Saturday, January 30, 2021

Keeping the Line Open

 I find myself praying a lot.  I mean, I find that I like the line open between God and myself.  I have a dear friend at work and there have been times when I have called her and she is running around in her day and we are talking but not really.  I may be writing.  I may be watching television.  I may be cleaning... but the line is open and I can hear her as her car makes clicks and clacks as she awaits to make a turn.  She narrates where she is and what she is doing.  

I do this with Geoff too.  "Yes, Miss."  I hear him answers when the barista asks him if that will be all.  I am there with him waiting for him to go back to telling me about his day.  He isn't talking to me but the line is open and there is comfort in getting to share this moment of his day to day.  

I like to keep the line open with God.  This is what it feels like.  I am driving and I say out loud, "So I was saying..." even though I haven't been talking since I started the car.  I don't even say, God.  I assume that He knows that I am talking to Him.  I bring Him everything.  The driver that cut me off; my upcoming oil change, my students, my job, my friends who ask for prayer.  Dear God, I start.  I come to Him in love and thankfulness.  I come to Him with shame at my behavior sometimes after I have willingly and gladly participated in gossip or became overly irritated and it showed!  I come to Him with my bloated belly feeling uncomfortable and chunky after eating too many Doritos (This has been known to happen).  I go to Him to pray for my former student who is currently drinking his life away and I can't seem to help.  This young man is in need of a Savior and I am not it.  So I go to the One who is and bring my many requests.  

I was on the hunt for gluten free pizza and coffee.  I was anxious and fretful as a situation that I could not help was building.  I was gratefully distracted by an amazing sunset.  As I parked my car to take a picture and turned around.  I saw a rainbow.  I love how God talks to me to tell me to let go.  He tell me don't worry.  He talks to me too.  There is solace in keeping my prayer line open to Him.  

The line is open even now as I am writing.  I am sitting at my desk today looking out the window at the sun shining brightly.  My children still sleep.  I slept in today and got some rest.  "Dear God... " I say.  I can feel the words in my heart.  I look up at the blue sky and without a doubt in the world, I know He hears me.   Thank you, Jesus.  Praise the Lord!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Powering Through

 I have reached the part of my journey that may be construed as a hard part.  But I will tell you that I am learning a lot from hiking.  Sometimes the trip down can be harder than the trip up.  I am on a downward run and I'm scared of tripping and falling... right off of the mountain.  I know that it is fear that is freezing me up for what is coming.  

This past weekend I went on a hike with Glenda.  It was treacherous I tell you.  I think the harder parts were on the way down knowing that I had to stretch my too short, thick legs over a rough part knowing that I had gravity and a cliff working against me.  But you know what?  My children got me hiking sticks for Christmas.  So you know what?  I leaned on the sticks until I was certain of my steps and then I kept on running.

I am working on some academic pursuits.  I have chosen some really sturdy sticks and now when I get scared, I lean on them.  I remember, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil. 4:13)  This gives me the ability to power though the hard, scary stuff.  And yes, it is hard and scary.  I am thankful for those who lift me in prayer not even knowing the circumstances but praying that my good God support me to see me though.  I am honored to be on this incredible journey.  Thank you for thinking of me.  Thank you for your prayers.  I am so thankful to you, Reader and to God.  I'm hoping that there are good plans for me from God, for my hope lies in Him.  Praise the Lord!!!

Sunday, January 24, 2021

On Being Strong-Willed

 I know what you are thinking about.  What is going on with me?  I wish I could tell you.  My life is currently like hiking to Tom's Thumb. I know some of you have no idea what I'm talking about.  I will explain.  Glenda asked me to hike with her and she picked Tom's Thumb.  I didn't flinch when I a saw on All Trails that it was a hard trail.   I packed my water pack and brought my hiking sticks.  I began to climb the flat up and down that was the first part of the trail.  Then, came some pretty steep switchbacks.  How did I do it?  I rested after each switch.  Glenda didn't seem to mind that I needed to take my breath.  We got to the first scenic view and then there was an evening out for a bit.  There were about five different scenic views.  At the each of them I asked Glenda if we were at the thumb.  It seemed longer because I had no idea how long it would take me.  It was so much longer than I thought it would be.  And man, it was not an easy hike.  My life was just like that hike.  I know that I am going to get there but it's taking me longer than I expected. 

