)

Friday, March 23, 2007

A Beautiful Day

I had such a great day today. I went to work out and saw Lisa and Scott. I also got a great workout with Kelly who is definitely the hardest of the instructors in Group Power. After that, I had a nice chat with Robin while doing the Elliptical.

I came home and read my book (see margin at right). I love this book! I read about life in the cave and how God meets us in the cave. I have been so ULTIMATELY encouraged with this book. It is hitting me right where I am at these days.

I also spent time meditating in and observing Romans 4 while the boys did their math. I was on the couch, Michael in the chair, Paul on the loveseat. It is the last day of school. They are all caught up with everything. So, I had them just do Math and a bit of reading this week.

Sharon called to say that Lisa was under the gun. So, our lunch was postponed until after Spring Break. I called Sharon and said, "Let's go out to lunch then!" We had a great time at Sam's Station. I loved their soups, and I loved the fellowship. After this, we went walking in her neighborhood taking pictures of the blooms. We also had some tea and scones.

Then, I came home and folded some laundry, cleaned up the kitchen, straigthened up the house, and downloaded my picture of the day.

When George came home he cracked my upper back (have a little pinch, nothing major), and he brought me dinner as I rested on the heating pad. I watched an hour of news. Now, we are watching the Oregon vs. UNLV game.

Oh, btw, I had a wonderful thing happen to me yesterday. There is a woman who called me to humbly apologize to me for teasing me in a public setting. She was praying that morning, and she felt that she must ask my forgiveness.

WOW! We had such a lovely talk about things, and she told me how much she respected me, how much she loves having me in the group, and how she see such great things for me in my future. She also just talked about love and the love in the body of believers I am now involved with. What a blessed phone call, in every way!

I feel so especially blessed because I have had such bad experiences in the past of people teasing me with a sarcastic twist, hurting my feelings, and me just either sucking it up or going to that person if it gets to be a pattern and have them be 1) clueless and/or 2) defensive. So, can I just say that I am SO glad that I am in fellowship of believers who display Biblical peacemaking! YAHOO! Confession and forgiveness are wonderful things!

I do want to say that I was trying to be really careful not to say anything negative about people. I think I did OK. I am trying to be compassionate and honest but not negative about things. So, I think that I did all right.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Quote from Nikki's photoblog

What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter. ~ Henri Matisse

Ticket

Got ticketed for not having proof of insurance in my car yesterday. I really cried.

Weeping may last for a night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.

I'm over it. I need to take a break. I think I have too many people in my life right now.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Moments of Quiet

There have been some full days. They haven't necessarily been busy, but they have been full. I had the A boys from 8:30 yesterday to 8:30 today. We visited the H's which made eight kids all together. Heavy talks with people. Still processing.

Now we have J over while his mom is at a prayer retreat. Surprisingly, I am all caught up with my Bible study and book reading. I just need to prepare for my summary of the chapter to present to the women for Wednesday night. It is quiet as the boys are downstairs, and I am up here. The house is picked up and fairly clean. So, I am enjoying the quiet.

Went and took some more pictures of flowers. I know it must be tiring but it is nice to document. I got wet and muddy as I took a picture lying on my back on the wet lawn. Sacrificing my body for a picture. LOL!

Monday, March 19, 2007

A Pencil




















A pencil
long and lean
strong as wood
but giving out bits of me
on to the page of history
until I must be sharpened down
with cuts and blades whirling around me
so that I become effectively sharp once again
in order to give out bits of me on to the page of history.

The process continues: giving out bits of me and sharpening,
giving out bits of me and sharpening as the wood is whittled away
and all that is left is that tossable cold metal shell where the eraser once stood,
and the long and growing story of an instrument directed by the Author's hand in HISstory.



(An online friend suggested a poetry writing challenge, and these were the instructions:
"For this prompt, you`ll come up with a poem about an object that describes you. First, choose an object. Next, list down the reasons you think the object you chose represents you. From your list of reasons, which one is the most powerful? Which one conveys the strongest image of you? Once you`ve chosen your main image, list down things that support this main image. Build your poem from there.")

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Joy of Laying it Down

Weeping may last for a night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning!

I almost didn't go to Book Babes this morning. I was ready to crawl in a hole after the bomb of last night. However, I had been up since 4:30, and I had journaled and prayed. So, I got my iPod and camera and walked in the wonderful sunshine to downtown. (About a 45 minute walk) I did call M to find out if we were OK, and she said that we were totally fine. I mourn the loss of what working together would have looked like. That was one drawback of my decision.

Almost to town, I found some of the most lovely flowers.

