Thursday, September 20, 2012

Laissez-le Se Coucher

The french have a saying, Laissez-le se coucher, which simply means, Let it lie.  When I think of that simple term it makes my heart swell with peace.  I think how beautiful it is when one can adopt this saying into their lives and truly abide by it.  I like the way it rolls off the tongue, I like how it makes me feel like I have an edge on understanding. Heck, I just like the way it makes me feel when I can tell others of such a term.  Maybe it makes me feel smart, perhaps it makes me feel in control, and there is also (I hate to admit it) the possibility that it makes me feel better than you because I appear to have grasped this term and am trying to live by it.  Whatever it may be, I love the phrase Laissez-le se coucher.

I haven't blogged in a while.  Life has been busy and full of so many changes, but while out doing my final mowing of the season, riding around on my mower, this phrase kept coming into my mind, over and over and over again.  I suppose mowing time is my best time for contemplating what to blog about and now that fall and winter are approaching I will have to find other activities to spark my thoughts.

But let's get back to Laissez-le se coucher.  When you think about it, this phrase has power in it. To let it lie, I mean really? Don't we wish we could all actually do that?  When someone hurts us and we want revenge do we seek that revenge or do we Laissez-le se coucher?  What about when we break away from someone, do we secretly seek after them, pine away wishing they would give us attention, or do we Laissez-le se coucher?  What about something someone did to us that we thought was wrong, or words spoken to us that cut us to the core.  Do we carry those scars or do we Laissez-le se coucher?

From a personal standpoint, I am the one who carries the hurt, seeks the attention, holds the regret.  Who I really want to be is the girl who can smile and simply say, Laissez-le se coucher.  Oh, I have adopted this thought on a few issues that come up in my life, but as an overall attitude, well ~ I have a looong way to go.

I was raised in a family where you never let go of anything, well - anything that was bad or hurtful, anything that made you feel wronged or taken advantage of.  My father can tell you every bad thing that ever happened in his life.  He remembers the exact dates, the weather conditions, sometimes I think he recalls what he was wearing.  What this has done in his life is nurture a lifetime of anger, bitterness and disappointment.  He doesn't seem to recall the joys along the way, only the negative things that were hurled at him.   I am reminded of the proverb, For by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. Proverbs 2:19b

I have one sibling that seems to adopt this nature as well.  Ok, I admit it - when I was young I was a rotten kid.  I tortured my siblings and often got them in trouble.  No blood was shed and no one suffered loss of limb or life, but to this day, anytime there is something that sets them off, memory is brought up of something I did when I was 5 and the entire mood is ruined.  Many a fun occasion that could have been a memorable sibling moment has been ruined because they hold on to a negative memory.  I have witnessed dozens of times as a grudge replaces joy.

What this has done to affect me is that I choose not to be around my family. I stay away, visits are short, I find myself making excuses not to be available when I am around them.  It's rather sad actually, but nurturing resentments makes time spent together rather uneasy and less than desirable.

Over the years I have found myself bringing these same attitudes to the forefront of my life.  I find something that happened (eons ago) driving me crazy.  I bring it up, I dwell on it and I feel as though I need to make my point about how it is wrong.  What benefit do I get from that? I usually find that the disharmony, much like adding too much water to a pot of coffee, not only brews quickly but spills over and stains everything around it (trouble I've had with my own coffee pot a few times). Trust me, the mess it creates is usually far worse than the problem was in the beginning.  Damn, if only I could learn to laissez-le se coucher.

Can you imagine what the world we live in could be like if we all learned to laissez-le se coucher.  There would be no more stalking, hate crimes, violent acts against those who anger us.  Trust could be rebuilt in broken lives, families would live happily together, guns would not be toted off to schools and the need to lie would drop drastically. This wouldn't be the cure for all of these things, but it would be a start. If we could lay down the things that we hold onto that torture our souls, we could rebuild our lives. We could forgive and move forward rather than being stuck in a rut of self pity, denial and anger. We seem to be unable to laissez-le se coucher because we feel we have to right the wrongs in our lives, and we have to do it now (or over the next 20 years).  Whatever the case may be, we feel we have to hold on to the hurt. We just can't seem to let things lie.....

