Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Day, I hardly even noticed you!

It's after 10 p.m. Monday. I was catching up on some newspaper reading, and for some reason, now is when it hit me that I sure did nothing special on this leap day. 

Yes, it's Feb. 29, 2016. The article I was reading was looking at how people through the years have used their "extra" day. And my immediate response was shame or guilt, because I had this extra day and didn't even acknowledge it. And I can't say I wasn't aware of it before I read the paper. Reminders were all over Facebook and elsewhere, including my daily devotionals, but I ignored them.

Thinking back through the years, I don't think leap day has ever been a big deal for me. It's just another day. And I'll be best off if that's how I view today. 

Interestingly, at about noon, I could have imagined that when the day wound down, I would count it as good. It seemed some difficult areas had taken positive turns, and I felt grateful and optimistic. Had things kept going that way, I can see how I might have been reflecting on the coolness and perfect timing of this bonus day. 

But by 4:30, that happy bubble had burst and I faced new physical and emotional messes to deal with. They are not major things, but I was so hoping the positive changes were a foundation for more steps forward. Instead, I feel as if I've taken several steps backward, even though my husband and others assure me that is not the case. 

And now that I think about it, maybe it's good that the little setbacks happened on the extra day at the end of the month rather than at the start of a new month. But I also know I'm best off when I take all of life on a one-day-at-a-time basis. 

So, even though I almost failed to acknowledge leap day, now I am once again grateful for another perfect present moment from God. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Back and forth

I've had a few days where it seemed I've taken two steps back for every one step forward. 

But I will keep stepping. 

Maybe the steps aren't actually backwards as much as circular. 

Just for today, I choose to believe it's a spiral, and the overall progress is forward. For that I am grateful. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Many gifts, one spirit

I suppose there's no time like Lent to be exploring the Bible and Christian discipleship from United Methodist, Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist perspectives. Oh, I think I also have a Presbyterian viewpoint in my daily reading. I am grateful for those who share their faith and experience and knowledge. And I am grateful to God for helping me hear and respond. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Am I a liar?

In trying so hard to follow the biblical principle of giving thanks in all things, I fear I'm being dishonest. 

All kinds of slogans and mantras come to mind, including fake it until you make it. 

I wish I could embrace the example set forth by Paul: "But He said to me, 'My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness.' Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!" (2 Corinthians 12:9 amp)

I feel so very week sometimes. But it seems like people are expected to put on a good face. Don't let my pain or despair show. After all, compared to so many people, my problems are very minimal.

But I was reminded tonight of a delicate balance. 

I don't want to get stuck in negative feelings. But it also doesn't work to deny those feelings. I don't have to display my pain or frustration, but I do need to feel it. 

That's honest. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The journey begins ...

This is the thought that stayed with me after I read it last night. It's from the "invitation" to a Lenten study on a website called shereadstruth. 

"Lent is a time to embrace grace, to say ten thank yous for every I’m sorry. It is a time to walk with Christ to His cross, to lean in and listen hard to His words and actions as He does for us what we could never do—reconciles us to God for now, forever, for good."

I read parts of about four or five Lenten  devotionals today. I'm still undecided what my focus will be. 

As I continue to deal with the aftermath of my surgery in ways I never expected, I am reminded ... Ha, now I've forgotten what had come to mind!!

Hmmmm. Focus on the positive. Look at things honestly. Find the honest good in a situation. Seek the deeper truth. Stay in the present moment. ... "embrace grace, ... say ten thank yous for every I’m sorry. ... walk with Christ to His cross, ... lean in and listen hard to His words and actions as He does for us what we could never do—reconciles us to God for now, forever, for good."

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Stepping into Lent

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the start of the Christian season of Lent that traditionally for me is a time of spiritual focus leading up to Easter.

As has been my theme so far in 2016, I am not ready. The aftermath of emergency surgery in early January is that I still lack much sense of normalcy regarding my health or daily routines of life. I actually considered trying to make my Lenten focus to be no more excuses and to try to force myself to get what I consider "back on track." 

But I quickly realized a more realistic and spiritual focus would be to just recommit to my efforts to pray, meditate, read and study the Bible, trust and obey and take things one day at a time, seeking to know God's will for my life, to His glory. 

Still, I couldn't resist  sharing a couple of Lenten studies on my Facebook page that I likely will check out in the morning and pray for insight into whether they offer the guidance I need. And I, God willing, to attend the Ash Wednesday service at my church. 

But I have to admit that, this year, I have some awareness I may tend toward going through the motions. I want a closer walk with God, but I'm having trouble focusing in. 

So, I have no idea where this year's Lenten journey will lead me. I will step out in faith, eager to see where God leads me. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Healthy 65 update (updated and completed, perhaps)

My Healthy 65 challenge -- which began Nov. 30 and was to end Feb. 2 -- was pretty much just a concept by Christmas. I was trying to maintain a daily attitude of gratitude and to refrain from complaining. But I had stopped keeping track of my progress toward accomplishing my goal. 

I was thinking about assessing where I was with it the first week of the new year. 

However, before that happened, I had severe cramping that forced me to the emergency room that led to abdominal surgery and a whole new set of reasons to have an attitude of gratitude and look for the good in every situation. 

Even with a temporary (I hope and pray) colostomy, I know I am too blessed to be stressed. I was basically healthy before my colon flipped out, and I'm basically healthy now. At least that's what my surgeon says. I have a supportive husband, family and friends, including those from church, work, a 12-step fellowship and my always encouraging Facebook crew. I have a job that provides flexibility to allow me to be productive as I adjust to changes. It also connects me to insurance for which I am especially grateful at this time. 

Wednesday, Jan. 6, seemed like one of the healthiest days of my life. I'd taken a comp day off from work to spend with my husband. We were making plans for a bright new year, with positive changes.  We even went to the gym together, and I worked with a trainer for the second time.  I was very excited about our healthy future. 

Yet, before Thursday was over, I was in the emergency room. I ended up in the hospital, then had surgery the next morning. 

There are many things I will never understand. I'm only human, so of course negative thoughts and frustration can enter in when dealing with the challenges of sickness, healing, limitations, changes, health care complexities, insurance, survivor's guilt, worry about my husband's well-being through it all, etc. but I have too much to be grateful for to stay in self-pity for long.

I know and am grateful for this: God never leaves my side. And I'm continuing to do amazingly well, accompanied by God's presence, lots of prayers and angels on earth and in heaven!! An attitude of gratitude helps me not miss these blessings. 

Sent from my iPhone