You should know that it was glorious up by that thumb.  It was beautiful and I want to believe it was worth it.  When we got to the top, Glenda and I ate almonds and cracked jokes as we looked out over the city of Scottsdale.  I cracked jokes and I knew that I was going to feel it the next day.  Going back down was way easier.  Isn't that the way with the return trip?  I passed landmarks and I understood each scenic view that I passed.  When I sat down in the car, I'm going to tell you that my legs were like butter.  Glenda bought me dinner.  I had to call my son to help me get out of the car.  My children laughed as they talked about it today. 

I have switchbacks ahead of me and I am resting as I climb.  I haven't gotten there yet but I am climbing.  It's just longer than I thought it would be.  I may be exhausted by the time that I get to the end but I know that I won't stop until I am done.  Ask Glenda.  She will tell you that I won't stop till I get to the end.  May I always be this strong-willed.  Praise the Lord!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2021


 I have never seen myself as a hiker.  I remember as a kid struggling with climbing.  It wasn't my thing.  Any minor incline and I would be winded.  I lived at the top of the hill going toward what I knew was Misericordia Hospital.  Later it would be called Our Lady of Mercy.  I don't know what it is called now.  I lived close to 233rd and White Plains.  About a mile from the main avenue is Bronx River Park.  It starts around where the Hospital starts and it goes several miles going south in the Bronx.  I used to love this park.  In order to build my stamina for climbing, I started waking up early and walking down by the river, then I would go slowly up and down the residential streets hoping to not be so winded.  I only did this two or three times before I gave up.

There are not many tall building in Arizona.  It is mostly a flat desert with one story houses and buildings.  I tried the stair climber machine in the gym and nearly died.  I can not do 5 minutes continuously.  After 2 minutes I start to break out in a sweat.  Doing this while wearing a mask is pure torture.  I am definitely not doing too well in the climbing department but I am fascinated at hiking.  

We went to Payson with the church to do one of the first Arizona hikes in my memory.  Janet was but a baby and at times I had to carry her because she would get tired.  Santi and I got lost with both our children and two children from another family.  Cliff VanderArk and his dog Heidi was with us at the time.  We had decided to take an easier path and got lost and separated from the main group.  We were found as we were closer to the end. Mike Darus injured himself as he carried little Janet.  He lost his footing and fell while holding her.  She was unscathed in the altercation.  I felt so bad.  I still feel bad.  We talked about going back and doing it again.  We never did..  

I have hiking sticks.  All of us have hiking boots, the children's courtesy of Geoff.  I walk with a backpack that has a bladder in it. I have hiked in Payson, Sedona, Flagstaff. This winter we are getting to know the hikes that are close by.  We may go to Tucson.  We explore places it's fun.  He calls and asks me which one.  I start looking, dreaming and drooling.  I tell hiking stories to my students and they have recommendations for me.  

It's hard starting at the bottom and looking up to see the peak.  I go slow.  My kids like to go ahead.  David used to be the one who would stay behind with me.  When he sees that Geoff is the one who walks with me, he is free to go ahead with his sister.  There is a metaphor in this.  Sometimes going down is harder than going up.  We are always happy and hungry when we are done.  I have never considered myself a hiker but it would appear that this older, chunky Latina is a hiker now.  Who would of thought it?  

Friday, January 8, 2021

The Devil and PMS are Liars!!!

 I think we are all so familiar with the concept of, "When it rains it pours."  That we automatically look for more stuff to come when things become overwhelming.  Hence the fact that people even before the year started looked toward 2021 with weary dry eyes wondering what fresh hell the year would bring us.  As if a year actually brought something.  

I am one who is more of a reflector.  I go through things and later look back to see what I did and how I felt.  I don't need to look back and see that this time has been hard.  It has been hard in a season of hardness.  Meeting Geoff has been nice but it doesn't take away or negate that we have been living in hard times.

This past week has brought with it more difficulty.  The capitol has been stormed and with this spark, those whose consciousness has been doused with gasoline regarding social injustice now have an inferno of implications to rail at.  There is a cascade of anger spurned on by the false righteousness of those who are happy that the mighty have fallen.  Rather than to dance and celebrate I look to God.  It never mattered who was in office because God is in control.  Here is the problem.  It is hard to bring your feelings under submission of the truth.  I want to feel what I want to feel regardless of the pure unadulterated fact that God is mighty and good and He has a plan.  