I am sure all of us could live happier lives if we could grasp laissez-le se coucher.  As a christian I was reminded of this very important lesson just yesterday.  I believe laissez-le se coucher and forgiveness go hand in hand.  In his book, Grace for the Moment, christian author Max Lucado writes about the importance of letting things go and turning them over to God, and the importance of forgiveness.  He writes," Revenge is irreverent, to forgive someone is to display reverence.  Forgiveness is not saying that the person who hurt you is right.  Forgiveness is stating that God is faithful and He will do what is right." He then reminded us of the verse, Wait for the Lord, He will make things right. Proverbs 20:22

When it comes to dealing with hurt and resentment and lack of interest others may show in you,  I not only need to focus on laissez-le se coucher, but on truly letting go and forgiving those who hurt me.  It also means I need to turn my woes over to my God, my father, and allow Him to right the wrongs.  I know He loves me and does these things for me.  He wants His children happy and He wants to see us live a full, joy-filled life. What an awesome God He is!!

I may not be who I need to be yet. Yeah - things still bug me and get under my skin, I hold onto things way past their expiration date, and I may not be anywhere near where I am intended to be, but for now I am choosing to focus on laissez-le se coucher and forgiveness.  The most beautiful part of all of this is that I don't have to do it alone.  I know that I will be able to conquer these things when I laissez-le se coucher ~ at the feet of Jesus!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Waves of Life

Have you ever experienced playing in the ocean?  The sun is shining brightly, the smell of salt in the air.  The sand is smooth against the skin and the water - oh, the crystal clear blue water just begging you to enter and feel the coolness of it's touch. You run to the waters edge sticking in one toe at a time until you have decided it is comfortable enough to enter in up to your knees.  Within minutes you are up to your waist, your chest, your neck.  Soon, you are floating, laughing, bobbing freely a top the waves that lift you effortlessly up and down, up and down. For a moment you close your eyes, free floating, when all of a sudden it happens.  Out of no where comes a larger wave, one you were not expecting, and BAM! Not only does it toss you up into the air, but it's invisible magic wave fingers seems to grab hold of you and slam you down into the sand below.  Suddenly, that warm, smooth, wonderful sand becomes like unkept pavement on a busy city street.  For a moment you are lost, wondering what in the hell just happened? You panic, the safety and joy you felt earlier is gone and you start to fill with fear.

Your mind has shifted from, 'Ahh, the sun is warm on my face, the water is cool on my back,' to 'Where is the shore? Am I going to drown? Is that blood? Blood in the water from my knee being slammed into that rock I didn't feel 30 seconds earlier? OMG, is there a shark nearby, smelling the blood?' You begin asking yourself, "Why did I come to the ocean? I hate water, I don't know how to swim...if I get out of here alive, I will never swim in the ocean again!" (OK, maybe none of you have actually had this scenario, but I least a dozen times, maybe more ~ and just once, I actually thought there WAS a shark!) And somewhere in the mucky waters I do what I do best, I pray! God SAVE me!

Eventually you get turned right side up, your eyes quit stinging, the water slowly drains from your ears, you look around, and the shoreline is in front of you, closer than it was before this ordeal began.  The wave has actually driven you closer to the shore rather than pulling you further out, away from safety.  You see your family laying on the beach smiling at you (or wildly laughing) because you just acted like you were drowning in 3 feet of water.  You make your way to the beach chair and begin to look at your casualties. Yes, there is a cut - maybe 2 drops of blood (water always magnifies), and you think about how scared you were but realize that suddenly you are back on solid ground and the things you hold most dear in life are there beside you (still laughing I might add) but they are there. 

This is where I am in life right now. Here, at the later stage of life (especially for my husband), we are feeling like we have been hit by the tidal wave of life. Yesterday was one of those days where we were neither sinking or floating a top the crest of the wave, we were just kind of bobbing in the waters.  When out of the blue we got a phone call telling us that after 26 years of faithful service to the little hospital my husband works at, he was completely released of his job, he and his entire department. They decided to go in a different direction and not take him back as part of a department he founded.  Within seconds I felt like I was being pounded into the rocky sand, head held under water, not sure if I would take a breath of clean fresh air ever again.

I knew I wasn't bleeding, but trust me, the waters around me are teaming with sharks! When I felt like I had finally resurfaced and could breath again, we began to do what we do best...pray. It's a vital part of our life. We know God is with us in ALL we do, and although this felt as uncomfortable as it did, we knew and continue to know that He will be with us until the very end. I think back on the past 26 years and all that we have been through.  We have never been spared our share of suffering. We have gone through the death of a child, Jim's 12 yr old son, Jed. We have seen our son Dalton diagnosed and then healed of cancer. We have lost a restaurant to very unscrupulous people and paid back a debt they ran up under our name. We have just gone through Jim's cancer but have seen him have FULL recovery.  

