Category Archives: Gifts

NaNoWriMo – A Variegated Life

OK, I don’t want to admit my current word count toward 50,000 – a procrastinator’s embarrassment. I will say I wrote 6,900 reasonably clear words today, and plan to do almost as much tomorrow.

This is how it started when I didn’t know how to start, but did. Yes, this spelling is still there, because the paper effigy of my inner editor is literally locked in a pretend jail in the possession of the local NaNoWriMo group leader, and rough-draft rules supreme. Below is my inspirational image of Diane the writer – caffeinated, colorful, mighty and free (much less up-tight than the editor image!).

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A Variegated Life

It’s time to write a book. I have been pondering it all day. No sense of direction is my common position but isn’t going to be any more.

I’m thinking through all the images of things to describe my parents and movie images float through my mind. Like a woman’s or child’s fingers trailing across tall grass. Pans of mountains magesties. Clouds moving across the sun. All languid or majestic but peaceful images. Renderings like paintings of cultural ideas tht drive my thinking. So simple to ingest and regurgitate.

But I want more. A freeing and liberation of my sould through the words. Unleashing what a crappy word ffor what I am trying to say. No analogies. Opening a cage door. Jumping from a cliff. My life is ot a cliché. My mind and its workings are not a cliché! My parents lives are not a cliché.

They are 91 and 92, still living at home. Their love has endured and changed over more than six and a half decades. They are who they are now because of and in spite of each other. They hold hands and love, even as cell by cell they are losing each other. Mom looks at that reality…it is more evident to her, and she has more words that flow that direction… to explain what she feels. She feels much, and urgently. Passionate toward love and also flashes of anger, wounded easily, forgiving quickly. She wants peace. She wants harmony and family. She wants rest and simplicity. She says she is ready for the end of her days, but she fights on. She fights. Easily tired, but ready to enjoy the humor, card games, caresses, jelly making, dining out, funny costumes, discussions, beauty and experience that are the essence of her well lived life. Photographs that must be taken with film, and developed with double prints. Peace with loved ones, every single one, that is one of her many beautiful legacies.

I love her dearly. She raises my ire. I am so much like her, and refuse to be. And want to be.

Dad. He shares. When she divides leftovers or even first time fare between them…takes her portion and passes it to him, he takes half and passes it back. She tells him to take it all, but he never really hears her and defaults to his foundational core. He shares. Shares words, ideas, articles, food, experiences, affection, memories, life. Rich words spill from his mouth like coins from a slot machine. But with much greater regularity. It is amusing, because it is so Art. Even he laughs at times. One time many years ago he said to me that he can see a listener’s eyes glaze over, but just can’t stop himself! For those who can listen and take in so much slowly and deliberately spoken word, there is a wonderland. A wonderland of facts, abundance of experiences well remembered and well spoken, yearnings of his heart. Words the average person has never heard or imagined. A wonderland of insights into a complex and loving man, and the world he observes and embraces with eyes and arms open wide.

I introduce you to my parents, and my attempt at their love story.

Eight days to go…miles of words to go. Later!

Blessings,

Diane

September Gift of Words

 “It’s like that Truman sign. ‘The buck stops here.’ A hero is someone who makes sure that the evil stops with them.”  Jo, the main character of October Snow, a novel by Jenna Brooks.

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I’m not afraid anymore. I will be stronger, and I will protect myself and those I love with my own clenched fists. Keep watching. Pia – An Infinite Solitude

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Here’s what God wanted me to grasp within my spirit: “For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.-Ecclesiastes 5:20(ESV)

Something changed when I read this verse. God spoke to me about my future. I was to trust that it would be good, it would be prosperous. No longer did I worry about the future effects of the many ailments of my body; my heart was going to be occupied by joy. Joy? Yes… yes indeed. I could definitely do that. Will I face challenges? Yes. Will I have to shed a few tears now and then? Probably. But the sum total of my life was not going to be the management of pain; I am going to be pre-occupied by and engrossed in joy.