Let's add all this to me losing my wifi and then subsequently changing my plan and spending what seems like hours with Cox Cable representatives to restore what I am finding out I need.  How did we manage without wifi systems before?  I picked up a book because it was that alarming my dependence on being entertained.  This was STRESSFUL!!!  I was working and trying to provide data for my two children who are at home trying to learn during a pandemic. 

And then, there is what could only be PMS.  I'm pre-menopausal.  Yesterday as I sat watching my television NOT connect to the wifi, I felt it.  I felt so down.  Nothing is ever going to go right again.  I'm rereading Proverbs because I am one who desperately needs wisdom and God to handle life.  I read this devotional where it was said that we are here but a moment and after... eternity with God.  They talked of people with ailments and diseases.  They talked of those that spent their lives in pain and they lived this short life that we have before us.  Yesterday I was down..  Today... I am still down but I look toward heaven and God and I know and feel that God has a plan.  God is in control.  I may fail..  I have failed but God is with me.  If God is for me than who can be against me?  

I ate breakfast.  I had eggs, sausages and homefries with butter and seasoning.  I drank coffee and I had a slab of Hershey's special dark chocolate with almonds. I promise you that it is like some sort of drug.  I combed my hair and did my face a little.  Yes, I'm definitely feeling it now.  God is good.  Praise the Lord!!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Political Unrest

I found myself not too long ago watching the movie, "Two Weeks Notice."  It is not the movie that matters but the presence of our future president in the movie.  Toward the end, he makes a cameo.  I'm thinking of the Trump that acted in this movie, prior to his megalomania.  It seems almost strange to see this version of him.  He seems almost harmless... almost.  

I was called and told to put on the news.  There were Trump supporters attacking the capitol.  I watched.  I was working from home and it was hard to wrap my overwhelmed head over the matter.  My friend was telling me of a state trooper that passed away from covid and someone very dear to me has been developing complications because of covid.  My friend's mother is struggling with the affects of covid. So, the first thing I noticed was the lack of masks being used to add insult to injury.  Maybe this is a coping strategy.  I slowed everything down in my mind to focus on the one thing that I can comment on.  This was not good.   

I looked at the screen and asked myself what I was looking at as they climbed the stairs to the capitol.  I had work to do but I could only take a moment.  Later I watched the recaps of the stories to get a better idea of all that had transpired.  The protesters reminded me of zombies as they attempted to storm the building.  It is the zombie apocalypse.  

I am the kind of person that wants to believe that there is good in everyone.  This situation is hard.  Those are people out there.  People who are wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters.  These people are not evil like I'm tempted to paint them right now.  I think back on Trump in the movie, are we really fighting flesh?  Ephesians 6:10-13 says: 

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." 

Maybe this is more than just mere mortals making decisions.  So... what do we do?  I found the answer in verse 18: "praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints--" 

I was going to write about something else.  I had half the post down when I knew that I couldn't write that post.  I open my mouth, "God..."  How to pray.  I don't know.  I try again, "God..."  What does this remind me of?  Romans 8:26: "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words."

In my mind there are a hundred things that I am praying for and don't have words for.  They run in my head like a feed.  They are as disjointed and varied as the feeds on my Facebook or Instagram.  Each thought is colored with emotions almost too big to carry.  I take not just the political unrest but all of the unrest that I have been living with and I transfer it all to a God who can deal with it all.  I picture it all as a file transfer.  I upload it up into my heart and I send it to Him who is far more capable to handle that kind of data.  This world was up on a wall and this world has had a big fall.  It will take an omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent God to hold us back together again, until He returns.  I will pray.  In the very least I will come to God, open my mouth and hope that He can see my prayer feed.  I will wait for Him because while cameos from megalomaniacs can look harmless, I will put my trust in God.  Praise the Lord!