In each of these events I have noticed a pattern. God got us through each and every event. He is a good God, He doesn't bring us half way and bail out on us, He see's us through to the end of each new trial and tidal wave.  He really does run the race with us, and HE ALWAYS finishes the race. 

This morning while reading my bible and doing my morning prayers I was talking with God in my usual way. I was telling Him that I felt really dejected for what transpired last night. He had given me such peace, only 2 weeks earlier. I told Him that although I love Him with all my heart I was beginning to think that this closeness I claim to have with Him must somehow be fabricated in my mind, maybe it's not His small still voice that prompts me - but rather my own. In that moment I picked up my book, Grace (the one I always feels He gives me a date to read), and that small voice said, "Turn to July 8th." 
As usual, I did what I was prompted to do.  The reading was about Paul and the title reads, He Kept the Faith. The verse was: Continue to have faith and do what you know is right.  Some people have rejected this, and their faith has been shipwrecked. 1 Timothy 1:19

Last night I was sending a message to a faithful friend who has proven to be an incredible prayer warrior. I told her that I didn't want to lose my faith and jump ship. Reading these words this morning, once again, tears began welling up in my eyes, slightly stinging like the salty ocean waters. I know that without a shadow of a doubt my God hears me...He knows my heart, hears my prayers, loves me and will see me through. The waves are strong right now, but I know Jesus can calm any storm in my life. I have handed Him the reigns and I know we will make it safely to the shore. 

In today's reading, these verses were in what I read. And again I say, "God is just way cool!"

In You O Lord, I have taken refuge, let me never be ashamed; in Your righteousness deliver me.  Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly; be to me a rock of strength, a stronghold and save me. Psalm 31:1-2

I am the Lord who holds your right hand, and I tell you, "Don't be afraid, I will help you." 
 Isaiah 41:13

Do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today....The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still.  Exodus 14: 13-14

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

We're off to the Renaissance Faire......

In a few short days I will be living out my childhood fantasy....I will be with the people I love the most, dressing the way I love the most, eating at a restaurant I love the most, in a place I love (almost the most)...I will wear my hair the way I love the most, talk the way I love the most, and spend 3 wonderful days getting the most out of every moment, for I will be at ~ The Renaissance Faire.

It's hard to explain my absolute love for the Ren Faire.  It's an event my family has attended regularly for four years now (I have only been to 3 of the 4 visits), but each visit gives me such joy I can't even describe it.

Perhaps it's the idea of living in a fantasy land that I find so attractive.  I always believed I was born at the wrong time in history.  There is something about medieval times that just stir my soul.  I'm not sure if I would have lived my life as a princess, a wench, or a common peasant, but there is a bit of intrigue and romance in each of those options.

Perhaps it's the fact I can speak in my unusually good cockney accent when I am at the Ren Faire.  When you speak in different accents no one looks at you like you are mad.  If they stare - it's perfectly polite to flip your skirt, look them straight in the eye and shout, "What's wrong wit yewww? Are yew perrrfectly maaad? Now piss off, and be getin' out a me way." Ah yes...I do luv to tok in me accent. 

Perhaps it's the fact that I wear 3 skirts.  I have never been much of a girly girl, but the Ren Faire affords me the opportunity to not only don 3 skirts, but a corset as well. It's the only time I actually feel good about my hips being a little wider than I would like.  When you walk, the skirts move and float in the breeze, it's not unusual to find myself stopping at any given moment and twirling freely in the open aire grounds, just because my skirts fly like nothing I have even known.  This happens to also be the one time I actually understand a whirling dervish, it just feels so free and happy!

Perhaps it's eating smoked turkey drumsticks as we walk through the town, or being able to walk up to a wench and order an ice cold beer.  On rare occasions we find someone selling mead and my son fills his mead horn and carries it around his neck.  Perhaps it's the fact I can whip out my long Gandolf pipe I bought from Tabac Man in Prague, and smoke a nice aromatic tobacco - an NO one stares.