….Since I have let go of that worry, I have experienced such joy, peace, and a mission from God (pun intended. lol). When I made the decision to not let the management of pain dictate the direction of my life, the joy came flooding in; every crack and space of my heart.  The Great Plains Poet

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Theologian Frederick Buechner once told a graduating class:

“The voice we should listen to most, as we choose a vocation, is the voice that we might think we should listen to least, and that is the voice of our own gladness. What can we do that makes us the gladdest? What can we do that leaves us with the strongest sense of sailing true north? Is it making things with our hands out of wood or stone or paint or canvas?” Or is it making something we hope like truth out of words? Or is it making people laugh or weep in a way that cleanses their spirit? I believe that if it is a thing that makes us truly glad, then it is a good thing, and it is our thing, and it is the calling voice that we were made to answer with our lives.”

Can you trust what makes you “glad? Could that really be the voice of your “calling?”

“A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying Him…. The more a tree is like itself, the more it is like Him….” – Thomas Merton Morning Story and Dilbert

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Choose your battles carefully. Some battles really aren’t worth fighting. Ask yourself, “What am I fighting for?” If you discover that the battle has more to do with your ego than anything else, it may not be worth the fight. You may want to take the higher road. Kristin Barton Cuthriell’s The Snowball Effect 

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Psychological freedom, much like physical and political freedom, requires vigilance.

If you’re not militant about your well-being, this world will knock the wind out of your sails, flatten you on your back, and grind you beneath its feet.

Assertiveness is not the enemy of kindness; it’s the bodyguard of kindness. It’s there to protect what others choose to neglect.

If an abusive or manipulative energy pattern manifests in your life, do the most dignified, democratic, and diplomatic thing you can possibly do: ANNIHILATE IT!

You’re nobody’s clown. You’re nobody’s tool. You’re nobody’s slave. You’re nobody’s punching bag. You’re nobody’s emotional sponge.

Psychological vigilance isn’t about harming or killing people. It’s about getting rid of self-defeating patterns and self-negating perspectives.

It’s about telling the enemies of your inner peace and spiritual freedom that they’re messing with the wrong {insert your favorite expletive here}.

It’s about looking at the elements of oppression that seek to be a part of your life and firmly saying, “let me help you die!”   T.K. Coleman 

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Blessings, Diane

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“End the Silence…?”

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JUST – Is a Four-Letter-Word.

 

 

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Just do it. You just need to say no.

JUST. RARELY have I heard the word “just” used, in the form of advice, when it didn’t over-simplify and minimize a more complex issue.  Sometimes simplification is needed, BUT more often, when dealing with abuse, it is applying a band-aid to a severed limb.

 

This version of “just,” as defined by the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means “simply, only.” Abuse is not simple, and there is not only one solution or option to consider.

You just need to tell him to stop. Just let him cook his own dinner. Just leave it to God. You just need to pray. You just need to keep faith.  Just trust the Lord. Just wait. Just believe! JUST LEAVE…..You should JUST….. 

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See what I mean? On the surface, this APPEARS harmless, or maybe even helpful. 

But it’s not. Coming from someone without an individual’s experience or understanding, or who has not deeply attempted to understand,  it is simplistic and insulting. If a woman and children are in an abusive situation, this creates either further mental/emotional confusion. Worst case scenario, it can cloud the situation enough to place lives at risk. So, YOUR words cost you nothing to SAY; they could cost, OR ENCOURAGE AND STRENGTHEN, someone for the rest of a lifetime, and generations beyond. I am not being poetic here. One lifetime after another, one generation after another, the abuse and fear are perpetuated, OR TRANSFORMED into a BETTER view and life that will then be perpetuated. 

