Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Best Day

I am so clear about what I'm not good at.  I will sit down and say, "I should be doing something else."  A laundry list of things come to mind.  I have a moment of stress as I sit there drinking my coffee and drinking in the morning.  I love those moments.  I want to push away the negative thoughts as I sit down.  Today the list will not wait.  

What if I don't want to change?  I do, but what if I didn't want to.  As you all well know, I'm a hot mess.  I look around and I think about what I would change...  I want to change everything and nothing.  What I am currently is what I am.  I think the problem is tomorrow.  I think about what I want from tomorrow.  I need to be where I am today.  

We throw away today as if time is not limited.  I think about teaching back in the Bronx.  I would have this one kid that was prone to fits.  I can't believe that he is a grown man some where, hopefully.  He would have a bad moment and he would throw up his hand and say, "That's it!  I'll try again tomorrow."  This gave him license to behave and wallow in his poor behavior for the rest of the day.  So, I told him, "Don't let a bad moment, become a bad morning.  Don't let a bad morning become a bad afternoon.  Don't let a bad afternoon become a bad day."  So we would sit and figure out how to make his bad moment better.  I would remind him that the day was still young and it could end up being the best day of his life.  

Someone asked me what I would do if today was the last day of my life.  I think I might have an answer.  I would eat bread.  I would put the bed in the living room and lay on it with my babies.  Maybe I'll walk around the block with them.  I would hug them and cuddle with them.  I would thank God for the day and for His grace in my life.  Come to think of it, I'll do that now.  I'll thank God for this day and for His grace in my life.  Tomorrow may be better or worse, who is to say but God.  But today...  Today can turn out to be the best day of your life thus far.  Praise the Lord!!!  

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Look Up

I think the expectation was that things would settle down.  The quarantine would lift and things would fall and we would figure out how to get back to our lives.  The quarantine was lifted and instead of a gradual return to the world, there were protests.  I don't know.  There was a curfew and I stayed home.  And now Arizona has high COVID 19 cases, this little state where it is known that people come to retire.  The heat did not keep away the contagion.  

We wear our masks.  We stay home.  We have no idea what will happen.  It seems that we need to go back to quarantining.  People are self-distancing and I'm not upset at them.  But the toothpaste is out of the tube and there is no putting it back in the way that it came.  

This mama tries not to say a lot about the current state of affairs.  But today, it weighs on me and I am tired of being isolated.  I learned that a place that I used to go to when I first got here to Arizona is closing, The Metrocenter.  This is old news.  It saddens me.  We lived almost across the street from this area and my family would go there and just walk around.  We had so many memories there and now?  Now it is gone.  

Things are changing, changing so much.  I don't want to look around me any more.  I just want to look up.  These days, it is harder to look around.  I just want to look up at Jesus and hope for better days, or even better moments.  I suggest you look up with me, Friends.  Look up and praise God that He is in control.  Praise the Lord!

Friday, June 26, 2020

The Shoulds

I can be hard on myself.  I don't know what this makes me.  I don't know if it demonstrates a Type A personality.  I don't think of myself like that.  I'm not sure what it means.  I don't need a cheerleader.  I realized this giving birth.  I wanted to be left alone to focus on doing the task.  I go inside my mind and push through.  I was going up a hill hiking once and poor Janet.  She was like, "You can do it, Mom!!!"  It annoyed me.  I told her, "Thanks, Janet, but I don't need a cheerleader."  She was clearly hurt.  Later I explained that people are motivated to do things in different ways.  Some appreciate a cheerleader and for some things, definitely cheer me on.  For others, I don't.  She understood then.  I understood then.  I'm still trying to understand.  

Because of this, I talk to myself a lot.  I need to be communicating to myself in order to get things done.  Elle, do a few pages today.  Elle, mop the floors.  Elle, cook a great dinner.  I have high expectations of myself and can easily burn out if I'm not careful.  I'm learning my limits.  Things can go from a nice hike to a dangerous precipice from one moment to the next.  