Perhaps it's the fresh flower crown I have made every year to match my outfit, complete with long yards of ribbons flowing down my back.  Or perhaps it's the pretzel guy or the pickle seller, both yelling obnoxious phrases to get you to stop and buy their wares.  Perhaps it's the man from Thailand we stop and see every year who keeps inviting us to come stay at grandma's house located in the farmland around Phuket.  Perhaps it's the jousting and valiant knights.

Perhaps it's the tents of women who have pillows stacked with patrons laying across them getting intricate henna tattoos, or the puppet master who sells the animatronic dragons that sit perched on your shoulder waiting your commands. Maybe it's the elephants or the camels? The German Comedians or the magicians?  Perhaps it's the fauns or the dragons or the centaurs who walk through the crowds, stopping to stare at you as though you are the oddity.  Perhaps it's the fairies, the kings, the queens, or the princesses who walk through the crowds, although they look like they are gliding and floating on air.

What ever it is, the Ren Faire fills me with such delight and satisfaction that I just can't seem to convey the hold that it has on me. This year, not only are our boys going back with us, but several college friends are coming along.  They will go their own way, do their own thing, make their own memories.  Perhaps when I see them, (when they come asking for more money), I shall look at them and say, "Get out of me way, and piss off you little beggar." After all, it's acceptable there!

The Ren Faire we attend is in the small town of Larkspur, Colorado.  It's 60+ acres which consists of more than a hundred buildings all built to resemble a medieval village. It's nestled in the meadow and tucked away in the ponderosa pines, it couldn't be more magical. I know that no matter the weather, the conditions, the people, the attitudes, the traffic, the beer lines, the 6 hour matter what transpires or takes place, it will be perfect. How do I know this to be true? Simply because I have already decided it will be... Huzzah! 

Might I suggest:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Postcards from Disneyland

Remember the trips you took with your family during your youth?  Every stop, every hotel, every Stuckey's, they all had postcards for sale.   I vividly remember wanting to purchase a postcard at every single stop and mail them to people to show them all the cool places I was visiting.  There were even those really cool 3D postcards that looked like the scene came alive and jumped off the card when you tipped it and tilted it different directions. My favorites were always the galloping horses.  To this day they still fascinate me.

Ah, yes - postcards..... They are all a thing of the past for me now.  In the past 26 years I have traveled the world, and I have been to some of the most exotic places one can imagine, but do you know how many post cards I have purchased? I am guessing 2, maybe 3.. The postcard took on a different meaning for me years ago and has never quite been the same.  Besides, buying a stamp in China is a chore!  Finding a post office is nearly impossible, you usually arrive home before the postcard (even if you are gone for a month and mail it on the first day), and really, when you think about it, does someone really want a postcard sent from an exotic land, stating in big bold letters scribbled overtop of an exquisite scene that says, "Wish YOU were here!"

Many years ago we met a family at church that had all moved to Taos from southern California.  One brother and his family moved out here, followed by another brother and his family, a sister and her family, another brother and his family, and finally grandma. Pretty soon about half of this large family had moved to this area.  One thing they always spoke of when I was around them was how much they all missed living in close proximity to Disneyland.

They would all speak about how they would enjoy the warm California nights hanging at Disneyland.  How they would meet up with friends after school and spend their nights laughing, eating junk food, and riding the rides. They always made it sound so wonderful, but one family in particular (the sister and her family), they really seemed to miss Disneyland.  Her kids were younger and they had lived very close to Disneyland.  It was hard for the children to move to such a small mountain town giving up Disneyland for sage brush, one Walmart and a theatre. They would speak often about how much they missed their old life.

This woman and her family became dear friends of mine.  They had moved here with hope that things would be easier, housing would be cheaper, jobs would be more plentiful, and well - they would be closer to their family (who had moved here a few years earlier).  As it turned out and is often the case in Taos, homes were more expensive, jobs were scarce, it was not always easier, but they still had their family.  In retrospect, I think they would have endured all of the others factors, the only one that gave them the worst time was, you guessed it, the family.

The youngest brother in particular. He was trying so hard to become a young, wealthy entrepreneur that he often treated those around him rather harshly.  Money and success became his only driving factor.  So much so that you couldn't stand to be in the same room with him because all he could talk about was himself and making money. The biggest problem with him was, although he bragged, boasted and went on and on and on about his wealth, it did not actually exist. It was a facade he placed up for everyone to cover his actual lack of success.  He would bully his family and remind them that they had come out here and were worse off than he was, because only he had become successful.