I catch myself half way through the word on occasion. Every time I do, I do a mental stop, and ask myself what I am minimizing or oversimplifying. It never fails to open up a wiser, more complete picture. And from that, an opportunity to listen and speak from greater discernment.  And even better, to know what I don’t know, and SAY NOTHING.

Which brings me back to one of my recurring themes. LISTEN!!

That urge, stronger in some of us than others, to be thinking of what we want to say next, or mentally solving the problem and wanting to verbally troubleshoot, NOW, must be set aside. We need to become calm, look at the abused woman talking to us, LISTEN to her with our entire awareness, hear what she says in words and beyond words – the core of what she is saying. She is dealing with a situation of colossal DISRESPECT to everything she is, in herself and as created by God. We must not disrespect her further by not listening, and JUST-ing. Instead, we can HONOR AND STRENGTHEN HER with one of the GREATEST FORMS OF RESPECT: LISTENING. Then, if she gives permission, and we truly have suggestions (not theoretical or theological) that MIGHT help, we can tell her politely without pushing or control.

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This is life-giving opportunity.

1) We want to fix it. It is uncomfortable, so we vomit out the solution that makes easiest sense and reinforces our philosophy of life, religion, or whatever. INSTEAD, BECOME CALM AND OPEN OUR MINDS TO LISTEN AND LEARN FIRST.

2) It requires little thought or effort. INSTEAD, THINK AND DEVELOP EMPATHY; LEARN MORE. LISTEN.

3) It sounds right. INSTEAD, CONSIDER HOW IT WOULD APPLY IN REAL LIFE. Test it. LISTEN.

4) It feels like we’re being effective, wise, supportive. INSTEAD, DON’T SETTLE FOR FEELING HELPFUL, LEARN HOW TO ACTUALLY BE HELPFUL. LISTEN. EDUCATE YOURSELF.

Our WANTING to help doesn’t mean we are ABLE to help – she needs options, not another person who (like her abuser) tells her what she JUST HAS to do.

There are other definitions and synonyms for the word “just” as well, again using the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary, that are much more useful ways to use the word:

  • having a basis in or conforming to fact or reason
  • agreeing with what is considered morally right or good
  • treating people in a way that is considered morally right
  • acting or being in conformity with what is morally upright or good

TreatYourChildWithRespect  - www.nathanielbranden.com www.lifejourneycoaching.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

JUST – can be a four letter word.

JUST – don’t use it that way any more.

INSTEAD – BE JUST.

 

Blessings!!

Diane

 

August Gift of Words

If one would realize that the world of God, His splendour and magnificence, are to be seen in the wise and the foolish, the good and the bad, then one would think tolerantly and reverently of all mankind, knowing that it represents the messenger, as the messenger represents God.  ….If the eyes and ears are open, the leaves of the trees become as pages of the Bible. If the heart is alive, the whole life becomes one single version of His sublime beauty, speaking to us at every moment.  Amras888

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Our fear of “what if “creates our prison, but our trust and faith in  Divine possibilities, is what will set us free. Window of Wisdom

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We think this world is “real” because we observe and interact with people and objects and ideas using our minds and our physical senses.  Certainly, the day-to-day stuff of life is plenty real.  But there is more.  Much more.  Connecting Dots…to God

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I WENT TO A BOOKSTORE AND ASKED THE SALESWOMAN, “WHERE’S THE SELF- HELP SECTION?” SHE SAID IF SHE TOLD ME, IT WOULD DEFEAT THE PURPOSE. Unknown

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All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost.  J.R.R Tolkien

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WHAT IF THERE WERE NO HYPOTHETICAL QUESTIONS? Unknown 

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To me sitting comfortably in Christ is more than the seating arrangements in our churches, light and heating; church is not just simply a physical building of bricks and mortar, it is to be “seated with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6)   whisperingleavesblog

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 Emotional discomfort, when accepted, rises, crests and falls in a series of waves. Each wave washes a part of us away and deposits treasures we never imagined. Out goes naivete, in comes wisdom; out goes anger, in comes discernment; out goes despair, in comes kindness. No one would call it easy, but the rhythm of emotional pain that we learn to tolerate is natural, constructive and expansive… The pain leaves you healthier than it found you.”  Martha Beck

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ONE NICE THING ABOUT EGOTISTS: THEY DON’T TALK ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE. Unknown

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Love everyone. Trust few. Paddle your own canoe.  Anonymous

Blessings.