In my head, there is an internal checklists of shoulds

Be a better mom                

Be a brilliant teacher        

Have the house spotless    ✔

Be perfect                         ✔       

There is something in my ear that whispers, "You will lose everything if you aren't perfect."  I know you know what I am talking about, right?  I'm not perfect.  I'm not even close.  I have to remind myself that I don't have to be driven by the shoulds.  The needs to also need to be addressed.  I sit here and say, "I need to lose weight. (I do but you get the point)"  "I need to be a better friend."  "I need to organize the closets."  "I need to walk more."  "I need to sleep more."  "I need to..."  The only real need to is love and trust God.  

Maybe I need to stop listening to the things that drive me nuts.  Maybe I need to bring everything to God in prayer, even my evil heart.  Maybe I need to trust that God has a plan even when it seems that this life is impossible.  Maybe it is.  There's always the next life and I want to make sure that I'm in the right place for that.  Maybe I'm human and the real secret is to allow God to reflect Himself through my humanity, less of me and more of Him.  Okay, God, more You and less me.  Because You're perfect and I'm not.  Adding God to the Elle mix lifts up my status.  That's all for now.  Praise the Lord!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Rants and Ramblings

No I have not been blogging.  I have been writing and I have been making plans to write.  The fever to write has been changing.  I don't know what that means.  I have been mulling it over and thinking about the direction of my writing.  For that matter, I have been thinking of the directions of my life and pondering.  

So... I've started dating... again.  I am trying an older app.  It's funny because it wasn't really recommended to me but many people that I have spoken to within the last 6 months have told me that they have met their significant other on the app.  So, I'm giving it a try.  It is definitely different than the other apps.  It has aspects of eharmony's quiz that I love.  You can start a conversation and they don't totally eliminate the ones you initially pass on.  They leave them there for you to reconsider.  LOL!!!  

I have had a date.  Just some guy who was on a rant and I reached out to him.  I like rants and ramblings so... I gave it a try.  Did you know that 5'8" on my son seems very tall and 5'8" on a guy seems more like 5'6"?  I am a solid 5'3".  I have now decided that I like taller guys unless you are exceptionally kind and good looking.  I'm kidding!!!  I'm kidding a little bit.  Okay, maybe there some truth to that but don't hold it against me.  In any case, the guy was smart and the conversation was good.  At the end I walked toward my car and he was behind me.  I turn around and he was gone.  Where had he gone?  Was that him driving out of the parking lot like a bat out of Hades?  I called him confused and concerned.  I thanked him for the meal and explained that I thought he was walking me to the car.  When I got home, I had the last rant I would hear from him.  He was mean.  He said my reaction to his contrary point of view was that of a 15 year old girl.  I had said that I was immature when we were chatting.  I don't think I misrepresented myself.  He thought it was selfish of me to walk to my car and not notice that he wasn't behind me.  He criticized me alluding to being a social scientist and not being credentialed as one... (I was on a research team whose findings were published in a journal.)  In the end he said that I was not engaging and insensitive.  I responded before I deleted and blocked him.  I thanked him again for the meal and the feedback.  I apologized for making him feel that I was insensitive.  The truth of the matter was that I didn't really like him and I guess it showed.  Everything else was him responding to that.  Hurt people do end up hurting people.  I remembered that and have not taken it personally.  

I'm learning about this eating healthy business.  I feel better.  I have lost about 2.6 pounds in a week, not bad.  At least I'm not gaining.  However, my kids tend to eat what I eat.  The things that I love, they love.  They don't eat bread.  They can eat bread but they don't because I don't eat bread.  They'll eat a sandwich but I have to make it for them as an incentive for them to eat it and I don't really like touching bread.  Which means that they are going through the food faster than usual!!!  I'm glad because fresh produce does not keep.  But I may have to buy gluten filled cookies and crackers to supplement their sweet tooths so I am not fighting over the last raspberry.  

My work is going slow and it is easy to get distracted.  I just have to keep going.  I need to just keep trying to get it done no matter how little or how I feel at the end of the day.  Thank you for your prayers.  Be kind.  Trust in the Lord and be ready to forgive.  These are the things that I am learning these days.   Be well.  Praise the Lord!

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Father's Day 2020

I went out with a friend and his daughter.  His daughter is friends with my daughter.  I was fine to spend time with my big little boy.  Later in the day, my sweet daughter is hanging out with me and she tells me that she is jealous of her friend.  I jump into "Mom" mode.  I begin to extol her attributes and virtues.  She then tells me that she is jealous of her friend because she has a father.  Oh my heart!!!