I think seeing the beauty in each new day is what is important when you have something hard happen. So, just the effort to stop in the middle of my walk to photograph the lovely flowers was enough to really cheer me up. Stop and smell the roses. There is something to that statement even if these aren't roses. :)







Then, I got to Book Babe, and a cup of Big Train Chai in a cheery yellow cup, a nice waitress, a empathetic ear from Carol, and talking about a fun book started to lift me.

How can your spirits not be lifted by going to a cafe that has the name Sunnyside Up and posters like this in their window?










And then there was this sweet little girl with her dad going to do the St. Patrick's Day Fun Run:





Then, talking with Rosemary and her husband at the run was fun. Why didn't I take a picture of you Rosemary? Did you win a prize?

Then, I walked down to the river and took lots of pictures of ducks while I talked on the phone with Kim:




I even did this with one hand. I have a funny story about what happened while I was talking to Kim at www.carol365.blogspot.com.

Then, after this, I went to the library and got House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife (Sequel to Pride and Prejudice and later taken back because it was pornographic IMHO!), then, I walked to Borders and ordered a Chai Frost and sat and read the Hardy book. Then, I walked home and talked to Patty on the way home. She validated my reality about the thing that made me sad last night; and from sharing with me about her own life, she mentioned having memorized James 1 regarding her own trial of having bursitis. This really spurred me on to apply it to my own life, and it reminded me of this passage I memorized in the Philips version of the Bible:

When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your life, my brethren
Don't resent them as intruders, but welcome them as FRIENDS
Realize that they come to test your faith and to produce in you the quality of ENDURANCE
But let that process go on until that endurance has been fully developed
And you will find that you have become a [wo]man of mature character
With the right sort of independence.

James 1:2-4 (Philips)

So, it was nice to have Patty say, "What happened was ridiculous." George also reaffirmed and validated my reality too, and he really helped me to see the character of the person who said the things she said to me last night, and you know, I actually listened to his assessment. I usually don't believe him because I think he is biased toward me. I remember him telling me this summer that he can tell me truth about good things about me over and over, but I don't want to listen to him (he really was crazy to marry me, right?) Well, I am listening to him now, and that is a very good thing. He is a wise man who shoots straight and tells it like it is.

Then, I finally got to talk through it with Kim H., and we were able to talk through what happened. Not, at all like the conversation I had with the other person last night. It just reaffirmed for me that Kim H. is a very good friend, and I love her very much.

So, I got off the phone and everything lifted. It was all the lovely things that led up to this too. The sunshine and exercise and picture taking and lovely sights of Corvallis and ducks mating and talks with friends and prayer and reading and chai teas and face-to-face contact with lovely people.

So, the cherry on top was also talking to Teala and having her come to church with me tonight and meeting Claudia and talking to Debbie on the way to church on the cell phone and having her tell me that what happened to me was just a bunch of "hokey-poky" LOL!

So, I sit here tonight a changed woman. Thanks God. Thanks for friends and dear husband and lovely, sunny days. I really have been able to spread that letter out to you and have let you take it from me.

Laying It Before the Lord

Sigh, sigh, sigh. I woke up this morning at 4:30 with a heavy heart. All the other things happening in my life have been so hard in the life/death/divorce dynamic, but the relationships grow sweeter by the day as a result. People pulling together and loving. It has been a beautiful thing. I kept telling people that all the things happening have been an exercise in me "laying the letter at the altar before the Lord" like Hezekiah. I was rejoicing in God growing me to lay the burden on Him. I told George just this week, "I feel like I am going through such growth. I am so excited!"

So, now comes this new little thing. A conversation from a person who thinks I have "abandoned the family" because I have left my old "job" at my old church. OUCH! I see it as being called to a new job with better benefits; still part of the same company or "family" but in a new building. Same CEO (Jesus Christ), but it is a work group that I am much more fitted to.

So, why can I not lay this "letter" out in front of the temple before the Lord like Hezekiah like I have been doing over the last month and a half? Again, every new thing that has come my way in the last month has been placed there at the altar. God continued to whisper "Peace, peace" to me. Where is your whisper, dear God? What is it about relational tension that sends me reeling emotionally to where I cannot hear that still, small voice from You? I think it is because it is more personal. It is more relational. It hits me more at the core. It hits my identity. I have this need to be liked.

OUCH, OUCH, and DOUBLE OUCH!

My dear sweet George listened to the whole phone call, and he said he prayed for me through the whole thing. I hung up and he yelled from the other room, "Oh Carol, she is so young!" I think I need to realize that, she is so young. Most of my other friends are much older and wiser, and they totally "get" why we left and are excited about what we are doing. I had another friend say, "My biggest comfort in your leaving is knowing how genuinely happy you are in your new situation." This young woman did not know my misery in my old situation. She did not know the burden that I carried there. My leaving was a way for me to give that burden totally over to the Lord because in the midst of the situation, I could not seem to give it over to Him. I could not continue to play a game of "everything is fine" when it wasn't fine.

