* Sharing my world

I love to participate in Cee’s Share Your World blogging challenge.  How does she do it. week after week?  And her blog is filled with so many photographic gems!  Wow!  here are this week’s questions.

If you had to move to a country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?  In my adolescence, I wanted to move to Russia.  The music, the dance, the art- they all captured my soul.  Then I read “A Town Called Alice,” which perhaps gave me a romantic notion about gorgeous Australia.  Once I learned of the poisonous critters swimming offshore and those cane toads plopping everywhere, I changed my mind.  Now?  I think I’d live in northern Canada, bundled up in furs and learning to walk in snowshoes.  (Yeah, talk about stereotypes….)

What color would you like your bedroom to be?  It’s already got one blue wall, which is the first thing you see when you walk in, but I’d like to change the tone of that blue to a warmer hue.  Some day!

What makes you happy? Make a list of things in your life that bring you joy.  I am never happier than when I’m worshiping God, especially with fellow believers.  My dearest teaching widower is the greatest joy in my life after Jesus.  And I am so happy when I’m teaching.  What a gift!  I think chocolate comes next.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination.  I teach a gifted but medically disabled student who has remarkable perseverance and determination.  I can’t imagine being in the continual pain and dealing with other serious conditions which are a part of his daily existence.  He is an amazing kiddo who has defied all medical and educational expectations.  I adore him and it’s a joy to be in his life.  His parents are also amazing (they’d have to be!) and I feel so loved by them all.

Engineers

Celebrating a special day as engineers of learning and fun!

* Move!

Michelle Malone has posted another Inspirational message for Mondays.  She challenges us in goal-setting and accountability.  Plus, there’s a cool video from Toby Mac, one of my favorite musicians.  Enjoy and be energized!

Happy Monday, friends! Are you well rested and ready to tackle the work week? Silly question, huh? Of course you are! So get up and get moving. Don’t stay stuck in the same spot you’ve …

Source: Move!

* 323 wisdoms, lessons & tips for life

I saw this posted on Bob’s Cabbages and Kings blog, and had to share it as well. Don’t be intimidated by its length. It is worth the read. Wise woman, this one!!

The Qwiet Muse

IMG_0122.PNGI have an amazing mother; she’s smart and wise and good. She spent her life trying to teach me how to live mine, I think she did a bang-up job, truly.

I’m a mother as well, I’d like to think I’ve done my job in a way that would make her proud. I took what she taught to heart and learned new things along the way, all of which I’ve tried to tried to teach my own children.

I’ve jotted down a little list of things I’ve learned and tried to teach, just a few hundred random bits I thought others might need to know, or be reminded of. Some are simple, some are deep – all important in their own right.

A few things I wanted my children, and YOU, to know ~ 

Wash behind your ears and clean out your belly button, that’s not just something moms and…

View original post 2,157 more words

* Sharing my world, thankfully

Cee’s Share Your World challenge is all about gratitude this week, a perfect match with Thanksgiving!  She made a funny comment about writers; it also applies to teachers, so check out her post for details.  What am I thankful for in:

  • My home life?  Love and peace. A life that provides a glimpse of heaven.
  • My family?   Our sweet son and his adorable wife, my precious sister and her amazing husband, and all the trillions of kiddos.  Well, it sometimes feels like there are trillions, in a good way!  We have the BEST extended family as well.
  • My blogging community?  Oh, so many kind bloggers who read and like and comment.  Wow, I am blessed.
  • My city or immediate area in which I live?  What a gorgeous place to live!  Our neighborhood is special, there’s an awesome lap pool not far away, and people are genuinely friendly.
  • The regional area in which I live?   Another positive!  We’re midway between mountains and beaches, not far from many places to hike and explore.
  • The country where you live?  I love this country, with our tapestry of folks who embrace such a wide range of beliefs.  I am thankful for our freedom and the efforts of those who seek greater freedom from prejudice and injustices which still abound.
  • Me?  I am happy in my skin and growing more so every day.  That’s a huge change from the tortured soul I used to be.
  • God.  (I added this one.)  Where would I be without the creator of all that is beautiful and good?  Where would I be without His death so that I might live?  Thank you, Jesus!  I am also grateful for our family of believers.  When we broke ground for our larger building recently, my widower and I inscribed rocks (without looking at each other’s first) which have gone into the foundation of the building. His is on the right.  What a precious man!