This year, I didn't buy any friends presents or cards.  This year I'm a bad friend.  This year I will send out some texts and make a great lunch for my babies as we work on things and spend time together.  I tell them that they have a father.  I tell them about their greater Father.  They are calm.  Already I know that the day will hurt more than others as those celebrating around us will be happy with their dads.  You begin to acknowledge painful days.  You can feel it in the mornings.  Yes, this day will not pass without tears.  

Men, be good fathers to your babies.  My dad was a great father and on top of missing my husband I miss my dad.  My father with his Colombian accent. My dad who was okay just watching me be happy.  My dad who I loved so very much and who was taken too soon.  I look at my son who resembles him so much, my dad lives on.  There are moments that I worry about David.  He can be so argumentative and he's mean sometimes to his sister.  The other day, he was babysitting a friend's son.  He likes to work with kids.  He is not like he is with us at home.  He is gentle and patient.  He has a lot of energy.  I turned for a minute and saw the father that he would be.  Already I pray for him and his future and for the future of his family.  I pray for Janet too but today is Father's day and I am raising a God fearing husband and father for the next generation if it is to come.  Men don't get a lot of appreciation sometimes.  Wives, love the men you have.  Kids, listen to your Dad.  I don't say it, God says it.  

Eat the steak and spend time with your kids.  Have a Great Father's Day!!!    

Thursday, June 18, 2020

The Art of Pen Pals

Before you go to far into this post, please know, it was inspired by my friend, Mallorie who I met with for coffee and who suggested the topic of this post.

Has it been really 6 months when I met Peter on Bumble.  He told me that he wasn't really ready for a relationship and would it be okay to be friends.  I agreed.  We mainly text but I was missing letter writing so I suggested it to Peter.  He told me that he could barely keep up with texting but that I should look at this sub/Reddit on Pen Paling.  He sent me the link.  My first question was, "What's Reddit?"  I got a profile and went on.  It's been fun.  I have started a few letters with quite a few people.  Some people I have written, I haven't heard back from.  Some I am still writing.  I can't be too hard on people.  

There is something that I have discovered in pen palling.  There are a lot of people that are hurting in the world that need a friend to communicate with.  I read the posts and I try to answer them.  Some of them are striking up conversation.  Some are in pain and in need of someone to reach out to them and tell them that it will be okay.  I think of that song, "Message in a Bottle" by The Police.  Instead of messages being sent out into the void of the sea, their notes and pleas for attention are being sent out into the void of the internet in hopes that they can be seen.  Did I come across a dark crevasse of the world to be a light in a dark place?  As you know, I am a poor light but if I claim for one side or the other, I think you know what side I be reppin'!!!  

Besides, it gives me a reason to look forward to the mail other than looking for Amazon packages.  There is something about getting a pack of pens and finding just the right kind of stationery.  I got a letter from Courtney the other day.  She wrote me in the sweetest print!!!  She fit the whole letter in a little bit of stationery that was pink and cute.  I can add these souls to my prayer lists.  I don't write physical letters.  There are some that I write on the site.  There are others that I write emails to.  This is a way to find friends in other countries and other continents.  This is a way to practice another language.  This is a way to reach out and feel connected even as you are alone at home.  Sometimes there are people that just want to tell you their story and it is an easy way to listen.  

A note of warning:  You really don't know who you are dealing with when you are writing so I suggest to use caution.  If you feel uncomfortable then you don't have to deal with it.  The other good thing is that you can report people to the moderator if it doesn't go well.  There are a lot of young people on the site but again, I would warn to be very very careful.  The pen pal sub/Reddit is great and well moderated.  I wouldn't wander on Reddit.  

This is all for now friends.  I'll keep you posted on any interesting developments.  Until next time, praise the Lord!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Plus Sized

You know... I can't feel that bad about being plus-sized.  Every now and again, I don't really like the way I look in something but, for the most part, I like the way that I look.  I have recently decided to be healthy.  I asked myself why I wanted to do since I like to eat and I appreciate good food.  After much soul searching, I decided to eat more healthy for more focus and to feel healthy.  I could afford to lose weight but I don't know if my expectation goes to skinny.  My value is not really in the way that I look.  My value is in God so... I don't really have to worry about how I look.  