So now, I have to deal with the accusation that I have "abandoned" this thing that she calls family. I just see it so differently.

What is weird is that she is not that good of a friend. It is not like she really knows me. We get together, and I listen to her while she talks; that is the extent of our relationship. I don't need to go to her church in order to continue to do that. She is young. I need to just pray for her and not be hurt by what she said.

All this because C wanted me to go to the conference and hear the speaker. Oh my! If I had known what would result of it, I never would have done it!

Just really need to pray for the hurt feelings that others might have with us leaving. I can't believe the difference in attitude at the new church. I am in such a better place. Thank you, Lord for bringing me to this "place of abundance."

Friday, March 16, 2007

The LampPost


The LampPost, originally uploaded by carolfoasia.

I just love this photo! Spider webs and all! This is on the creek down the street from my house.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

All Creatures of Our God and King

All creatures of our God and King,
lift up your voice and with us sing,

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Thou burning sun with golden beam,
Thou silver moon with softer gleam!

O praise Him! O praise Him!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Ye who long pain and sorrow bare
Praise God and on Him cast your care

O praise Him! O praise Him!

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Rushing wind that art so strong
Clouds that sail in heaven alone
Rising mourn in praise rejoice
Lights of evening find a voice
All ye men of tender heart
Forgive others, take your part
Praise the Father, praise the Son
Praise the Spirit, three in One (2x)

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
What ever my lot you have taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul

Though the devil will ruin, though trials may come
Let this blessed assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And He shed His own blood for my soul

It is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul

It is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight
And the clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul

It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

Yes, peace like a river, Lord. Really, all around me is difficult. If you were to count it all out on a table, the stakes are such that I should be a basket case by now:

My mom's chest pains and heart disease and slide toward heaven
My aunt's death
Cousin's 23 year marriage ending when she gets aunt's inheritance settled
Cousin hooked on Speed and tearing aunt's house apart
Bruce's melanoma and seeing that whole family go through so much
The drama between two people that I got caught in the middle of last week
Friend's child custody battle - those poor kids
Finding out these long-time friends are on the verge of divorce
Lorraine's fall, broken hip, hospital stay
A friend's heartbreaking news on Thursday
The drama about whether I should come to the conference or not. Oh brother!

BUT it is well with my soul! I am in such a supportive environment with praycry (thanks ladies! You have no idea how much you bless me everyday by your love for the Lord and for others), friends, church (HUGE - I have never had church leadership be supportive, ever! Such rocks, absolute rocks of mature, godly people, blessings to Claudia, Vicki, Kim, Nancy, Rick, Steve, Jerome, Big Carol - they are supportive just because of their stability as human beings. So sad that I have never known that before in my life!), Ginny and Lorraine, Debbie, Patty, on-line friends), Kim I. is also a HUGE rock of prayer support for me too.

Also, the thing with Bruce has caused me to see your power, drawn me closer in relationship with a plethora of people, including Bruce and Mary Beth! (Reconnecting after many years of just running in different circles and having different ministries. Old friends draw together in crisis). I have had sweet loving talks with my brother over mom's care, huge blessings all the way around in all of the sorrow, really.

Above all, YOU Lord are my ROCK. I am so glad that you have put me so FOCUSED in your Word and prayer. Everything seems so very applicable that I am studying with Bird's Eye View/Quiet Times/Romans study/Peacemaker Sunday School) and praying with Nancy and Kim and Kim I! It is so amazing how You fit all my life together. So OBVIOUS that we made such a good choice this last year.

So, peace. That is what I feel.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Wellness Check

For me, I need balance, and it is time to get it

Well-Watered Soul - time for Bible reading and prayer. Want to FINISH Romans 3:21-31 (I kept getting interrupted yesterday). Tomorrow, I would like to have a day of prayer or at least a half day. So much to process.

Well-Educated Mind - Read book club selection or Sherlock Holmes

Well-Nourished Heart - I think I will call my mom and see how she is doing. I don't know how much longer she will be on this earth. Pray for L - she is so hurting.

Wellness in Strength - Went to Group Power and Elliptical. I need two hours tomorrow of cardio, but I have a free day. Maybe a run or hike with George.

