Hope

Once you choose hope, anything is possible. Learn from yesterday. Live for today. Hope for tomorrow.

–Author Unknown

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To Smack or Not to Smack?

This article was online in one of our state's regional newspapers. I was quite shocked to read these opinions in print as it seems like the rising feeling of the day is that smacking should be outlawed. God forbid that should ever happen…I can only imagine the results…but I can see it looming in the future. I found it very refreshing to read that some common sense still exists on the streets and in ongoing studies. Personally, I think spanking is Biblical–it's there in black & white to speak for itself–though I obviously don't condone child abuse at any level!!! 

2009 Recap

I've never done this before but, having seen it going around the blogosphere, I thought it sounded interesting. You take the first sentence of the first post of each month throughout the year. I think you're supposed to do it on New Year's Eve or something but I didn't hear about it till afterwards as I didn't have internet over New Year's. Plus, this is primarily for my own interest's sake. 🙂

January: 2009

A new year, a clean slate…sounds good to me. (It was a big deal to me stepping into a new year that didn't, and wouldn't, have any of Steve in it.)

February: Remembering…

It's my birthday today. (So I used it as a time to remember my last birthday with Steve.)

March: A Big Sluggish

January was hell so, in comparison, I went through February on a high. (A summary of where I was at last March.)

April: A Different Sunday

All week, I've been meaning to blog. (Because I had good progress to report!)

May: A House Is Not A Home Without…

A home is not a home without…books!!! (Those shelves are now full, btw, and I have piles of books sitting on my bedroom floor…lol)

June: Why I Keep Blogging Publicly

When we began to honestly share our own journey with others, we discovered the whole world is desperate for somebody to say, "My life is a mess, and I'm trying to survive too! I'm struggling. (The beginning of a quote that summarised for me why I keep blogging publicly.)

July: Still Away & Other Thoughts

I don't have my computer back yet but I do have a bit of access to one. (Really doesn't summarise the post at all! lol The remainder is a continuation of why I blog publicly and some possible new direction for my blog.

August: Widow Thoughts: Friendships

One of the hardest things I've had to deal with this year is coming to terms with the loss of friendships. (That's pretty self-explanatory…and the first of my "Widow Thoughts" posts.)

September: Me & My Blog

My blog might start looking a little different in content in the coming months. (I returned temporarily to journalling and focussed reading…which I am about to do again.)

October: Life Where You Least Expect It

I've just started reading "Tracks of a Fellow Struggler" by John R Claypool, a book I have seen frequently quoted in many of the books I've read over the last 18 months. (And the sharing of a great quote from a great little book!)

November: Not Tooooo Exciting

Many of you keep up w
ith me on Facebook and have a bit of an idea what I've been up to which is a good thing as I'm obviously not finding too much motivation to blog
! (A summary of my first few weeks in America.)

December: Limited Vision

Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering. (The start of a quote by Elisabeth Elliot and how it impacted me.)

Limited Vision

Our vision is so limited we can hardly imagine a love that does not show itself in protection from suffering. The love of God did not protect His own Son. He will not necessarily protect us–not from anything it takes to make us like His Son. A lot of hammering and chiseling and purifying by fire will have to go into the process. –Elisabeth Elliot

I have had a lot of conversations on this topic and a lot of my fear stems from the fact that I know those bolded words are very true. Perfect behaviour is no guarantee of safety or blessing. Previous trials and heartache are no safeguard against additional pain and suffering. Tragedy often strikes more than once.

I also struggle with the fact that love, to me, would see people put through a whole lot less hurt than I see God putting His children through. I feel like I'm ready to call "Enough is enough!" (for people I don't even know) far earlier than God seems compelled to.

This quote–written by a woman who certainly has the right to speak on the matter–spoke to all of those areas as well as tying in with some other areas of positive belief that I hold and a study I've been doing with my pastor's wife. It doesn't instantly solve my problem but it speaks on a major issue with a clarity and brevity that I haven't seen.

Strangely enough, it almost holds a glimmer of hope. Could it be as 'simple' as asking for a vision not limited by our own imaginings? Of course, the process of willingness needed to do that is anything but simple…

Life Where You Least Expect It

I've just started reading "Tracks of a Fellow Struggler" by John R Claypool, a book I have seen frequently quoted in many of the books I've read over the last 18 months. It's taken me quite a while to get hold of it but it is already proving worth the read.

A few days ago, I stumbled across a comment on another blog that referenced me. Essentially, the person (who doesn't know me at all) was saying that I could do with being helped by this other widow (whose life is entirely different from mine on all counts, other than the basic loss of a husband). I have to keep reminding myself that I don't know her and she doesn't know me. She is extremely unqualified to give an accurate opinion on my life and there is a lot I could say to her that would prove how ignorant she actually is about the topic. However, if I've begun learning one thing over the last 18 months, it's that I don't need (nor should I seek) everybody's approval and I am practising learning how to LIVE that and not just know it in my head…way, Way, WAY easier said than done. 😛

So in a renewed battle against negative voices, I was encouraged by the following story:

I was deeply moved this week by an observation of Dr George Buttrick''s concerning the Dead Sea in Palestine. Again and again as a sermon illustration I have heard the Dead Sea compared unfavorably with the Sea of Galilee, which is fresh and sparkling and full of fish, while the Dead Sea is salty and no fish can live in it. The usual point is that the Jordan River flows through the Sea of Galilee, but only flows into the Dead Sea because there is no outlet. Dr Buttrick concedes the truth of this point about life through giving but then goes on to identify another truth of which I had never thought. He claims the Dead Sea does have an outlet–the upward one, toward the sky. Across the centuries, as it has surrendered itself to the sun, a residue of potash has built up and remains along its shores. Potash is a different form of life than the water in which fish can live, and is a main ingredient of fertilizer. Engineers have estimated that if the potash around the Dead Sea could be mined and distributed, there would be enough to fertilize the whole surface of the earth for at least five years. The point is, life never comes to a complete dead end. When no outlet is open except surrender to the sky in helplessness, even this response is not without its positive residue, for out of it can come the miracle of new life.

God Is God–and I Often Don’t Like It

I've wanted to read the book "Let's Roll" by Lisa Beamer for quite a few years now and a friend just lent it to me the other week. There was quite a lot in it for me to ponder. This is the section that struck me the hardest…

I had always struggled with the "why" questions in regard to Dad's death. Eventually such questions led me down the road of "It's not fair!" and became a swirling cauldron of anger, bitterness, and resentment deep inside me. I recognized the ugliness of those emotions and didn't want them in my life, but I didn't know what to do about it.

One day I was talking with Dennis Massaro, the director of Wheaton's Office of Christian Outreach, the organization that had arranged our summer mission trip to Indonesia. Somehow the subject turned to the upcoming trial, and I felt the cauldron seething within me. I dumped the whole mess on Dennis, who listened patiently without a word of condemnation.

When I was finally out of words, Dennis calmly said, "You know, Lisa, God knew the hospital they took your dad to wasn't going to have the right equipment to perform that surgery."

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Messy Life–Updated

VERY much liking this quote taken from this book

Life isn't like a book.
It isn't logical or sensible or orderly.
Life is a mess most of the time.
And theology must be lived
in the midst of that mess.

–Charles Colson

…and this one (from the same book):

When suffering shatters the carefully kept vase that is our lives, God stoops to pick up the pieces. But he doesn't put them back together as a restoration project patterned after our former selves. Instead, he sifts through the rubble and selects some of the shards as raw material for another project–a mosaic that tells the story of redemption. –Ken Gire