Here is the other thing.  I think plus sized women are beautiful.  I was perusing plus sized fashion.  It is so refreshing.  The colors, the confidence- I love it!!!  I think that companies have the token chunky model now.  I don't care.  I am so proud. I am so glad that there are women that look more like the women you see every day.  Women like me!!!  I mean, we don't know what the heroines of the Bible looked like.  I assume that they were in shape because they walked alot but, they could have used extra materials to make their togas and saris, right? It wasn't really about how they looked was it?  It was about Who they believed in.  

I know that, even now, thin is what is in.  I don't want to be on a diet and feel deprived of food.  That just leaves you hangry.  Ever been hangry before?  You become starved and then what happens is that you begin to dream of dancing food like fried shrimp and tartar sauce; chocolate milk shakes and pizza with extra cheese and all of the fixings.  When you attempt to restrain yourself of overeating, the end results is irritability and being mean.  I want to tell you that my sin nature comes out when I am hungry.  My prayers are like, "I'm sorry I snapped at the dozen or so people today when I was hungry, Lord."  There are times when I'm like, "Man, if I don't get food in me, I'm getting arrested."  I go across three lanes and my son is like, "Mom!!!"  "Quiet!!!  There a Mod Pizza at this exit!!"  It's better to eat constantly good vegetables and fruits, of lean meats and good fats.  Already my mind is a little clearer.  God love supports self-love because He is love.  You know what all this love exudes?  Beauty!  Good character and beauty is what you get.  

People look different when they are older.  As they age, people start looking different and there is nothing wrong with that.  Who will you be if you aren't about looks?  Is that all you have?  I could understand why people fear aging if they have relied on beauty this whole time.  I can't really complain, can I?  I love my daughter, she sees beauty everywhere.  I think it is her talent to see someone and be, "Mom, isn't she beautiful!!!"  She has never had a problem going up to people and giving them a compliment.  To her, they are not compliments, it is the truth.  This is the way that she sees the world and far be it from me to change her.  I think we can all try and see the beauty in people.  Go on ahead, I dare you.  I mean, I think God sees the beauty in us, why don't we try and follow this aspect of God.  Praise the Lord!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2020


I haven't been following my own advice.  I know that nutrition has a lot to do with health and emotional well-being.  It does.  I looked up the benefits of zucchini.  In fact, I sat down and looked at the benefits of a lot of fruits and vegetables.  They seem to be the secret to turning back a lot of things.  Let's put it this way, the benefits far outweigh the negative aspects.  I know this.  I do!!!  So... why would I continue to eat poorly in light of everything I know about the functions of nutrition?  I'm stubborn?

I'm sitting here full.  It doesn't really seem possible as I eat a lot more junk to feel fuller.  I'm less aggravated as well.  I know that good nutrition doesn't only feed the body but helps with emotional stability.  Broccoli is a natural mood stabilizer.  It took me a while to get out of my system sweet sugary drinks.  Now I refuse to drink my calories.  I have been looking at some of these diets that cut out legumes and fruits... Not for this girl!!!  I love some fruit.  I'm trying to figure it out.  

Why am I thinking about nutrition?  I need to focus.  I need to get my mind together.  I'm finding out that eating junk is not conducive to good thinking.  When the curfew happened, I stopped walking.  Man!!!  This messed me up!  I started walking again yesterday.  We had to go later but it made a world of difference.  I always think that it is so hard to do things (and some things are really hard to do), but getting healthy is another thing. It's not that hard.  Sure, I could eat gluten free pizza every day of the week.  Should I talk about Doritos now?  You all know that I have a thing with Doritos, right?  If you let me, I will eat Doritos all day every day.  Oh gosh!!!  I can't stay away.  I like eating them with guacamole.  My goodness!!!