Diane

 

A Crusty Old Cactus

Dust powdered my feet as I stood at the top of Piestewa Peak Summit Trail, overlooking the city. My eyes raced across the panoramic view, taking in the generalities, but missing the specifics. That was because my mind also raced across the panoramic view of my life, taking in the overview of successes and mistakes, joys and losses. I glanced to the side and all the scanning stopped, inward and outward.IMG_0859

I stood beside a 20 foot Saguaro cactus. It looked as though, over its lifetime, it had been so bumped, kicked, assaulted by human or nature, that it could hardly stand. Its base was shriveled and darkened, covered with scars. Farther up, less so.  Two thirds of the way up, it was green, robust, round, and thoroughly armored with the spines that are normal for the species. And at the top – a FLOWER! It was blooming!

This, I thought, is me! I liked the looks of that crusty old cactus!  And my life, however imperfect.

I am no longer a victim.  I NO LONGER FEEL LIKE A VICTIM!

I’m breathing, sleeping, jumping off cliffs, taking one day at a time, and laying my heart wide open before God.

After being frozen for months, for years, I am profoundly, utterly grateful for a number of things:

A friend who talks with me about God, Christ and faith without judging me, and without control or arrogance. A number of bloggers who very, very quietly, in words of peace, encourage me to faith like theirs…no hype, no insistence on words or doctrine, maybe no doctrine at all….more like a whispered, “this is what freedom smells like…follow the scent, breathe deeper, and also live in the One Who gives us breath.” The clamor and control of abuse has left me deaf to louder voices.

A way of seeing God and Christ that is gradually melting my sad heart and moving me forward to a place some rest and some faith. Progress.

Your prayers.

Friends I have lost touch with many moves (and moons) ago, but who have had a sweet effect on my life by their sincerity and support, and by the example of how they live their lives.  They are the Christians I went on walks with, shared kids with, shared my heart with – and who responded by being steady, sincerely loving God, knowing me very well and still loving me, seeing and hearing the parts of my situation I shared with them, admitting it wasn’t OK…and leaving it there…as displayed confidence that I would make the best choices possible. Hello, Cathy T.!  Michelle J., Rosa P., Terri H. and Karen J.? I love you, and I will be getting back in touch to tell you so!

Medical intervention for perhaps bipolar issues (perhaps not) – that has turned the volume in my mind and heart down from rock concert screams to loud conversation. Medical intervention for adrenal depletion and nutritional deficits. Therapy.

Love. Beauty. Peaceful moments. Generous thoughts and words.

Those beautiful, beautiful people in my family who love, trust, communicate, accept each other (and me!). Safety from those who don’t. And a husband who is a diamond in a world made of stones.

Hugs, kisses, touch, laughter, funny faces, odd habits, mispronounced words, photographs.

If this is manic, bring it on! If this is faith, more and deeper! If this is normal….sigh… it’s about time.  The problems are not all solved, the wounds are not all healed, the questions are not all answered. But life is looking better the longer I grow.  Maybe I am looking better the longer I grow!

Like a crusty old cactus.

Flowers

Blessings to you,

Diane

Liebster Award

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I learned a new word: chuffed. From Hope Blooms in Darkness, who nominated me for The Liebster Award.

What is the Liebster Award?

“The Liebster Blog Award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The Meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.”