This young man especially loved to rub this in his sister's face. Why he liked to hurt her and demean her the way he did, I will never understand - but he did. He would remind her over and over how she would never amount to anything and would never attain his level of success.  It was particularly sad, because on the human scale, my friend and her little family rose high above the like-ability, ethical nature, and pure substance of her brother and his wife.

One summer the brother and his wife and 2 kids drove back to California for a mini vacation.  I had gone over to my friends house and she said, "Look, it looks like they are having a wonderful time.  I can't even imagine staying in a place so expensive."

She handed me a postcard from one of the areas most expensive hotels, not far from the front gates of Disneyland. Scribbled on the back of the postcard were the words, "Wish you guys could be here, but its far too expensive."

She handed me another, from a famous, you guessed it - rather expensive restaurant. It read, "Wish you were here, the food is delicious."

She was heartbroken, but nevertheless,  she went on to say that she hoped they were having fun and that she wished her plans had turned out differently when she had moved to Taos.  She felt like a failure, mostly because her brother would remind her that in his eyes, she was.  I would remind her of her strong points, there were so many! Her heart was kind, she was giving, she had a wonderful family, she was smart, she could cook up a storm (and it rocked!)...There was absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, she was beautiful.  But she never came to realize that about herself, and as she was struggling to get through every day, more post cards came.  Very much the same as the last, and several from, yup - Disneyland.

For a few weeks my friend's self esteem had really dropped, then her brother returned home. He came over to house and spoke of how wonderful everything was, how he could do it all because of his success, and how she would never have that ability.  It wasn't until a few weeks later when his kids spent the night at her house that she found out the rest of the story.

She asked the son how Disneyland was, telling him how she couldn't wait until their family could go back and visit.  His reply was, "We never went to Disneyland, dad said it was too expensive."

She asked about how they enjoyed staying in a big fancy hotel, but his reply was, "We stayed in Motel 6 for a couple of nights and then we finished the trip by staying with some friends."

The restaurants? You know how that goes too. They packed a cooler in the mornings and ate bologna sandwiches on the tailgate throughout the day.  There never was Disneyland, the hotel, or the restaurants.  The brother had taken the time to drive around to these places, go inside, get the postcards, go to a post office and mail them back to his sister just to stir up strife and jealousy.  The entire thing was a facade, one used to hurt and destroy another's self worth while building up a fake self worth of his own.

I have often thought of this event over the years.  I have wondered why, as people, we treat others badly from time to time.  When we try to be more than we are there is always hurt that affects someone.
I think back on my friend, she may not have had monetary riches, but she would feed you, love you, and give you the shirt off her back if necessary. This has always reminded me of the verse, What is desirable in a man is kindness, and it is better to be poor than a liar.  Proverbs 19:22

 It's interesting how this story ended. All of the family moved back to southern California, except for the younger brother.  He has been wandering around New Mexico, family in tow, trying to make his fortune.  The sister, well - you guessed it.  She lives in southern Cali, not far from the gates of Disneyland.  She doesn't send postcards, she has nothing to prove, she just lives happily in the moment...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

PD#2 - Dalton

Every person has what I am sure they consider to be their best days. I categorize mine as PD's, Perfect Days. To get the rating of a PD it has to be a perfect day, in every way, from sunup to sundown. I have had a total of 7.  Now, in a 365 day year, I have about 350 near perfect days, but I have only had 7 true PD's.  Each has a name, and each is embedded in my memory. There is Austin, Dalton, Seattle, Alaska, Beijing and Cupcakes & Wool Festival. These are how I remember though, we shall talk about Dalton.

PD #2 was July 11, 1991 - the day Dalton was born.  Oh, it was a special day. Not only was I going to get to meet my son, but there was a total solar eclipse that day.  I remember waking (after my c-section) and looking outside. It was rather grey and dark. I said, "Oh my gosh, I missed the entire first day of his life!"  

The nurse came over to the bed and said, "Oh no you haven't, it's only 11:00 am." She then went on to tell me about the eclipse. Everyone at the hospital came in to see Dalton, I can still hear all of them whispering how cool he was going to be because he was born on the eclipse.  Personally, I don't place any value, on the moon and stars and signs and eclipses, I knew he was going to be special just because he was.