So... I always compare my appetite for junk food with my appetite for sin.  When I'm starving after a long day, I would love nothing more than a great big cheeseburger with bacon.  I would chase them down with some fries in a heartbeat.  What about binge-watching your favorite show while eating a mix of cheddar popcorn, crunchy Cheetos and gluten free pretzels?  Should I mention my issue with Yogurtini?   Man, I love taking the kids to fill up a pint with the most sugary wonderful sorbet and sour and fruity stuff.  Yum!!!  How can you stay away?  I feel the same way about sin.  When I'm tired and hangry, it is easier to be mean and irritable than listen to God when He says, "Elle, love your neighbor."  It's that moment when you think about doing/eating the right thing but you pick the one you shouldn't.  If you are like me, you are rationalizing why you did the wrong thing and not the right thing.  "No, you see... what had happened was..."  They are all lies.  

I am mindful.  I am thinking about what I am doing before I do.  I am preparing mentally for the pitfalls that hit.  My prayer is for help in doing all that I need to do.   I need help when the second that the cheeseburger appears in my head, I can think of the salad.  When I see the Doritos on sale at the supermarket, I can walk away.  I think we can all use this prayer.  May the Lord guard our hearts from evil.  Praise the Lord!

Monday, June 15, 2020

The Problem with Wanting

I took my social media accounts out of my, "Taking a Break" folder.  I am back, but not really.  I logged on and a friend of mine had posted how she was tired of some of the posts on social media.  I miss the funny stuff.  I'm realizing that all of the images and posts direct me to feel something, no matter how small.  I'm not too sure I should be feeling anything these days.  However, I find that in looking at social media, one way or another, through posts, pics or ads, I am wanting.  

Here in Arizona, where COVID 19 is hitting record highs, the quarantine has been lifted and the curfew has been removed; we are certainly not back to normal.  We tend to not eat in restaurants where there is no dine in service.  I am finding that we would prefer to eat at Denny's than go to a fancier place for food just because we can eat it there.  My son has developed a newfound love for Denny's. LOL!!  I think it's funny.  Now when we pass Denny's he's like, "Denny's!!!  Yum!!"  And still there is longing and wanting, it is for a time or an experience but it is still wanting.  

You don't realize things until you realize things.  I didn't know how much I would miss going to the movies and having frozen yogurt after with my kids.  I took them to their favorite restaurant for their promotion dinner and it was closed.  It may never open again.  I went to get my tires rotated and I had to drive my car into the bay myself.  I need to get my car detailed but people don't even want to touch your reusable shopping bags, imagine the inside of a grimy car.  And I don't blame them.  I would love nothing more than to be selfish about things.  I would love to kick my heels against the ground and have a tantrum about the state of things.  Isn't this all have to do with wanting?  Getting our way?  Getting my way?  

I think the problem that I have with all of this wanting is an ego problem.  I want things to get back to normal.  I want to be done with my degree.  I want to move.  I want to do what I want and not worry about the situation of the world.  What I want and what I am likely to have are two different things.  Psalm 23 begins, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want."  And yet, here I am wanting.  Is this why I got off of social media?  Maybe.  

I was chatting with a friend and I was telling her how lovely it is to not make plans on a recent staycation.  I don't have to listen to anyone or argue with anyone on what I should or shouldn't be doing.  I think I am adapting to singleness. This is me being content with what I have.  I have added another color to my hair and I don't have to ask anyone if they like it and worry that they don't.  It forces you to be more independent, this singleness.  I thought I wanted to be married again.  Maybe I don't want to be married.  I meet friends for lunch or coffee.  It doesn't matter who they are.   I don't have to worry what anyone thinks about it.  I am learning to appreciate the present for what it is.  I tend to think and worry about the future.  When I want it is usually for another day.  Unless it is pizza, I want pizza right now!!!  Proverbs 27:1, James 4:13-15, Matthew 6:33-34, they all talk about not worrying about tomorrow.  All of this worry and want is wrapped together.  I need to take it and throw it away.  

Today I will be thankful or I will try to be thankful.  I will consider today.  I will consider the good parts.  I will be thankful I am not in pain today.  I will be happy that I have my faculties today.  I will be grateful or try to be truly grateful with what is in front of me.  Such a challenge!!!  I suggest you try it.  Let me know how it goes.  Until next time, praise the Lord!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

He Will Hold Me Fast

Yesterday I looked at all of the open tabs on my computer.  That was only the first page of open tabs.  I had yet another one open underneath with more open tabs.  On the bottom of the monitor are all of the Word documents opened.  "Chapter 2."  I told myself.  Just do Chapter 2.  What I had in front of me amounted to a massive, twisted ball of Christmas lights that I had to unravel.  There was no rhyme or reason to it.  "I will fail."  I said to myself.  It was a whisper.  I'm wondering now if it was a prayer.  