* Seeking approval

dog with frisbee.jpgAs an older dog, I’m grateful that I can still learn new tricks.  I am fearless with technology.  I tackle new academic challenges with joy.  OK, I take exception to counting backwards from 100 by 7’s.  I’ve had to perform that nasty subtraction task multiple times since a period of amnesia, so now I’ve memorized the responses.  Whew!  Some new tricks remain tantalizingly out of reach, like juggling.  I can juggle scarves like nobody’s business, but oranges?  Splat!  I do feel confident that if I practiced, I could master oranges AND apples.

But what about the Approval of Others “trick?”  My fruitless efforts began at day one in my savage home.  I grew up without approval and love, no matter how clever, obedient, and slavish I was.  Sadly, I continued my desperate hunt for approval long after leaving home.  My search even led me to fly in the face of approval, spitting on social mores.  Although I’ve been transformed in many ways since being saved in 1988, I continue to battle a need for acceptance of others.  This Bible verse was easily memorized but impossible to live by: “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but by trusting in the Lord, one is kept safe.”

Living on the approval of others is an empty and dangerous path for me, leading to lies, heartache, and fear.  It saps the joy out of serving others.  It drains the satisfaction out of accomplishments, for the approval of others is counterfeit- pyrite instead of true gold.  Living for the kudos of people is a vain exercise in every sense of the word.

What’s the solution?  Where’s the hope?   Trust.  Trust in the Lord, unattainable by my own efforts.  The incredible news is that God is helping me to trust him.  Step by step, moment by moment.  My current frustration with fear of man (a King James phrase, if there ever was one) is a clear sign of how God is moving me towards freedom.  He is teaching me to trust him ever deeper.  He hasn’t clubbed me on the head or made me a pariah.  No, he loves up on me.

Feel free to “like” this post.  Or not.  I won’t live or die by that.  Mostly.

* Following Michelle’s advice

In her recent post “Everything is About to Change,” Michelle Malone challenges me to “seek, identify, and track the signs of change in your life rather than ignoring them. Whether you’re about to experience a fallow season or a bumper crop, seek, identify, and track the signs of change. Then move through this season — praising God for the opportunity to live, to bend, to change, and to grow.”

With Tikeetha Thomas’ style in mind (she’s a very organized, thoughtful lady who also responded to Michelle’s prompt), here I go:

  1.  I am gradually moving away from the gut-wrenching fear of losing my dearest teaching widower.  He has heart disease, horrible heart disease from nasty genes.  He was given a short life expectancy after his first heart attack and 5-bypass surgery.  By God’s grace, we are still together.  After the second heart attack, I tried to live as though each day was our last together on this earth, but I was worn out and nasty by 3 days.  There’s no being perfect.  I’ve stuffed my fear and cried my fear and talked my fear and prayed my fear.  Recently, I have seen more clearly that my precious husband has become an idol.  Not a gold figurine that I bow down to, but someone who took the place of God.  My husband cannot save me, love me unconditionally, and keep us I together forever, but God can and will.  For the longest time, my heart simply couldn’t trust God with that truth.
  2.  I am a self-absorbed person.  I don’t want to be.  I recognize the swill that flows from living near the center of my universe.  I bump into my self-centeredness every day and attempt to thrust myself out of this useless orbit.  With God’s grace, I am changing ever so slightly.  You know the trajectory of a rocketship that starts off with a minor degree of error and ends up far from its destiny?  That’s good news.  Jesus is propelling me away from that Katharine-centered universe and into other-centered worlds.

Some of you may have seen the J-word and already gone to another blog.  I would have done the same for half of my life.  I was a scoffer and mocker extraordinaire, until I came to the end of everything and found a new beginning.

m-and-me

My dearest widower prefers anonymity.  His universe does not revolve around himself, for sure.

 

* Charley Sloan, no doubt about it

Shadow of a Doubt.JPG

Pic and book from Amazon

I just finished reading A Shadow of a Doubt by William Coughlin.  Charley Sloan, the main character, is a down-and-almost-out lawyer stripped of pride and fame by his alcoholism.  He’s an unlikely choice as counsel for a wealthy young woman facing a murder charge.  The plot is gripping and the writing is excellent.  If you are looking for a page-turner, this book will satisfy.  But back to Charley….