Dalton was very calm and quite as a child, something he has reverted back into as an adult.  He had a good disposition and would usually just stare at me like I was crazy and he was trying to figure me out. I am not sure he has reached that point yet, but I think he has given up hope of that ever happening.

Dalton, or Mud, as the family refers to him, grew quickly.  He is smart and fun and was always curious.  He has overcome many trials in his life, all because I know God has has His protective hand on him.  He was healed of cancer at 18 months, he has survived (unscathed) 3 major car accidents. One a roll over, and another was a head on collision.  He has been blessed with humor (we questioned if he would ever have any, for about 10 years), charm, dedication, intelligence and dashing good looks.

I was recounting my children's birthdays with my friend today.  When the boys were young I celebrated birthdays in unimaginable ways.  Planning for a birthday was one of my greatest joys. I remember when they had their bunk beds, I would fill hundreds of ballons the night before and cover their floor with balloons.  They would last for weeks, and one by one they would get popped! We had theme parties and friends, pizza and cookouts.  We rented a gynormous bounce house several times. They would then have 4 friends spend the night and would sleep in the bounce house.  At their request, Jim would don his scary mask and scare the beejeebee's out of them sometime during the night.  We would also turn the fan off when they fell asleep and the bounce house would quickly deflate. Only when they were all in a heap, in the rubber and netting, then we would re-inflate and they would start jumping in their sleeping bags.

Every birthday morning, if we were in the country, we would go to a local place called Michaels Kitchen.  They make hot chocolate there that the boys always loved.  The whipped cream on it was about 4" high.  I would whip a bottle of birthday sprinkles out of my purse and shake them on the whipped cream to start our celebration day.  Remarkably, I did that until they were 18 :0) They are softies for tradition!

Dalton has been able to spend his birthday in many different countries. I remember his 7th birthday was up on the tundra in Canada.  We did a canoe trip, just the 4 of us and a guide.  I had informed her it would be his birthday and she baked him a chocolate cake over the campfire, complete with gummy worms. Once, on his was to Australia, the pilot announced it was his 12th birthday, at exactly midnight.  In crossing time zones his birthday lasted a very, very short time.  Last year we were at the Renaissance Faire, and there have been many other places in between.

Tomorrow I head to Albuquerque to have a birthday day with Dalton.  He's taking some intense summer college courses and can't come home.  I will leave early to get to the cupcake factory and get a red velvet cupcake before they sell out.  We are going to go order a beer in the Irish Pub he normally couldn't go into without mom (you had to be 21, even to eat there). We will go to a microbrewery downtown and have lunch and a good IPA. 

I will unload a few bags of specialty birthday groceries and homemade goodies. He loves gourmet foods so he is getting proscuitto and melon, rosemary bread and imported salami. There are canned figs with lemon and a wheel of brie.  I am making Cream of Wild Mushroom soup, and sun dried tomatoes.  There is curry, and skittles, and homemade BBQ sauce and the fixings for a BBQ Chicken  pizza. It will be a wonderful day, then I will get in my car and head home - and he will have a birthday night with his brother and friends.

I am grateful they are so close to home, only 120 miles away.  I am also grateful that when I call and ask to spend their birthday with them, they still say yes.  I'm also grateful, beyond belief, that God gave me two of the most amazing kids on the planet, it's just one more way I know He loves me! 

So, Happy Birthday Mud! I hope tomorrow is your PD#1!!! (and I know the Irish beer has a creamy head on it, perhaps I shall throw the sprinkles in my purse!)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Who can save me?

"Mom! Mom, help me..." 

Those were the cries of my son in the middle of the night, many years ago.  I vividly remember being in a deep sleep and suddenly waking to a very frightened cry.  I jumped out of bed and went running into his room.  There sat my sweet little Austin, sitting straight up on the top bunk where he slept.

A smile just crossed my face thinking about those bunk beds. My boys shared a room for most of their lives, Dalton on the bottom bunk and Austin on the top. I remember lying in bed at night hearing them talk, giggle, fight.... They loved sharing a room and they loved their bunk beds.

When they went through their pirate stage, they would swing from the ladder yielding swords. In their alien stage, they would turn out the lights and turn on the Christmas lights they had taped to the bottom of Austin's bed (directly above Dalton's head). Often I would find them in that bed together, telling stories and dreaming of UFO invasions.  There was the planetary phase where the ceiling was covered with hundreds of glow in the dark stars and planets.  One time they even pulled the drawers out from under the bottom bunk and Austin hung little christmas lights under the frame of the bottom bed so his brother would have a cave to sleep in.  Dalton would actually sleep in there at night, all the while believing he was actually in a cave, hidden somewhere in the forest.