The author of Hope Blooms in Darkness is a young woman of faith who has dealt with much of the “darkness” and speaks reality and hope, which flows freely through her words. She’s fun. And serious. And wise. And she uses cool words I haven’t heard before (could it be that she is 23 and I am 56?).. “Hope,” thank you for the nomination! I’m blessed to be included as a blog that you value! Big time! Blessed again to have the honor of getting to know a you a little better through this award, and also those who are willing to answer the questions posed. And yet again, to pass on encouraging or challenging blogs so others might find some of the encouragement and challenge I have found there.  I love the positive creativity of blogging and reading blogs – I’m learning so much, and so encouraged by “meeting” people I would never have the joy of knowing otherwise.

This seems like a gentle and fun way to get started writing again after integrating/coping so hard for a time that I have had nothing to say.

 So, I choose to follow some rules governing this blog award.  I know a couple of you don’t do awards in general, but I would still like to direct others to your blog as very worth reading, so I listed  you anyway.  And I still hope you will answer the questions to “award” me with the joy of knowing you better!

Here are the rules:

First,  accept the award, post the picture of the Liebster Award on the top of post, say who nominated you for the award and list their blog site.

Rule number 1 is to list 11 random facts about me.

Rule number 2 is to nominate 11 other bloggers for the Liebster Award and list their blogsites.

Rule number 3 is to notify the bloggers of their award.

Rule number 4 is to ask the award winners 11 questions to answer when they accept their Liebster Award.

Rule number 5 is to answer the questions left for me by the blogger.

RULE #1: ELEVEN FACTS ABOUT ME

1. I have lived in 8 states (U.S.) and 15 cities/towns.

2. I love fabric/thread art – and made/make portrait quilts.

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3. I love the smell of pine trees (as you can see, I do SMELL pine trees – Ponderosa Pines smell like butterscotch!).

4. I once scouted forest fires with my dad in a small plane over Wyoming.

5. Have ALWAYS wanted clear connection to God.

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Hey, God…can I hear you now???

6. I need silence and time alone to be calm and content.

7. “Primary Sludge Analyst” at the Las Vegas waste water treatment facility is only one of my unusual un-glamorous employment gigs. My current, and most un-glamorous of all, is un-employed.

8. I once considered moving to Silverton, CO, to be a miner. After I realized I didn’t want to be a neurosurgeon or interior designer.

9. My daughters used to con me into reading Reader’s Digest humor at bedtime, because we would have laugh attacks and I would let them stay up too late.

10. I gave my daughters sky diving/hot air balloon tickets for their college graduations (up, up, and away….). FYI – they chose the skydiving. Insane mom? Maybe, but they loved it!

11. Learned to cross-country ski when I was 8 months pregnant.

RULE #2: Blogs I’m nominating…. (eleven among many wonderful blogs I follow!) I’m not sure of follower numbers, but….oh well. They’re just darn good blogs!

http://inspired2ignite.com/

http://hardwiredtochrist.wordpress.com/

http://toughmindedoptimism.wordpress.com/

http://awindowofwisdom.wordpress.com/

http://unshakablehope.wordpress.com/

http://connectingdotstogod.com/

http://thesnowballeffect.com/

http://85degrees.wordpress.com/

http://amras888.wordpress.com/

http://talithakumblog.wordpress.com/

http://lorilara.com/

RULE #5: Here are my answers to the questions set for me….

1. What is the most memorable event in your life?

Can’t narrow it down to one. Snuggling my daughters rates up there. Have you ever noticed that sweet spot behind a baby’s ear is so soft you can’t even feel it with your fingertip (or your nose)?

2. Why did you join WordPress?

Heard it was a good way to promote a book. Started blogging without really knowing what blogging is, nervous about not knowing “blogging etiquette” and running spell/grammar check 10 times before posting.  What I FOUND are some of the wisest, kindest, most articulate people I have ever known. Like opening a window on a spring day. And I’m finding that blogging is more interesting than writing a book. Hmmm. Better work on that!

3.   What is your main Goal in Life?

To find my main Goal in Life.