Charley would say he’s not a hero, but his character is riveting.  He has some of the typical wry-attorney humor (think Lincoln Lawyer), but it was his authenticity that grabbed my heart.  Charley is honest about his fall from fame and fortune.  He recognizes their lures as this convoluted murder case shoves him back into the limelight, back into harm’s way.  Charley wants so much to be respected that my gut ached.  His minute-by-minute struggles with alcoholism are beyond painful; I wanted to rescue him from that pit and inject him with some miracle drug to remove those cravings forever.

I grew up with an alcoholic father who never confronted his disease.  I remember helping convince a doctor to prescribe tranquilizers which were “secretly” administered.  My father worked for Merck Chemical at the time and quickly identified the pills.  That started him on a long journey of retaliation with pills, which is another story altogether.  I could have easily followed my father’s drunken path.  I used to drink solely to numb the pain, an exercise in futility.  Once saved, I knew I should and would never drink again.  There’s actually something far better than a miracle drug, Charley.

I’m looking forward to more of Charley Sloan.  The remaining books in the series were written by Coughlin’s wife, Ruth.  Their love and literary journey is another fascinating story.

 

* Today is milk chocolate day

shake-677437_960_720

Today is milk chocolate day!  (Thanks, Jennifer, for leading me to this challenge!)  But let’s not limit ourselves to ONE day.  There are many milk chocolate days to remember….

  • Kiddos were thrilled, even stunned, when chocolate milk appeared in school cafeterias for the first time.  Yes, I am old enough to remember the event.  Glorious day.
  • Back in the day, there was no cafeteria at the school my sister and I attended (in England).  We’d trek home for lunch and snatch up the bob (shilling) our grandmother always left us, dashing to the sweet shop with renewed energy.  My favorite was the Toffee Cup, a now-extinct brand of heaven.  It was shaped kinda like a miniature barbell, wrapped in golden foil which was always sticky from leaking toffee.  Perhaps that’s why it was discontinued.  Oh, how I wish I’d taken a picture of that heavenly treat!  At least Flake bars are still available!
Flake bar.JPG

Buy yours from The British Shoppe

  • After a childhood spent gorging myself on chocolate, I developed a chocolate allergy!  I couldn’t eat as much as a single chocolate chip without feeling like I’d swallowed glass.  This went on for decades and I had resigned myself to a life of suffering with white chocolate, which isn’t chocolate at all.  Then we had a healing service at church and the visiting pastor called up all folks with food allergies.  People who were allergic to eggs, milk, and other basic items lined up in front.  My dearest widower nudged me, but I remained planted in my seat.  How embarrassing to ask for healing from something as trivial as chocolate!  But my dearest widower gave me a stronger nudge (more like a hefty shove, dear husband) and I found myself in the line.  When the pastor asked what I was allergic to, my face turned red and I mumbled “choccchoccclatttt.”  Of course, he asked me to repeat that, which made the entire congregation laugh.  My heart sank, but he also laughed and said, “Oh my!  Chocolate is from heaven!”  (A man after my own heart.)  Here’s the thing: After we prayed, I was healed!  On the way home, my widower and I bought a huge chocolate cake and I scarfed down at least half of it.  And now I eat chocolate every day, because God must think chocolate is heavenly, as well.  Or perhaps He just loves me a whole bunch.  Even more than chocolate??  Oh happy day!

 

 

* Faith of Inclusion. — ronovanwrites

This is awesome!  Well worth reading Ronovan’s reflections on this topic.  I picked this photo to capture the love in his post.  We all fail every day, but here is grace.  Thank you, Ronovan!

baby and dad.jpg

1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— 2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you […]

via Faith of Inclusion. — ronovanwrites

* Am I Normal? — kathleenbduncan

A grieving mom shares her heart, her faith, and her gradual healing.  A blog worth reading!

This is how I felt that first year. Over time, and by doing the next right thing, I am better now. My faith in Jesus Christ, prayer, and patience with myself have helped me. The pain is less and easier to bear. The days of sadness and sobbing are fewer and farther between. I have lots […]

via Am I Normal? — kathleenbduncan