I don't know where the thought came from.  It bobbed to the surface of my consciousness like the answers in a Magic 8 ball: He will hold me fast.  "Will He?"  It was a song that we have sung in church.  I put it on almost automatically.  I didn't think about it.  I had my mind filled with worry and swirling thoughts of failure and shame.  I didn't expect truth to hit me and dissipate the chaos with the chords of a song.  I held on to the phrase like it was a flotation device and I was lost at sea.  My focus went from what I was facing in that second, the confusion and the fear and in a moment I was brought to the feet of my Savior.  God will hold me fast!!!  It was an epiphany.  

Right after that I got a call from my advisor.  She walked me through my To Do Lists.  I wrote notes.  We created a plan and put it in place.  After that, Natalie, my dear sister in parenting and in Christ thought of me and offered to make sure my children would be able to go to Bible Study.  I'm sitting here just amazed at how things work together with God's help.  He held me fast.  Doesn't He always?  He held me fast in the little crazy moments that I somehow get myself into.  Undeservedly, He is holding me fast and there is every possibility that I come out of these days better than when I started.  

Today is proof of this, I have been invited to an oasis and there is the opportunity for rest from all the stress that I have been facing.  Not only that, I have parental guilt and worry and I see how the Lord provides for my children and me.  I don't deserve this but He does it anyway.  I feel that I am not fed the meager scraps off of the table but I am placed at the table and served the portion of a Princess.  I am humbled at Hi greatness. Praise the Lord!!! 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Final Project

I wish I could tell you that I miss social media.  I don't.  If someone messages me via one of the social media apps, I tend to answer, but  I'm not missing it as much as I thought I would.  I am working on things that need to be worked on and I am behind.  My world is on a pause as I figure out how to get everything done.  But the world doesn't seem to want to wait.  I have children that I have to attend to.  It feels like selfishness, this work that I m doing.  I am stressed out.  I tell myself, "Just go slowly."  I know that I can do it.  I just don't know how well it will look this final project that I am working on for school.  Everything is hinged on it right now.  Keep me in prayer.

My son decided that he wanted to go through some of the boxes in the garage.  He's neat like that.  I was in the living room to hang out and share time as I worked on things.  He went through each thing.  "Remember this, Janet."  He would then put it in the box to give to Good Will.  "Remember this."  Again, he would give it away.  Who could concentrate as my son gave away parts of his childhood?  He got up and was ready to go through another box.  I told him, "No more."  I couldn't do it.  He said that he would do it on a day that I wasn't around and I felt like I was missing something.  There is a decision to make.  Do I want to be sentimental or do I want to be free of clutter?  I want to be free of the clutter and I am glad that my son is only mildly sentimental but it is hard to make these emotional decisions when you are already under a lot of stress.  Pray for me, Friends.

These are the panicky moments.  That second when you realize that you are being pulled under the undertow.  The water hits your nose and you are kind of lost, being swirled in the water.  In that moment you are fearful, and you tend to forget God.  Or that moment when your tire skids on the ice.  Or that moment when the argument starts getting louder than you expected.  That moment when the doctor's face tells you before you needed to hear it, it is clear that you have forgotten.  I have forgotten too.  But God...

I don't know if I will be able to hand everything in the deadline that I have.  This is the fear.  And all my work these years will not result in the degree that I wanted.  Is this a legitimate fear?  Yes.  It would be my fault if I could not do this.  It is not a circumstantial thing.  Yes, it can be explained.  I have been working and providing for my family  I have children and my husband died and had been given grace.  Now, I need to be done and I'm scared, TERRIFIED, that I will not have it done.  There is shame and debt awaiting me if I can't.  Friends, please be in prayer as I finish up Part 1 of the final project.  This is the hard part.  This is the time to fight.  This is all.  Stand by for updates.  Praise the Lord!!!