Their room was always a happy place. It was filled with sea monkeys, at one time, a couple of chinchillas, silk kites from China, Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles. They had a train clock that whistled, Curious George riding a string tight rope, the ugliest cow skull and horns, and collections of bugs; delicately placed behind glass.  Every night my boys would fall asleep listening to Disney Movie soundtracks, Gypsy Kings or Classical Music. Yes, it was a happy room indeed - until the night cries woke me.

I raced into the room and Austin was shaking terribly. "Mom, Mom" (he was sobbing), "There was something evil in my room.  It snarled at me and scared me so bad!"

The poor little guy was scared out of his wits.  I stood on the ladder to his bed, stroked his hair, prayed for him and reassured him that it was only a bad dream and that everything was going to be ok.  He finally calmed down, I put the Gypsy Kings back on (to this day it remains their favorite CD), and he closed his eyes and fell asleep.

The next morning he was recounting this horrifying event to me.  It had really shaken him.  Austin had never been one for bad dreams, so this really bothered him.  After breakfast he forgot all about it and went about his usual tasks of the day.  When the day was finished and every one was in bed, (fast asleep I might add), "Mom! Mom!! Hurry." Austin was crying out even louder than the night before.

Again, as was the case the night before - Austin had been awakened by the monster in his room.  He was so shaken this time that I pulled out the sofa sleeper on the sofa and made a bed where we could lay down together.  He described his terror to me and told me that he didn't feel like it was a dream, that it was real and in his bedroom.  After praying, talking, hugging, he feel fast asleep.  Unfortunately, this went on for 2 more nights. Each night playing out the same as the previous nights.

On the fifth night, I found myself lying in bed, almost waiting for Austin to cry out.  Finally he did, but this time it was different. This time I could just hear him crying and saying , "Mom, come hear."

I got up, went to his room, and there he was - sitting up in bed crying. I asked if he had had the dream again and he said yes.  But this time it went away for good. I asked him why he was still so upset and he looked at me and said, "I was wrong. This thing wouldn't go away because I did it wrong."

"What do you mean you did it wrong?" I asked.

 In a soft little, still rather shaken voice, Austin said,"All the other nights I called out for you to save me, I needed to call out for God to save me.  Tonight I called on God, and He got rid of it for me."

"WOW." Wow was all that I could muster up to say. I was so taken by the words of my son. He was so small, so young, and so scared - yet in his youth he taught me the most incredible lesson. So often we place our faith in man.  We depend on on ourselves, our deeds, our works, our goodness, our self control and our abilities to save us, when in reality it is only God who can do such things.

I have thought back on this episode many times, and I am reminded how the Lord, in all of His goodness, has used my children over the years to teach me. The lesson I received from this incident helped to strip me from my fears because Austin reminded me that nothing can overtake me when I cry out to God to save me!

Who will separate us from the love of Christ?
Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution,
or famine, or peril, or sword?........
But in ALL things we overwhelmingly conquer 
through Him who loved us.  
For I am convinced that neither death,
nor life, nor angels, nor principalities,
nor things present, nor things to come,
nor powers, nor height, nor depth, 
nor any other created thing 
can separate us from the love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord!
Romans 8:35-39

Austin never did have his nightmares again..... :0) And once again, it became a very happy room to be in.

Friday, July 6, 2012



 I call on you oh God,
For you will answer me;
Give ear to me 
And hear my prayer.
   Psalm 17:6

Years ago, right after I gave my heart to the Lord, I began attending a rather small church here in Taos. We had a couple of interim pastors, but eventually a permanent pastor came to attend the church.  He had the most adorable wife who remains in my memory as one of the sweetest women I have ever known.  The pastor however, never did come to like our family.

After attending faithfully for seven years or so, giving large sums of money to support the small church, and getting involved in every activity they had, it was still apparent that the pastor didn't care for us - actually didn't care for me.  As involved as I wanted to be, he never seemed to think I was converted enough to be involved.  The funny thing was, I was the only one who ever offered.