Friday, January 1, 2021


Here we are, Friends, in the new year.  The second year of this new decade.  Already the decade has made a turn.  Isn't that history for you?  Just when you think you have things figured out, here comes a curveball.  I think I can say that most of us are hoping for a better year.  We pray to be able to hold on.  We go running  or we work out and we hope that the weights or the distance that we end up doing is on par with our level.  It's not like we don't expect to work out.  There is a fear that the load will be heavier or different than what we expect.  At the very outside, there is the fear that the load will kill us.

I trust in God.  You see, He knows the future.  He knows my future and He, the Lord of lords, He differentiates.  As a teacher, I know about differentiation.  It's not that easy.  Differentiation is hard for two children as a parent, imagine a classroom of 30 children.  Now... imagine the world.  I love our differences. I love the flaws and outcomes.  I hope so hard for good things for those I love.  I hope for them God.  

I can not control anything.  I find that I can not really help anyone.  I can't change anyone's mind.  I can only present the Truth.  Not my truth or your truth but the only Truth.  God has said, "I am the way, the truth and the life."  Jesus said it Himself.  I recognize the power of having your own truth the way that you see fit.  How far in the future can you see your truth go?  I don't even understand the things that I have done in my past.  No, I rely on God.  He is more reliable than I am.  To this end, I pray.  I pray and ask for strength to be able to handle the weight and the distance.  I pray to take my truth away and substitute it for His truth.  I pray that I can be a light in dark places.  I pray for healing and for salvation for those around me.  It is not enough.  I can pray every second of every day and it is not enough.  But God is big enough to be enough.  So big we can not fathom.  

Friends, be present.  Enjoy every moment as it comes.  Trust that God, our great big God is big enough to handle not just one year but all of time.  And please don't worry about anything.  Just pray.   Praying is the best coping mechanism you can have.  Praise the Lord!!!

This Climb

 I have had a writing block, Friends.  It has been so hard to write.  I opened up the document.  I prayed before I started.  I don't know if any of you have had to do a hard thing.  I don't know if any of you have had to go back to a place where you thought you had left behind and try and start again.  I went through the document I had originally submitted.  I knew it was not good enough.  I read through the comments slowly and with tears.  I cried because I could see the gentleness with which they were written.  I cried when I read good comments.  I cried when I read the suggestions.  I cried when I read my words.  

When I first started I had such passion!!  I lost it along the way.  Now as I am getting ready to finish, I am tired.  There is every possibility that I fail miserably at this task.  I would have spent thousands of dollars and I would have disappointed everyone were I not to finish.  Yes, it is that big.  Yes, it hurts.  I started this with my husband and for my husband.  I wanted to model education for him and for my children.  This was never to prove myself.  I am a frivolous thing, indecisive and small.  You don't know this but I opened the review with shaking hands.  I have never been so afraid of anything in my life.  I thought I needed to know why I couldn't write.  I thought I needed to understand myself better than I do.  Maybe all of these blog posts had to do with it.  I don't know.  I just know that I need to finish.

I went on a hike not too long ago.  It was hard for me, easy for others.  I have short legs and the steps were tall for me.  I struggled to climb.  I had been struggling with bronchial asthma since last year when I contracted "bronchitis."  I started having trouble breathing as I climbed.  And then, I lost Janet.  I have said that I am not prone to anxiety but not knowing where she was ahead of me sent my already panicked lungs into a tailspin.  I was fighting to climb.  I was fighting to breathe.  My inhaler was safely ensconced in the inner pocket of my purse... that was in the trunk of the car.  At some point I turned to Geoff and I said, "I can't."  I kept on climbing.  I rested a lot.  I was almost to the top when he came to get me.  He walked me slowly up the rest of the mountain as I wrestled for breath. My face was red.  I was sweating. It was starting to turn cold.  I took a picture.  It was glorious!  I drank water.  I chewed gum.  We made our way down.  He helped me climb down the harder parts.  Somehow, before I knew it, I was back and we were on our way back home.  

I am where I was on that mountain when I said, "I can't."  He asked me today if I worked on it.  I told him I was reading.  He told me to work on it.  The hardest part was opening the document.  Just the first one.  The hard part was reading it the first time.  I'm so close to the end...  I could almost touch it.  Be  in prayer for me.  I am climbing.  It is hard.  It is scary but I'm still doing it.  Be in prayer with me.  Thank you.

By the way, I didn't plan to have this be my first post of 2021. Happy New Year! Praise the Lord!!!