Sunday, June 7, 2020

Social Media Distancing

Dear Friend and Reader,

I'm taking a break.  I have a lot going on.  There is a lot going on in the world at large.  So... I decided to step away.  I don't know how long; a few days, a week, 2 weeks, a month, a year... I don't know.  I will miss birthdays and announcements.  I will allow myself to be forgotten by those far away from me.  I have way more people from different states than from my current home state.  I'm sorry.  I need to step away.  

Why?  I'm stepping away for my sanity.  My friend, April mentioned something like this to me today.  I told her, "I love your hiking post."  She said humbly, "I do it for my sanity."  I thought about what I needed to do for my sanity.  I need to eat better.  I need to sleep more.  I need to pray and meditate on God and His Word.  Today I realized I was angry.  I may have been hangry because I have eaten lunch and now I sit here typing with my eyes half closed.  Food and a nap were what was needed.  But then I logged on and for a second, I couldn't look any more and I realized I didn't have to.  Funny, the people that I really talk to "In Real Life" are people that I don't necessarily need to see on social media.  My friend asked me, "What about the blog?"  What about the blog, indeed?  I post it on Facebook.  I do have a link to it in my Instagram.  In looking at the data, there are some people that access it directly but most of you are reading from my Face Book posts  Thank you.  I'll post on Face Book.  

My intention is not to punish anyone, I think the reward comes in not seeing so much of me (😜).  I have a lot on my plate.  I have already a lot of emotions that I am dealing with.  There is every possibility that I am not okay today but I will be.  I think about this story that I am living.  I think about how at every turn I want to do something selfish.  I do.  I am battling my selfishness to serve and be of use to our great God.  How am I selfish?  Oh man!  I can count the ways.  I would like nothing more than to lay on my couch and binge on Doritos and terribly bad and inappropriate television.  I don't want to have to work at anything.  I don't want to go through anything.  I don't want to write anything.  I don't even want to dress in anything.  I just want to veg.  I don't want to be helpful.  This includes not being in God's Word.  This includes nurturing bad friendships that lead me into non-healthy thinking and gossiping.  Some of you say, "Elle, you would never."  And I don't!  That's why I'm staying away for a while.  I need to reset.  I look at your posts and for the most part, I am praying for you.  Every now and again I see a vacation that I would like to go to and I become envious.  Every now and again I see someone killing it with losing weight and I get angry.  Every so often I see the nation that I love on fire being destroyed from the inside out and it makes me want to find a country to move to.  That's not a solution, is it?  I may be wrong in taking a break.  I never had a problem being wrong.  I'm often wrong.  I'm a hot mess, don't you know.  I just think I need to be a little selfish to stave off bigger selfishness, if that makes sense. Pray for me, Friends.  I will keep you all in prayer.  Praise the Lord!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Battling Emotions

I don't give a lot of merit to how I feel.  My feelings have only gotten me in trouble and honestly, they continue to do so now.  I remember in high school how my feelings led me to be distracted and unfocused.  Because I paid attention to how I feel first, I allowed some of the best things get away from me.  Things like grades and friendships, that I should have invested in but didn't because at the time, I didn't feel like it.  These emotions are not to be relied upon!!!

These last few mornings I have not woken up well.  I am stressed because I have a "paper" due at the end of the week.  It's sort of kind of a big deal.  I am letting my fear of failing get in the way.  I am letting all the horrible sensations that I tend to put in a closet out because I am not "feeling" strong.  Instead of being able to fight and get things done, I am considering my feelings.  Feelings are a luxury and will end up ruining things instead of making things right.  

There were times in my marriage where I didn't "feel" the love.  There were times that I felt aggravated and lonely.  There were times that I fought with my husband and I felt anger.  But I didn't let my emotions make decisions for me.  So even when things were not so great sometimes, I stayed and fought because my commitment and promise, my love for God should and is greater than how I feel about things.  

I can feel lonely but the truth is that God is with me and He walks with me so this is not true.  I can feel like a loser but in Romans 8 God tells me that I am more than a conqueror.  I can feel like nothing good will ever happen in my life and this may be true but God is with me and He says to trust Him because He has a plan to prosper.  I'm breathing in an out not because how I feel but because my purpose on this earth is not done yet.  If I asked myself how I felt about doing squats then I would never do them because I don't want to do them.  A lot of times, we don't have to do what we feel.  We have to do what we must which can usually be things we DEFINITELY don't feel like doing.  