4.   Where would you want to travel the most in the world and why?

Anywhere pretty and new with good people I know/love. For the joy of it, and to meet good people I don’t know/love (yet).

5.    What is one of the worst experiences you’ve ever undergone and how did you learn from it?

Having loved, been married to, and divorced, a very intelligent, manipulative, messed up, abusive “Christian” man as a legalistically trained Christian wife who in fear claimed no retirement, so restarted and re-educated to make up lost $$ but instead encountered workplace abuse, repeatedly, home-front lack of influence, and a feeling of helplessness and isolation from God. One long event. Learning still in progress.

6. If you had 3 wishes that you could get answered instantly what would you wish for and why?

For everyone to be at peace with God (not confused, not dogma, theory, scripture, speculation – REAL, REST, SECURITY, TRUTH).

For all people to have the ability to distinguish truth from lie.

A deep abiding sense of belonging, wherever I am.

Why? Because it would make life and earth so much nicer, brighter, happier.

7.    Do you believe in God?

YES.

8.    What leisure do you enjoy most?

Anything in a comfortable, scenic, natural, setting.

9.    If you could teach me one life lesson, what would it be?

Be wary of those who tell you it is selfish to take care of yourself, guard your heart, or pursue your priorities. Then do those things with kindness, honesty, and determination.

10.  Name one thing you do every day that without it your day would feel incomplete.

Think of those I love.

11.   What one thing you would change about/in the world if you had the power to do it.

Infuse all people with wisdom and respect (is that 2 things?) – within, without, between, among, around.

RULE #4: I tried to come up with creative new questions, but the ones I just answered are good.  I would love for all my readers also to answer whatever questions you wish (comments or your blogs) .  I would love to get to know you better.

Blessings!!

Diane

March Gift of Words

Those who follow Christ live in the tension between faith in the One who has conquered sin and the undeniable fact of evil’s presence in and around us. We live with confidence and confusion, faith and doubt, clarity and questions, spiritual power and human weakness.  It is a time for faith. Connecting Dots…to God

“Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”  Rainer Maria Rilk who lived from 1875 to 1926

 The inexplicable is inevitable, and the willingness to endure enigmas is a necessary condition for sanity.  T.K. Coleman – Tough Minded Optimism 

Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.  – Winston Churchill  

We Don’t Mean to Hurt Your Feelings.  We Just Can’t Stand You Sometimes. … It’s Not You.  It’s Us.  Space2Live 

 But I would be unlikely to bet against anyone once their actions, words, vision, heart, and spirit became aligned no matter how many prior failures they experienced.   Russ Towne – A Grateful Man

I have one piece of advice for anyone who’s seeking healing from depression, addiction, or PTSD: Before you read a book, surf the web, or see your counselor, commit everything to God. Let him be in charge of the timing of your discoveries. He has a plan, and it is good. Devout yourself to the process completely, and don’t ever give up. You are worth every dollar you spend in therapy, every tear you cry, and every moment you choose to take to care of yourself instead of cleaning the house. This pain will end. There’s an incredible life ahead of you. Grab it!  Lori Lara 

We must consciously choose what we watch for entertainment because it will shift our energy field, and cause irritation to arise unjustly. When we fill our minds with laughter, love, and peace, our mind is aligned with our heart, and negativity feels out of place.  Window of Wisdom 

Lord, help me to be a better husband, a better father…  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for… Eph 5:25 Walter Bright 

I want to be someone who truly ‘lives’ the season I’m in – who knows how to relax into it and let it be. I very much believe we must live intentionally, with strategy and purpose for the sake of keeping our lives healthy. But there is such peace to be had in accepting the season we’re in – in embracing its specific challenges. And for letting ‘good enough’ be good enough. Rather than fearing uncertainty, we are wise to welcome it. Rather than battling doubts, we are sensible if we rest with them.  Ali – It’s a God thing

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