A Clean Date

I know this may be hard to believe, but I do not have one bit of chicken scratch on this date in my calendar. I am free as a bird. So, I wrote FREE. I had George take the car to work (He was going to walk because his bike is on the fritz, but it is pouring down rain, for crying out loud!) so that I am not even tempted to go out, and so that I can say no to anyone that asks me to go out. :) I am looking forward to a day to decompress after a very high-powered week living my girlfriend Mary Beth's life, having six children, racing from appointment to appointment, and dealing with one of her friends who is difficult. In addition, I lived my life of homeschool mom, fitness buff, small group and Bible study leader, counselor to friends.

I am dizzy from living two lives, but I am so happy and fulfilled too. I know that there are some deep waters ahead for those around me that I love so passionately, but I also know that there is a very deep God, whom I love even more passionately, and He will carry me one step at a time.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Calling Me to Walk On Water

Literally, got a major bombshell dropped on me today. I am called to walk with some people through some very difficult days, and this isn't even Bruce and Mary Beth.

So, if you read this, please pray for me. This is huge, but the events of the last week have shown His infinite power to do the impossible.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Breathe

Yes, I have a breathe. Taking care of two families is quite a chore. Going from two to six kids is alot!

Also breathing and happy that I was able to get over a little "bump" with a situation. It was awkward, but I feel like I handled it well. :) YEAH GOD.

He led me to peace through prayer and this passage that I memorized almost thirty years ago:

Psalm 31: 19 - end
How great is Your goodness,
Which You have stored up for those who fear You,
Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You,
Before the sons of men!
You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man;
You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues.
Blessed be the LORD,
For He has made marvelous His lovingkindness to me in a besieged city.
As for me, I said in my alarm,
"I am cut off from before Your eyes";
Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications
When I cried to You.
O love the LORD, all you His godly ones!
The LORD preserves the faithful
And fully recompenses the proud doer.
Be strong and let your heart take courage,
All you who hope in the LORD.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Grateful - A freewrite

I am sitting here in my happy spot. George has gone to take the kids to church and then on to go to do the shopping for the week.

Grateful - that George sees my need for a little quiet. He is a dear one.

I now have about 1 1/2 hours until I get ready for church that starts at 11:00 a.m.

Grateful - for some time to sit and reflect and journal (here) and pray

Sunday school will be our 9th lesson on Peacemaking for the excellent Ken Sande DVD series.

Grateful - that I go to a church that places a premium value on peacemaking by teaching its members how to make peace in a Godly way. This was one of our top ten things we were looking for in a church.

After that, I will have a long distance conversation with Katrina about "time."

Grateful - for wonderful online friends who love God!

I will also go and study the gospel of Mark with Norieh

Grateful -that God has heard my cries for this neighborhood and has brought Nourieh in my life to study Scripture.

Well, I am off to have a long prayer time before I "beautify" for church.

Grateful - for the gift of prayer and life in YOU Lord.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

On the Road Again


Jogging Up, originally uploaded by carolfoasia.

I just love this photo. I would have put it on my Project 365, but I also loved the picture of my dh and I too. I just thought this was symbolic of where I am right now. I am pressing forward.

I have written an allegory off and on for years in my journal much like Hinds Feet On High Places, but the girl is running forward listening to the "Great Coach" and following Him. I am climbing and reaching toward the goal.

I like this.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Life is Too Short to Be Scared

Just wanted to say that I am not scared. I appreciate your comments, and I know that He holds me in the palm of his hand, forever.

I am so convinced that I am in a very good partnership - team actually. There will be four of us who will be working together in seeing discipleship at our wonderful church. I have known one on the team for 28 years because I used to play basketball with her in college! (I was her back up. She went on to be an Olympic Gold Medalist). So, I know that I am in such a healthy environment. ALL the lies that were whispered to me are being washed away and replaced with three other very truthful and Godly women. So, I am grateful.

I am also realizing that life is short. The brevity of life is coming in full view as I see that our friend with melanoma has a very poor prognosis. Sending them to New York was a big stretching of our faith (The ringleaders of Lisa, Michelle, and I). After we got the go ahead at noon yesterday, Lisa said she wanted to back-peddle, and God said, "NO!" If any of us had back-peddled, we wouldn't have been able to see His glory manifested in providing miracle after miracle on this road to getting them to New York. We wouldn't have known the love of countless phone calls with DEAR people and the generosity of people giving from as far away as Pennsylvania and North Carolina. (You know who you are. :))We would have missed out on the joy of living by faith.

So, I say: (S)HE WHO HESITATES IS LOST

There is no room to be scared because life is too short. Embrace the moments. Don't shrink back.

This is what I am pondering this Friday.

Old Herbaceous

This was a sweet story about a gardener in England from the time he was a boy to an old man. It made me cry it was so short and sweet.  Here...