We feel regardless.  We have emotions.  We emote.  Some of you will tell me that I am giving people bad advice to not consider their emotions.  No, you should consider your emotions but since these feelings are fickle, I offer you to remember the truth first and then try and make your feelings match that truth.  I know that there are some conditions that can not be controlled.  I know the difficulty it is for what I am suggesting.  If you can... try and find a way to battle them. Battle is the right word.  Sometimes I think I'm so tired because I have spent time fighting what I don't want to feel.  Prayer works.  Reading the Bible.  Talking to friends.  Remembering truths.  I remember that this is but one little life that I have and I can't spend it laying on my bed crying over things in my past.  I have children to raise and to model for.  I have work that needs to be done.  I am like you.  I am not stronger.  I struggle.  But I use my faith to cling to God and I know that when I am weak, He is strong (II Corinthians 12:9-11).

So, today I will remember that God is with me.  I will remember that people that I love are praying for me to focus and not allow myself to be distracted (I think satan likes the idea of failing and would love that so is sending me every distraction in the book). Today I will be in prayer and I will talk to my deceptive heart (Jeremiah 17:9).  I will tell it to be still and know that God is there and He is in control (Psalm 46:10).  And when I feel despair creeping in or worry or anxiety, I will call out to my Great God to rescue me so that I can get the job of today done.  Praise the Lord!!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

A Prayer for the Nation

I have been thinking about death.  My mother died. My father died. My husband died.  I have had a lot of death.  I think about what they have left behind.  I am left behind.  When I die, this nobody, I will be survived by my children.  I teach them, as the Israelites were ordered by God, to teach their children about Him and His wondrous works; to teach their children about how God rescued them out of Egypt.  My truth is God.  

There will come a day that I and my children will be persecuted for believing and following.  Lord, please help us hold fast to You and not this dying world.  People want to do things to support and contribute.  They ask me to join them.  I too feel like I need to contribute to the cause of love and not hate; to the cause of peace and not violence.  I can not use violence to spread peace, can I?  Can I use hate to spread love?  This does not even make sense to me.  There is every possibility that in addition to being a hotter mess, I am an idiot.  I can be an idiot.  

Listen, I just want to follow Jesus.  He is my truth, He is my way and He is my light and life.  I've been called worse.  So what will I do?  I will pray.  I will pray for this nation.  I know what you are thinking.  Prayer is not enough, Elle!!!  Okay.  I will love.  I'm not just talking about my friends.  I will love that kid down the block that drives me nuts with all of the profanity he uses.  I will love the people that are put in my path.  The people that are hard to love.  I work as a teacher.  When I get hard kids, I love them.  I pray to God to give me the love that He has to love other people.  You know what I see?  I see people in pain, not hard people.  I see tired people, not irritable people.  I see people with a heart of compassion... the way that God must look upon me and the rest of my brothers and sisters in humanity (Matthew 9:36). 

This is a nation in pain.  There have scars that have never healed right and instead have caused further damages.  It is easy to blame the blade for causing the pain instead of the wielder of the blade (That baddie, Satan).  How do we fight evil?  I am not a healer.  Here is what I will do.  I will pray.  Again I say that prayer is enough.  Why?  Because our God is enough!!!

Dear God,

This nation, the United States of America is in turmoil.  Citizens are crying out for justice in this land.  I pray that you heal, God.  I pray that you grant peace and understanding to those who are suffering, to those who feel lost.  Oh God, it is so easy to feel lost, Lord.  I pray that there are opportunities to forgive instead of continuing the cycles of hate that we create out of fear.  I pray for the families of those who are left behind.  Those who are in mourning.  Lord, please comfort them, for You are close to the broken-hearted.  I know this well.  

I don't know what Your plans are, God.  I don't really need to know.  I pray Lord for Your will to be done as it has been done thus far, for You are Sovereign.  I know that you are a God of justice and that vengeance is not of our hands but of Yours.  You repay, for vengeance is Yours.  Let us not think that we must pay back what only You can.  I pray for mercy.  I pray that this turmoil becomes a situation for salvation and a revitalization of Your communities and churches, of Your people.  Keep us, Oh Lord till that final day.  

In Your Holy Name I pray,