Time went on and I attended, just happy to be there you might say.  I was learning, studying and forming a very solid relationship with the Lord.  The pastor took ill and went through a couple of years of real physical hardship.

One day, as I was going about, minding my own business, you might say, I got one of those small taps on the shoulder from God. It was like He said, "I want you to go over to his house and pray for Pastor ___."

"Really?" I asked rather audibly. "The man still doesn't know my name after 5 years, and there's only 30 of us in the church!"

I didn't like the thought of this AT ALL!  So, being obstinant, I didn't do it. I ignored it and came up with every reason why I shouldn't go to his house and pray.  These little tappings continued for the next year and a half.  Finally, talking to my step son one day, he said, "Why don't you do it. Maybe God wants to teach you something."

That was a real wake up call for me, I thought Greg could actually be on to something, so without hesitation I picked up the phone and called his wife and asked if I could come over and pray.  She immediately said yes and asked when. I replied, without thinking, and said, "NOW!"

I remember the drive over. I was so worried about how he would receive me, and frankly it was exactly as I thought. I knocked on the door and his words were, "What do you want here?"

I told him I wanted to pray for him and walked through the door. We sat on his couch, I prayed, hugged him and stood to leave; I had done what I came to do.  He looked at me and said, "Well, I hope He heard your prayer."

I looked at Him, bewildered, actually.  I said, "Of course He heard my prayer, He's God!" 

O You who hear prayer
To You all men come...
Psalm 65:2

I smiled, hugged him, hugged his wife and left. Whew! It actually took me a year or so to figure out why I was prompted to do that. He wasn't healed, he never changed his attitude about me, but something in my relationship with God changed. We got closer, He instructed me more, taught me, etc..  One day, out the clear blue, when I was asking why He had me pray for this man, I got the answer.  It wasn't to help the pastor, per say, it was to prove my obedience to God. By working through something uncomfortable for me, because God asked me to, in doing it - I learned obedience is greater than discomfort. And obedience will see you through discomfort. How cool is that?

Yesterday, I was faced with this challenge, once again.   For several months now I have been pleading with the Lord about wanting to be closer with Him than I have ever been.  I guess it's been the past year actually.  I have had small inclinations of things I need to give up in my life to be closer to Him.  One by one I have been tackling these things, and some have been more than easy to give up.  Like the ambien for instance. After my episode a month ago, I gave it up instantly.  God, in his goodness, has filled my sleeplessness with His sleep. Man, I sleep like a baby, every single night!

A few days ago, during my bible study, I was thanking God for all He is teaching me. It's pretty awesome, but there is still that space that doesn't feel occupied by God, and I want my life to be filled with Him completely. So, I began praying, "Lord, I will give up anything, anything that occupy's my life that should not be there. Tell me what it is."

I got the answer, like a slap in the face, and I did not - DID NOT like it. So I did what I do best in times like these, and ignored it. But slowly, He began telling me what I needed to do - and slowly, I began to listen.  We have so many things in our lives that fill our days, our thoughts, our emotions, our comings and goings.  Sometimes they are things we hold onto, sometimes its habits, sometimes it people.  I have a very short list of things to get rid of, and frankly, the stuff or things are no problem.  The problem comes in giving up certain people in my life.  These aren't people I have disdain for, they are people I love.  But God continued to show me how not all people we love are healthy in our lives.  Anyone who takes up our head space and heart space, which God could occupy, but we push him out for them - well, they have to go. 

In my honest assessment of wanting a closer walk with God, I realized what I had to do. I had to break ties with a few people in my life. One, in particular, was really hurting me to have to do. But God, through His mercy, gave me the strength and gave the person a heart to understand what I was doing. In following through with this, my friend was supportive and understood.

Last night as I was praying, I told the Lord how much I would miss this person, and He said to me, "It's the one who leaves the biggest void in your life that gives Me the most room to occupy." I was blown away. I had to give up the one who was so important to me in order to give the Lord the space in my life He needed to work with me.

I woke this morning, rather anxious to see what God has to teach me, now that He has something to work with.  I studied, I prayed and of course I asked for a date in my book Grace, to show me He was with me.   He gave me November 18th. The title, It's Your Choice. The verse, If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want.  They must be willing even to give up their lives to follow me.  Mark 8:34  I read this, and before I could close the book, tears were falling down my face. I know God loves me, I know He hears me, and now I know He alone occupies the void that just yesterday I questioned if it could be filled.